The 3FF fully supports the “call for peace, wisdom, and hope” issued together by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Muslim Council of Britain. We consider this joint statement an excellent and constructive step in strengthening relations between Muslims and Jews in this country. With the alarming rise of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia across Europe, Jews and Muslims need to redouble efforts in combatting what is an insidious threat to our shared values.
Interfaith work has evolved over the last ten years. Statements by community leaders are now merely one component. The sheer breadth of activity — from faith school linking to work on both campuses and communities to training of leaders — is something to be proud of and support further. Dialogue, social action and education when done well, have the power to challenge stereotypical attitudes and shift mind-sets in helpful and constructive directions.
Of course, good interfaith engagement does not mean that we always agree on everything, but it does mean that we build the necessary trust that keeps relations between our communities positive — even when there is disagreement. 3FF asks communities to support this continuing process of engagement which accepts and recognises difficult issues as they arise, but deals with them in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding.
A society where people of different cultures and beliefs have good relations is one which has the strength to rebut hateful ideologies. That in turn serves to strengthen so many of the great values of which the United Kingdom can be proud.
|Michael V Sternberg QC, KFO, FRSA