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Muslims, Jews gather in Paris for interfaith parley

European Jewish Congress

An excellent example of Jews and Muslims working together to fight bigotry.

Muslims, Jews gather in Paris for interfaith parley

By Josh Lanamelis Jerusalem Post

PARIS – Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, told Jewish and Muslim leaders on Tuesday that “an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” referring to recent rulings in Europe against circumcision and ritual slaughter.

Speaking at the opening session of the Second Gathering of European Jewish and Muslim Leaders in Paris, Kantor added that such attacks were against “all people of faith,” and contradicted not only the principle of free expression but also the very basis of modern European society.

The conference – organized by the European Jewish Congress, the Grande Mosque de Paris, and the New York-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding – drew around 100 religious leaders and lay participants from nearly 20 European countries, and was also attended by delegates from Morocco, Israel, and the United States. The first such gathering was in December 2010.

Kantor’s urgings for religious unity were echoed by the grand mufti of Sarajevo, Dr. Mustafa Ceric. “Jews and Muslims aren’t the ghosts of Europe; they are the hosts. They helped shape Europe.

Speakers at the two-day conference highlighted the role of education in breaking down barriers between the communities.

In a declaration entitled “A Zero Tolerance For Religious Bigotry,” the participants called for the initiation of “sustained dialogue and cooperative projects between Muslims and Jews; [and] replacing mutual fear and resentment with a continent-wide movement of Muslims and Jews committed to communication, reconciliation, and cooperation.

The need for such projects was underscored by the chief rabbi of Toulouse, Rabbi Harold Weill.

Weill told the conference that after the terror attack by a local Muslim extremist on a Jewish school in Toulouse in March 2012 – which took the lives of four people, including three children – he received about 1,500 messages of condolence and support.

Not one of them came from Toulouse’s Muslim community.

He described this as the “third dagger blow” he received, the first two being the killings and the discovery that a Muslim had committed them.

Weill added that he had felt safer as a Jew in Morocco on a recent visit there than he did in Toulouse.

Delegates at the conference described local initiatives and projects that had fostered cooperation and trust between Muslims and Jews. Former Manchester lord mayor Afzal Kahn praised the introduction of professional and business networks linking both communities. The chief rabbi of Nice, Rabbi Joseph Abittan, said that he had won the respect of local Islamic audiences by speaking to them in mosques in Arabic about religious themes common to both the Torah and the Koran.

The Holocaust was referenced as a source of unity between the communities.

Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Grande Mosque de Paris, said that the mosque had saved hundreds of Jews from the Nazis. The Dutch human rights advocate Rabbi Avraham Soetendorp was hidden by a non- Jewish family during the war, and said he felt a sense of “inner wholeness” when present at such gatherings.

“Let us draw strength from one another,” he urged…

SPECIAL TO THE JERUSALEM POST: Read the rest here.

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  • Steve

    @AJ, “You shouldn’t support routine vaccinations on your kids either. They didn’t approve it.”

    A vaccination is very different to cutting bits off a child for ritual purposes.

  • AJ

    Steve,

    You shouldn’t support routine vaccinations on your kids either. They didn’t approve it.

  • mindy1

    Xithurel, that is very nice to hear-Muslims and Jews really should be better friends

  • Skeptic

    “An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” says European Jewish Congress president Moshe Kantor.

    LOL the recent wave of anti-Semitic attacks in Europe on Jews perpetrated by Muslims proved otherwise.

  • Xithurel

    Jews generally feel a lot safer in Islamic countries ironically. Mainly because we have never felt out of place around Muslims, nor is the stigma CHRISTIANS place on Muslims remotely true about our relations. I have lived in and out of the middle east for decades now and I have yet to meet any Muslim anywhere who wants me dead. However I have encountered Christians and even more so this year who blame me for all their sorrows and how it’s all my peoples fault for – everything that goes wrong. Even a few Nazi sympathizers, and yet I have never met a Muslims who had anything bad to say about my people. Even when we debate Israel it is always clear that the debate is solely a political one, not personal nor religious.

  • Steve

    @Khalid, I am aware of a ruling in a court in cologne and the ruling in berlin which says circumcisions can only be performed by doctors.

    That’s all I am aware of, what other rulings are there? I happen to agree with the cologne ruling. I don’t support ritual circumcision.

  • Khalid

    @Steve

    The rulings made a few weeks back about circumcisions and how they can only be performed by doctors.

    Instead of trying to gaffe any nook or cranny you can find to comprise Loonwatch.com’s fight you could ACTUALLY follow these stories yourself.

  • mindy1

    I am glad the two groups are working against hate 😀

  • Steve

    “referring to recent rulings in Europe against circumcision and ritual slaughter.”

    What recent rulings?

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