Muslims and Jews: standing together against hate crimes

29th October 2018

It was a shocking to hear about the terrorist attack that took place on Saturday 27th of October 2018 at Pittsburgh synagogue during Saturday morning services. A 46-year-old man killed 11 people and wounded 6 others.  

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) described this incident as “likely the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.” My condolences to the families of victims of #PittsburghShooting and to all families of hate crime victims.

This news heavily hit me and reminded me of the Finsbury Park Terrorist attack, where a man driving a van attacked a north London mosque left one man dead and 12 injured, in June 2017.

It feels so painful not to be safe in your own place of worship where a Jew or a Muslim seeks to find tranquillity, peace and security. Unfortunately, this is not the case now, or at least it won’t be for some time. Every time worshipers head out to a Synagogue or a Mosque, they will experience different feelings: a mix of fear and a determination to continue their journey to and from their place of worship in safety. 

I remember that four years ago, while I was working on interfaith project I shared my concern with a Jewish female colleague that our religious appearance can make us more likely to be attacked. At that time, nothing had happened. But now, we are witnessing our anxiety turning to real incidents, impacting both our communities.

Now, more than ever, Jews and Muslims must stand together and build more bridges for dialogue and cooperation that enable them to find their pathways confronting terrorism in all its forms.

Historically speaking, Jews and Muslims lived together for long time respecting each other and practicing their religion freely. After the death of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), Muslim armies had conquered most of the world where Jews lived. Almost all the Jews in the world then were ruled under Islam. David J Wasserstein, Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University, stated in his article that:

“This new situation transformed Jewish existence. Their fortunes changed in legal, demographic, social, religious, political, geographical, economic, linguistic and cultural terms – all for the better.”

That was not always the case, of course. We can’t forget the persecution of Jews which took place as the Golden Age in Spain came to an end, including the Granada massacre of 1066, the Almoravid period and the position of the Jews under the Almohad dynasty. However, Jews and Muslims have stood together in solidarity before, and can do so again.

That’s why here, at Quilliam, we are mobilising our annual Gala on November 1st for Muslims and Jews to stand in #Solidarity against anti-Muslim hate and anti-Semitism. And yes we do believe that Muslims and Jews can stand side-by-side in the face of this atrocity in USA, and those in Europe and elsewhere.

Together, we can contribute to a hate crime free society where people of all religions are respected and safe.