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May 18, 2018 2:17 pm

Leading British Muslims Launch New Campaign Against Antisemitism

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MAAS is raising Muslim voices against antisemitism. Photo: muslimsgainstantisemitism.org.

A group of leading British Muslims launched a bold campaign against antisemitism on Friday with a newspaper ad that began by announcing “Shalom,” and ended with the words of the Hebrew psalm, “Hinei ma tov u’ma nayim/Shevet achim gam yachad” (“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is/for brethren to dwell together in unity.”)

Leading UK newspapers The Times and The Daily Telegraph ran the ad in their Friday editions, as Muslims around the world marked the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. Additional news outlets are scheduled to publish the ad during the coming week.

The organization behind the ad — Muslims Against Antisemitism (MAAS) — declared that “the time has come to speak out.”

“For far too long, antisemitism has gone unchecked,” the ad said.

Signatories to the ad included Fiyaz Mughal — the founder of MAAS and the director of interfaith group, “Faith Matters” — as well as Iman Atta, the director of Tell MAMA, a group that combats anti-Muslim bigotry; Henna Rai, the founder of the Birmingham, UK-based Women Against Radicalization Network; and Imam Mamadou Seydou Bocoum, a noted theologian who also serves as a chaplain to Muslim inmates of British prisons.

Directly addressing the impact of the Palestinian conflict with Israel on relations between Jews and Muslims outside, the ad asserted that “many in our country empathize with the Palestinians and their right to a sovereign state.”

The ad continued: “However, we must be ever vigilant against those who cynically use international issues to vilify Jews or promote antisemitic tropes.”

 

On its website, MAAS explained that its campaign is “driven by a strong sense of social justice that comes from our Islamic faith, to counter antisemitism within Muslim communities through educational programs in schools and community centers, by challenging Islamist extremism which fuels antisemitism, and through directed online campaigns that reach out to wider audiences.”

“Only by understanding one another and developing an empathy, can we expect others to defend us against the scourge of anti-Muslim hatred,” the group noted.

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