The Muslim and the Jew

How the jewelry industry offers a response to reports of terrorism

Robert James, president of the International School of Gemology, published the following editorial in response to the March 22 terrorist attacks in Brussels. It is republished here with his permission.

They were only 20 feet apart, about 6 meters separating them. The Muslim and the Jew. The hallway was very dimly lit, and it was very, very quiet. The place was a hallway between the meeting rooms downstairs at the JCK Las Vegas show, just down from the AGTA show area. It was a Saturday morning, when most of the Jewish booths were closed due to Shabbat or Sabbath. However, the requirements of modern-day business sometimes dictate that accommodations be made.

As I walked down the hallway in the early-morning hours before the show opened, it was difficult to see well in the dimly lit hallway, as I had just come in from the bright morning summer sun of Las Vegas. As I walked closer to the two I could see that both the Muslim and the Jew were deeply involved in morning prayers. The Jew on one side was silently praying with the rocking motion that represents what has been described as the “soul as the candle of God.” The Muslim was on his prayer rug performing his morning prayers by “kneeling in humility before God,” as is described by several texts.

As I walked past them I realized just how symbolic and representative this event was of the jewelry and gemstone industry. No religious strife, no terrorist threats, and no warring factions. Just two young men of different faiths following the requirements of their respective religions, each to their own in peace.

Over the past 11 years I have had the honor to work with students from 63 nations, including just about every political and religious category one could list. We don’t talk about religion, and we don’t talk about politics. We talk about our shared love of gemstones. This is the tie that binds us together and one that holds firmly with mutual respect…one to another.

As I watched the news this morning of yet another terrorist attack, I am reminded just how much of the strife in the world is created by political and religious leaders who use their positions to advance their own personal agendas of what they perceive the proper world order should be.

This is not the work of the ordinary men and women of the world.

I have seen what happens when a Muslim and a Jew are around each other in religious prayers without the influence of the world.

They were only 20 feet apart, in a dimly lit hallway.

And it was very, very quiet.

JCK News Director