Xenophobia in Europe condemned by Jewish, Muslim leaders

Religious leaders convene in Paris to issue a joint declaration against what they see as the growing tide of xenophobia in Europe.

March 7, 2011 22:00
1 minute read.
[illustrative photo]

Xenophobia - man getting beaten kicked 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Jewish and Muslim religious leaders convened in Paris on Monday to issue a joint declaration against what they saw as the growing tide of xenophobia in Europe.

Rabbi Marc Schneier of New York and British Imam Abduljalil Sajid condemned anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish sentiments across the continent and called for democratic and pluralistic values to be upheld.

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“Islamophobia and anti-Semitism represent the sharp end of racism in Europe, so Jews and Muslims must fight them together, and prevent anyone from turning us into scapegoats,” said Sajid, a Muslim religious leader of Pakistani origin who is one of the founders of the Muslim Council of Britain.

“At the same time, Europeans of all backgrounds should come together to defend basic European and universal values of democracy, pluralism and mutual acceptance.”

Schneier, who is an Orthodox rabbi and vice president of the World Jewish Congress, said that many parties on the Right currently espousing an anti-Muslim agenda used to persecute Jews.

“Although much of the venom of extremist and populist parties is directed these days against Muslims, it should not be forgotten that several of the far-Right parties, including the National Front in France, have histories replete with anti-Semitism,” he said.

Schneier and Sajid have participated in several interfaith events in the past, such as the Gathering of European Muslim and Jewish leaders, which was launched in Brussels last December.

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