In the United States, Canada, Britain, France, and Switzerland, the Jews respond to friedrich braun’s proposed alliance:
A small Islamophobic group, called Stop Islamisation Of Europe (SIOE), has called for 1,000 Jews to attend its forthcoming demonstration at Harrow mosque; and for each Jew to bring an Israeli flag.
This is strikingly similar to appeals that have also been made in recent months by the English Defence League (EDL). It is also essentially the same as opportunistic attempts by British National Party leader Nick Griffin to ditch both his and his party’s antisemitic heritage, by stressing his supposed new-found support for Israel and Jews.
SIOE’s appeal for Jewish participation sits alongside this grotesque Islamophobic image on its website:
There have been many arguments as to what the word Islamophobia means; or indeed if such a word ought to even exist. Regardless of the philosophy, this image tells us everything we need to know about SIOE and Islamophobia. (Or, if you prefer, everything you need to know about anti-Muslim racism, or hatred, or bigotry).
If a Jew cannot understand why the image is racist, or hateful, or bigoted then they should try imagining it as a synagogue: with blood dripping from a Star of David; with blood dripping down the rabbi’s pulpit; and with blood dripping from the mouth of a skull that wears an Israeli army helmet.
A demonstration against Harrow mosque under the banner “Stop the Islamisation of Europe”, is as stupid and offensive as a demonstration against Harrow synagogue, under the banner “Stop the Zionisation of Europe”.
This has nothing to do with the necessary and legitimate work to counter extremism and antisemitism wherever and whenever it genuinely occurs. CST has raised awareness of the activities of extreme Islamist groups in the UK for many years. But to demonise an entire community, every Muslim and every mosque, in the way that SIOE does, shows exactly the kind of bigotry from which Jews have suffered so often in our history. For SIOE to appeal to Jews to support them shows a complete ignorance of the Jewish experience of being on the receiving end of exactly this type of politics.
It is ludicrous to imagine that one form of racism can be fought by employing another form of racism. Take, for example, the unprecedented wave of antisemitic incidents that British Jews experienced during Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza and Southern Israel in January 2009. Here we had Israel being accused of racist bloodshed – by people who were themselves committing racist attacks against British Jews. Similarly, whatever differences of opinion British Jews and British Muslims may have over Israel/Palestine, and however alarmed Jews are – quite rightly – at the antisemitic agitation of groups like al-Muhajiroun or Hizb ut-Tahrir, nobody should be fooled into supporting SIOE’s incitement against all Muslims.
This is by no means the first occasion on which CST has stressed why Jews should not be fooled by anti-Muslim bigotry, even when it dresses itself up in pro-Jewish guise. As we stated previously:
…this is the politics of hatred and division, which has nothing positive to offer any part of society. The fact that Muslims are the current target simply means that it is Muslims who should be the recipients of anti-racist solidarity.
Hatred, division, cycles of inter-communal violence, intimidation and polarisation feed the extremists on every side. They encourage social division and leave all minorities vulnerable. Anti-Muslim bigotry is a vital recruiting sergeant for both the far right, and its Islamist extremist counterparts. It generates votes for the BNP and, at the furthest ends of this political spectrum, it even provides the fuel for terrorism. British Jews should have no part of it.
PARIS (JTA) — France’s chief rabbi said Europe must change its attitude about Islam.
Rabbi Gilles Bernheim said a Swiss vote Nov. 29 forbidding the construction of minarets alongside mosques was a clear sign that Western European leaders had “failed” at building tolerance toward Muslims, and he called on “all religions” as well as political leaders to increase interfaith dialogue.
“Today we need to act so that Europeans, and not just the Swiss, change their opinion about Islam,” he wrote in an editorial published Wednesday in the French daily Le Figaro.
He compared the law aimed at minarets to past sanctions against European Jews.
“The problem” with the Swiss vote “is the discrimination that it introduces by authorizing the construction of church steeples and tall buildings by all other religions except Islam.
Bernheim noted that in the past, Jews were forbidden to construct synagogues taller than churches.
Opening synagogues, mosques and churches to leaders and members of different faiths would help “fight prejudices,” he suggested. He said some of the tolerance building should be done “in Muslim countries,” as well as in Europe.
Since the Swiss popular vote, polls in France and some other European countries have shown significant support for a ban on minarets and other Muslim symbols. A French Institute of Public Opinion poll conducted early this week said 46 percent of the French did not want more minarets in France, versus only 40 percent who would accept them.
Anti-Defamation League urges Switzerland’s government to be vigilant in its commitment to ensuring freedom of religion
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Wednesday urged the Swiss government to be vigilant in its commitment to ensuring freedom of religion, following a Swiss popular referendum that amended its constitution to ban the construction of minarets
ADL National Chair Robert G. Sugarman and ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman issued a statement saying, “On November 29, the Swiss Muslim community fell victim to a populist political campaign of religious intolerance, led by the far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP). The Swiss government opposed the initiative during the campaign and underscored its commitment to religious freedom in a statement after the vote.
In the statement, the Jewish group urged the Swiss government “to be vigilant in its defense of religious freedom, even though the SVP is the largest party in the Swiss Parliament and has two of the seven government ministries.
“The Federation of Swiss Jewish Communities (FSJC) clearly stated its opposition to the initiative before the vote and expressed its disappointment at the result,” the statement added.
According to ADL, “This is not the first time a Swiss popular vote has been used to promote religious intolerance. A century ago, a Swiss referendum banned Jewish ritual slaughter in an attempt to drive out its Jewish population. We share the FSJC’s stated concern that those who initiated the anti-minaret campaign could try to further erode religious freedom through similar means.”
TORONTO – Switzerland’s recent referendum calling for a ban on the construction of minarets alongside mosques has stirred protests around the world and now the Canadian Jewish Congress is adding its voice to the concern.
The ballot held this week surprised observers when 57 per cent of voters supported the ban on minarets, or towers on mosques from which calls to prayer are broadcast.
“State-imposed bans on essential elements of houses of worship are inconsistent with freedom of religion,” said congress president Mark Freiman in a release.
“When the bans apply only to one group, they are also inconsistent with the fundamental right to equality.”
That’s why the group is “deeply concerned” with the referendum’s results, Freiman said, adding that “as Canadians and as Jews, we hold tolerance dear to our hearts and understand the consequences of discrimination.”
The legally binding referendum was spearheaded by Switzerland’s far-right, nationalist Swiss People’s Party.
Walter Wobmann, the president of the initiative committee, said in a victory speech following the referendum that “we just want to stop further Islamization in Switzerland.”
There are about 400,000 Muslims in Switzerland, or five per cent of the population.
The CJC joins a host of countries as well as the Vatican and human rights groups that have condemned the decision.
Existing minarets are not subject to the ban.