Prominent Muslim and Jewish leaders expressed Monday deep concern regarding the rise of far-right xenophobic and racist parties in Europe and pledged to work together to put an end to the extremist phenomenon threatening "ethnic and religious minorities."
Members of the Coordinating Committee of European Muslim and Jewish Leaders from Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States, announced plans for a series of public events on Europe Day, which takes place in May.
Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism must never be allowed to become respectable, the leaders said in a joint statement.
We will not allow ourselves to be separated, but will stand together to fight bigotry against Muslims, Jews and other minorities. An attack on any of us is an attack on all of us,' the statement added.
Citing studies which show that anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are both growing rapidly in Europe, the communal leaders affirmed that Jews and Muslims are equal stakeholders in Europe, not expendable guests, and must therefore enjoy the same rights as everybody else. Appeasing those that sow the seeds of hatred and division is not only morally wrong, but will have disastrous consequences for Europe if allowed to continue.
FFEU President and WJC Vice President Rabbi Marc Schneier, who was present at the meeting, declared: Although much of the venom of extremist and populist parties is directed these days against Muslims, it should not be forgotten that several of the far-right parties, including the National Front in France, have histories replete with anti-Semitism. On 9 May, we will gather in Paris and elsewhere to say that the rise of such parties across Europe is menacing to both of our communities, as well as to basic democratic values of pluralism and tolerance. If Europe wants to remain true to its ethical and spiritual foundations, it must embrace people from different cultures, religions and ways of life. If not, it will not only fail as a concept, it will lose its soul.
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