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In shadow of Paris attacks, UK faith leaders sign anti-hate declaration

January 26, 2015 17:33

Muslim, Jewish, Christian leaders pledge to fight anti-Semitism, Islamophobia at screening of Holocaust film in London.

Group photo of signatories

Group photo of signatories . (photo credit:SIMON O’CONNOR)

On the heels of the recent deadly attacks on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and a kosher supermarket in Paris, leaders of the Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities in Britain signed a joint declaration against hate on Sunday.

Politicians and leaders of communal organizations also signed the declaration, which calls on the country's leaders to commit to condemning antisemitic, anti-Muslim and xenophobic speech and action, and to fight intolerance and incitement. 

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"Our people have a rich tradition of standing up against injustice and oppression," reads one section of the declaration. "Muslims resisted the Nazi regime and gave shelter and protection to Jews during the Holocaust, just as Jews sought to protect Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Britain has a proud history of giving shelter to those fleeing persecution and creating an environment that benefits from their skills, experience and traditions. Today we celebrate those histories and call on all leaders to work with us to ensure that this rich heritage is not lost to the poison of those who deny it."

The signing took place during screenings of the film Besa: The Promise, ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance day this Tuesday. The documentary is about Albanian Muslims who risked their lives sheltering Jews during the Holocaust. Ambassador of the Republic of Albania to the UK Mal Berisha delivered the keynote speech, and referencing the film Besa, emphasized the importance of remembering these and other stories of heroism.
The signing was organized by the Mayor of Camden and his chosen charity of the year, 3FF (the Three Faiths Forum). The event took place in collaboration with the Islamic Society of Britain, Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, the British Albanian Kosovar Council, JW3, Radical Middle Way, UK Jewish Film, Rumi’s Cave and Faith Matters. 

3FF Director Stephen Shashoua stated: “After the tragedy in Paris, affirming our commitment to stand together against all forms of hatred takes on a new level of urgency. Extremism needs mistrust and divisions to flourish. Now is the time to strengthen relations between communities, and with one voice speak out against the hatemongers who seek to divide us through violence and fear. We must stay united.”

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