Speaking Sept. 29 at a luncheon meeting at a private home in Summit, Robert Silverman, the AJC's U.S. director of Muslim-Jewish relations, said, "Outreach to American Muslims is really critical." Calling American Muslims "the first line of defense against terrorist attacks," the American Jewish Committee's expert on Jewish-Islamic relations urged Jews in New Jersey to broaden their contacts with Muslim communities.

Silverman, who joined the AJC in February, has an extensive background as a senior foreign service officer in the State Department, where his last post was director of regional and multilateral affairs in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

He said Islamic terrorists "are trying to turn this into a civilizational or religious war between all Muslims on one side and all Jews and Christians on the other."

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