The head of Reform Judaism in the UK has told British Muslims that Jews stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them, at an anti-terror rally in which Muslim community members held signs reading: “Not in my name.”
Senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner said the imams must show leadership and humility just as Moses did, and suggested both Jewish and Muslim religious leaders must stop their followers from turning towards extremist views.
“We must – and we will – stop our people from turning towards sickening ideologies, which we have in all forms of religion, including Judaism and Islam,” she told imams from around the world, who met on Wednesday to walk to London Bridge.
“We must bring together people who disagree with each other, people who can challenge each other robustly, with words and not with violence.”
The hundreds-strong show of solidarity, which included prominent Leeds imam Qari Asim, followed a statement from 500 Muslim religious leaders saying they were working in communities “to challenge, robustly and precisely, the perverted interpretation of Islam put forward by ISIS and other extremist groups”.
Janner-Klausner’s outreach stood in stark contrast to calls from Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush, who was openly criticised for “fanning the flames” of inter-communal hatred, after he said the Muslim community should “stand up and be counted” and “go beyond mere condemnation”.
In response, Board of Deputies Vice President Marie van der Zyl said: “Jonathan could not have been clearer when he said, ‘I have no doubt that that the vile terrorists responsible for these attacks are not representative of British Muslims’. Jonathan has dedicated his presidency to engaging with Muslim communities around the country and calling out divisive anti-Muslim rhetoric, including from Donald Trump. In this article, Jonathan was echoing many eminent Muslim leaders in calling for their communities to reclaim their faith from the extremists. We have been glad to see initiatives like imams refusing to perform burial prayers for the terrorists and a number of Muslim groups that were already thinking about the sorts of things Jonathan said even before he said them. The answers to this question of how to tackle extremism are certainly not simple, but we won’t get anywhere through spurious name-calling.”
More than 100 Imams hold a vigil at London Bridge remembering terror attack victims and condemning extremism pic.twitter.com/otDNYlvGst
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 7, 2017