In the wake of the violent protests at the Gaza border fence in Israel, a group of prominent Muslims in Britain have purchased full-page ads in several UK papers to condemn anti-Semitism and to urge their fellow Muslims to “speak out” whenever they see signs of “one of history’s oldest and most virulent hatreds.”
The ads were sponsored by a nonprofit organization called Muslims Against Anti-Semitism (MAAS) and feature an open letter with over a dozen signatories, including journalists, former members of parliament, community activists, and religious leaders. So far, the ads have run in the Times, the Telegraph, and the Metro.
And here we stand in the @MetroUK. We have made our stands in the Telegraph, the Times and the Metro.
We call on our Muslim brothers & sisters to stand against anti-Semitism with the same vigour they challenge anti-Muslim hate.
— MAAS (@MAAS_UK) May 18, 2018
The ads show a bold headline: “We Muslims have one word for Jews. Shalom.” — the Hebrew word for peace.
“As British Muslims, we believe the time has come to speak out,” begins the letter, which seeks to engage Muslims in the fight against anti-Semitism, and specifically references the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
For far too long, anti-Semitism has gone unchecked. Sadly, it has become entrenched across society. Its poison can be found in all political parties and among followers of all faiths, including Islam.
Eradicating it is a challenge faced by all of us.
We understand that many in our country empathise with the Palestinians and their right to a sovereign state. We welcome the defence of the rights of all people.
However, we must be ever vigilant against those who cynically use international issues to vilify Jews or promote anti-Semitic tropes. There is no cause that can justify the promotion of hate.
Just as we challenge those who recycle anti-Muslim tropes, we stand firmly against racism directed at our Jewish sisters and brothers.
As Muslims, we believe that our future peace, security and prosperity in this great country cannot be ensured while Jewish communities feel under threat. It is our duty to speak out against all forms of hatred and bigotry — against anti-Semitism no less than anti-Muslim hatred.
To our Jewish sisters and brothers, we say the struggle against one of history oldest and most virulent hatreds is not your fight along but ours collectively.
In peace, we say these words:
Hiney ma tov u’ma-nayim, Shevet ach-im gam ya-chad.
Our full page advert makes clear that for some of us, as British Muslims, anti-Semitism is a scourge that needs to be tackled with vigour, energy and commitment. This means tackling it beyond and within communities.#Antisemitism #Muslims #interfaith pic.twitter.com/siGQWbdqvN
— MAAS (@MAAS_UK) May 17, 2018
The last line of the ad comes from a Hebrew hymn and translates to “How good it is, for brothers and sisters to sit together.”
The ad has received many positive responses, including from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who thanked MAAS for their “incredible solidarity.”
Incredible solidarity – a full page ad by Muslim sisters & brothers in today's @Telegraph. Thank you. Together we will defeat the twin evils of antisemitism & anti-Muslim hate. @FaithMattersUK @TellMamaUK @ayeshahazarika @paulsarmstrong @MakChishtyQPM @hennaraiB @Voice_of_Salam pic.twitter.com/W5PJLtHngK
— Board of Deputies of British Jews (@BoardofDeputies) May 17, 2018
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.