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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Jewish, Muslim Leaders In Britain Issue Joint Call For Peace and Harmony

Courtesy of Popchassid
Courtesy of Popchassid

Courtesy of Popchassid

In an unprecedented joint statement, Muslim and Jewish leaders in the UK on Thursday called for followers of both faiths to “export peace” and stamp out racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD) issued a joint statement on Thursday morning, condemned the civilian casualties on both sides and hoped for lasting peace after a cease-fire was implemented, while also stating Muslims and Jews should “get to know one another.”

“There is no doubt that Muslims and Jews have deeply held views about the conflict in Israel and Palestine. We acknowledge that our communities may disagree about the origins, current reasons and solutions to end the conflict. But there are also points of agreement,” the statement read. “The death of every civilian is a tragedy, and every effort should be taken to minimise such losses. The targeting of civilians is completely unacceptable and against our religious traditions. We pray for a speedy end to the current conflict and for a lasting peace for all.”

“In spite of the situation in the Middle East, we must continue to work hard for good community relations in the UK. We must not import conflict. We must export peace instead,” it further read.

Calling on Jews and Muslims to “redouble efforts to work together and get to know one another”, the statement added, “We condemn any expression of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or any form of racism.”

While the two sides basically agreed on the joint statement, according to The Jewish Chronicle they were unable to agree the exact meaning behind one key line – “The targeting of civilians is completely unacceptable and against our religious traditions.”

A Board spokesman had suggested that this could be read as a specific MCB criticism of Hamas, something the Muslim group rejected.

A spokeswoman for the Muslim group told the paper they believed both parties had understood that the line referred to the targeting of civilians by both Israel and Hamas. “It refers to both sides, Israel and Hamas. It’s civilians that pay the price. On both sides,” she said.

However, a spokesman the Board of Deputies of British Jews maintained, “We are very clear that the IDF does not target civilians; that’s why we felt able to sign it.”

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