WZO: Europe Is Becoming Muslim

"Europe is becoming a Muslim continent," a new public relations booklet prepared by the World Zionist Organization warns.

The booklet, a Hebrew-language copy of which was obtained by Haaretz, was prepared for a conference of leaders of Orthodox communities worldwide that opens today in Jerusalem, and will be distributed to all of the approximately 200 rabbis and community leaders in attendance. Entitled "A Guide to Anti-Semitism and Terror for Diaspora Communities," the booklet was prepared by the WZO's Spiritual Services for the Diaspora unit, "with the goal of raising awareness of the issue," according to unit chairman Rabbi Yehiel Wasserman.

The booklet states that dialogue on the basis of mutual concern for religion is impossible with Muslims, even moderates, because Islam has no common theological concepts with Judaism.

Regarding the dangers posed by Muslims in Europe, the document states that "what began 40 years ago as an innocent migration by the unemployed" has become "an attempt at conquest aimed at changing the face of the Western world and history."

The document warns in particular against contact with young, Western-educated Muslims, claiming many have been "born again" as extremists.

Wasserman said the booklet is still undergoing revisions and that some of these statements will be "softened."

Muslim anti-Semitism is expected to occupy a prominent place at the conference. Rabbi Yitzhak Haleva, the chief rabbi of Turkey, said yesterday that the attacks on two Istanbul synagogues last month was the first evidence of the existence of Muslim anti-Semitism in Turkey. Immediately after the attacks, he added, some people began blaming the Jews, but these accusations died down following the bombings five days later of the British consulate and the Istanbul headquarters of the HSBC Bank.

The French rabbis attending the conference, meanwhile, were divided over a recent statement made by the country's chief rabbi, Joseph Sitruk, in which he urged French Jews to wear hats rather than kippot (skullcaps) in "sensitive" areas, such as subway stations, in order to avoid anti-Semitic attacks. The chief rabbi of Paris, David Messas, said yesterday that Jews "should be proud of their Judaism" and simply avoid places where a kippa might endanger their lives.

With regard to the French government's decision to pass a law that would forbid students to wear kippot, headscarves or large crosses in schools, Messas and the other French rabbis said that if the law passes, they will tell their congregants to obey it and go to school bareheaded.

However, although French rabbis have joined Muslim leaders in opposing the law, Messas believes that it will ultimately aggravate Jewish-Muslim relations, because "the Jews, unlike the Muslims, will accept the law, and therefore, we will again find ourselves on opposite sides of the fence."