British Muslim leaders visit Yad Vashem and Kotel during landmark Israel trip
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British Muslim leaders visit Yad Vashem and Kotel during landmark Israel trip

The Journey2Jerusalem delegation met senior Jewish, Muslim and Christian figures, as they toured the country from the Holy City to the Gaza border

  • The Journey2Jerusalem delegation
    The Journey2Jerusalem delegation
  • The Journey2Jerusalem delegation meets Christian leaders
    The Journey2Jerusalem delegation meets Christian leaders
  • The Journey2Jerusalem delegation overlooking the city
    The Journey2Jerusalem delegation overlooking the city
  • The Journey2Jerusalem delegation at the coast
    The Journey2Jerusalem delegation at the coast
  • Muslim leaders meeting with Christian counterparts in Jerusalem
    Muslim leaders meeting with Christian counterparts in Jerusalem
  • The Journey2Jerusalem delegation at Yad Vashem
    The Journey2Jerusalem delegation at Yad Vashem
  • The Journey2Jerusalem delegation  at the Dome of the Rock
    The Journey2Jerusalem delegation at the Dome of the Rock
  • The Journey2Jerusalem delegation overlooking the Western Wall with the Dome of the Rock in the background
    The Journey2Jerusalem delegation overlooking the Western Wall with the Dome of the Rock in the background
  • The Journey2Jerusalem delegation with a rabbi in Jerusalem
    The Journey2Jerusalem delegation with a rabbi in Jerusalem
  • The Journey2Jerusalem delegation
    The Journey2Jerusalem delegation
  • The Journey2Jerusalem delegation at the Gaza border
    The Journey2Jerusalem delegation at the Gaza border
  • The Journey2Jerusalem delegation
    The Journey2Jerusalem delegation
  • The Journey2Jerusalem delegation
    The Journey2Jerusalem delegation
  • The Journey2Jerusalem delegation  at Al Aqsa mosque
    The Journey2Jerusalem delegation at Al Aqsa mosque
  • The Journey2Jerusalem delegation
    The Journey2Jerusalem delegation
  • The Journey2Jerusalem delegation
    The Journey2Jerusalem delegation
  • The Journey2Jerusalem delegation
    The Journey2Jerusalem delegation
  • British Muslim leaders on the Journey2Jerusalem delegation at the Western Wall
    British Muslim leaders on the Journey2Jerusalem delegation at the Western Wall

A senior rabbi has welcomed a first-of-its-kind visit to Israel from seven senior British Muslim scholars, whose trip included Jerusalem, Yad Vashem and the Western Wall.

The delegation travelled to Israel from 1-6 April, despite facing criticism at home beforehand.

During the trip, brought about by Journey2Jerusalem, the clergymen met senior Jewish and Christian religious leaders, as well as imams whose salaries are paid by the state, as they toured the country, including villages on the Gaza border.

The delegation included some of the most influential Muslim leaders in the UK, including Imam Dr Musharraf Hussain al-Azhari, the chief executive of Karima Institute and former vice-chair of the Association of Muslim Schools.

British Muslim leaders pay respects to victims of the Shoah at Yad Vashem

Others included Imam Asim Hafiz, the first Muslim Chaplain to the British Armed Forces; Shaykh Ghulam Rabbani, considered one of the world’s most eminent scholars; and Shaykh Mohammad Asrar, who heads the largest mosque in Leeds.

During their visit, they met the chief rabbi of Akko, a northern Israeli city, who explained to the British delegation that there is no need for a legal limitation on noise from muezzin (the Muslim call to prayer) in Israel – unlike the UK – because noise levels are determined by local religious leaders is discussion and dialogue.

The delegation also visited al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites, where they prayed with large Muslim congregations after being shown around by an imam whose role is to look after mosques in the south of the country. They then journeyed to the Palestinian Authority, meeting leaders in Rawabi and Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

British Muslim leaders next to the Dome of the Rock, which sits atop Temple Mount with the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Speaking to i24 News, Hafiz said: “To come here and actually see that people are going about their daily lives, and people from the Jewish community do interact with the Muslim community here, the Arab community, is absolutely fascinating.”

Rabbi David Rosen, the British-born AJC’s International Director of Interreligious Affairs who is also adviser to the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, said he “thoroughly welcomed” the initiative, with the second such trip being planned for September.

“The more we can do to break down barriers and stereotypes, the better world we will live in,” he said, adding that while senior Christian and Sikh leaders have visited Israel, it is extremely rare for senior British Muslim leaders to visit through auspices other than the Palestinian Authority.

Muslim leaders meeting with Christian counterparts in Jerusalem
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