Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush said to Muslims in Birmingham that Muslims and Jews need to support each other in the fight against hate.
Jonathan made his remarks on a visit to Mehfil E Abbas – KSIMC, Shia Mosque in the city this week. While in Birmingham – accompanied by Interfaith Officer Anthony Silkoff – he also visited Birmingham Central Mosque, Al Burhan, a Grammar School for girls, and King David Primary School.
He told a packed audience at the Shia mosque that Jews and Muslims have three challenges they must face together: terrorism, persecution and religious freedom.
On the Finsbury Park mosque attack, he said: “We know that, if a synagogue was attacked in this way, our Muslim friends would be there to stand with us. Likewise, we visited the Finsbury Park Mosque last week to give our moral support.”
On Islamist extremism, Jonathan delivered a message on behalf of the Jewish community that, while moderate Muslims should not be held accountable for violent criminals, they are our most powerful allies in the struggle against terrorism. At Al-Burhan Girls School, the Board of Deputies group was shown a booklet written by an RE teacher, entitled “Not in our Name” – which condemns terrorism from an Islamic perspective. At Birmingham Central Mosque, Jonathan was presented with a document called “Terrorism is Not Islam”, which has been produced and endorsed by 29 Birmingham mosques.
At King David Primary School – a Jewish school with a majority of Muslim pupils – Jonathan met teachers, governors and pupils and held a question and answer session with a year six class.