Regarding Tom Tugend's recent article, "Angelenos Make Abraham's Vision Come True", we are appreciative that the Jewish Journal decided to run this piece on the work of Abraham's Vision. This said, there were numerous factual errors in the article. As a large component of our work is educating those in the Jewish, Palestinian, and non-Arab Muslim communities about one another, it is critical that we bring these misstatements and misconceptions to the forefront.
Aside from the inaccuracy regarding the historical development of Abraham's Vision and the quote from Bouayad (last paragraph) where he actually mentioned "Palestinians and Jews" and not "Palestinians and Israelis", the most concerning error was that our Summer Vision Fellowship Program involves only Jewish and Palestinian university students and *not* Jewish and Muslim participants (as the article's first paragraph suggests).
The difference between "Palestinians" and "Muslims" is vast. Though the majority religion of our Palestinian students is Islam, these terms are not interchangeable. In our work we strive to educate people that of the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world a maximum of 30% are Arab. Further, of the world's Arab-Muslim population, conservative estimates are that less than two percent, or 8 million, are Palestinian Arab Muslims. It is critical that the terms "Arab" and "Muslim" not be conflated.
In our work this is particularly important when educating people about Palestinians. Just as it is inaccurate to use the terms "Ashkenazi" and "Jew" synonymously, so too should these terms be distinguished. As developments in the Middle East continue to spin out of control, it is ever more important that the positive work of organizations bringing these populations together is covered by the media accurately.
Gibran Bouayad and Aaron Hahn Tapper
[Note: This Letter to the Editor was sent to the editor of the Jewish Journal, but was not published.]