Local Islamic, Jewish groups react to Trump’s Jerusalem announcement

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ST. LOUIS – News of President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has sent waves throughout both the Jewish and Muslim communities in the St. Louis area.

Andrew Rehfeld, president and COO of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, said President Trump’s actions were concerning.

“No matter how much we support the relocation of the embassy and international recognition of the capital of Israel in Jerusalem, doing so now, in this matter, and by this president, it profoundly undermines the prospects of peace and stability,” he said.

Not only for the Jewish state of Israel, Rehfeld said, but also for a future democratic Palestinian state.

Rehfeld said President Trump’s announcement—made unilaterally, without a strategic plan to promote peace—comes on the heels of numerous anti-Muslim tweets

“We’re deeply concerned for the prospects of violence that, however unjustly and reprehensible may occur, may now erupt as a ramification of this announcement,” he said.

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, who identifies as Jewish, said he supports the president’s announcement. He reached out to both President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to congratulate the two for this historic decision.

Faizen Syed, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations in St. Louis, said this undermines the two-state solution proposed by the United States for at least the last 20 years.

“We believe this has the potential to radicalize religious groups in that part of the world and also believe this is wrong and we stand in opposition to it,” he said.

Rorie Picker Neiss, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, agreed with her Islamic counterpoint.

“We know we may disagree how to go about resolving conflict and what it looks like, we share desire for peace and the need to work together for a peaceful resolution,” she said.

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