This is one of those great stories that often gets overlooked by the mainstream press and deliberately ignored by the Islamophobes:
With only just over thirty members and an extravagant Grade II listed Moorish building, the tiny Jewish community of Bradford have for many years been in despair about their finances – until the local Muslim community stepped in to help.
The grand-looking Reform synagogue, is on an unassuming street, between the Yorkshire Tandoori, Al-Hijaab Islamic Clothing and the Jamia Shan-E-Islam Educational Centre.
Built in 1880, it has long been under threat of closure, but several Muslim organisations in the city have pledged to stop it falling into ruin, with donors giving £2,000 to save the synagogue’s roof.
The truth is that most muslim communities in the West have a lot to learn from Jewish communities, as they have faced much of the same issues of suspicion, assimilation, and persecution. There is a lot to be gained by working together.
Unfortunately, here in the US the Jewish community is more distrustful of the muslim community. The head of the ADL, Abe Foxman, had very disappointing comments in the wake of the Boston bombing:
Shalev: You don’t think that “Muslim-baiting” is much more acceptable in the mainstream media than, say, “Jew-baiting”? There is a Congressman now who is calling for the authorities to keep track of the entire Muslim community.
Foxman: I don’t think that’s Muslim-baiting. It’s a natural response. It may be wise or unwise. But I think America’s got an issue now, and not only America. You look at France, you look at London, you look at Amsterdam—most of these incidents have come from Muslim communities that have been brought in and are not assimilating. Just like after 9/11, America is now questioning where the balance is between security and freedom of expression: Should we follow the ethnic communities? Should we be monitoring mosques? This isn’t Muslim-baiting—it’s driven by fear, by a desire for safety and security.
(there’s good commentary about this at the Daily Beast)
These are shameful comments but are no surprise given that the ADL was also against the Park 51 project. It seems that the Muslim community is exempt from the principles of the Anti-Defamation League. Irony indeed that teh ADL would engage in defamation of this sort!
All this underlies the need for outreach by Muslims to Jews to build bonds between our communities in the US and UK at the grassroots level, so that even when these national organizations drop the ball, the underlying relationship remains strong.