Archbishop joins faith leaders in condemning rise in antisemitic incidents amid Israel-Hamas war

The Archbishop of Canterbury (c) with Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra (l), a scholar and imam from Leicester, and former Assistant Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain, and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg (r), Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism UK and Rabbi of the New North London Synagogue. (Photo: Neil Turner/Lambeth Palace)

UK faith leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, have made a joint appeal for unity among Britain’s faith communities amid the Israel-Gaza conflict. 

The joint appeal by the faith leaders was made at Lambeth Palace, the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and follows a rise in antisemitic incidents in the days since Hamas attacked Israel. 

Archbishop Justin Welby, Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg stood together as they made statements rejecting all forms of antisemitism and hate crime. 

Archbishop Welby condemned the “cancer of antisemitism” and said the public display of unity was an “important sign of friendship and solidarity”.

He said they were “profoundly concerned” by developments in Israel and Gaza, and that he was “praying constantly for all those who are caught up in this war that has already brought so much suffering to so many people”.

“But today we have come together out of shared concern for our communities and neighbourhoods here in the UK, and to stand together against any form of hatred or violence against Jewish people or any other community,” he said.

Rabbi Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism UK and Rabbi of the New North London Synagogue, said there had been a “five-fold” rise in incidents in antisemitism since the outbreak of the war. 

He said it had been a “most deeply painful time” and welcomed the support and solidarity of different faith communities in the UK. 

“We have so much in common; there are many friendships between us, and we have stood together through both peaceful and challenging days. As you say, we will sometimes have different loyalties, yet it is essential that we live together across the United Kingdom as neighbours and fellow citizens in peace and with respect,” he said. 

“I share your prayers for an ultimate end to war. My prayers, too, are with all the innocent people caught up in this horror, for all those who are hurt and grieve, and all who long for the safety and wellbeing of their loved ones.

“We are both on the side of life. We share deep concern for the welfare of everyone and pray for a better future for all.”

Sheikh Ibrahim said he was “deeply pained” by recent events and that it was “deplorable and wrong” that the Jewish community in the UK has been the target of hate crimes.

He condemned the attacks and said he was praying for an end “to this war and all wars” and called on people to speak out against “all and every form of hate”.

“We have found some comfort and a lot of hope in our friendships that have been built over many years. We stand together to express our shared commitment to protecting the relationship between our communities,” he said.

“British Muslims and Jews have much in common and there are many personal ties between us. We have celebrated happy times together, and stood together in solidarity during difficult and challenging times.

“We have, and will sometimes be on opposite sides, but we live together as neighbours in peace and harmony, disagreeing with each other respectfully, without resorting to hate or violence.

“At this critical time, we share deep concern for the welfare of everyone. We are determined to do our utmost to prevent violence and intimidation across our country, whether on the streets, in places of worship, in schools, in universities, or in any other institutions.”

The Archbishop echoed their statements about the importance of maintaining relationships “even in this time of deep crisis”. 

“We cannot allow the seeds of hatred and prejudice to be sown afresh in our communities,” he said.

“And at this time especially, we cannot allow the cancer of antisemitism to spread in our nation. I pray that we remain united against all forms of discrimination, and for our Jewish neighbours and all our communities to know that they are an essential part of our country.” 

Republished from Christian Today UK.

Source link

Leave a Comment