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Why Muslims must be at the forefront of fighting anti-Semitism

31 18 41
17.03.2019

On October 27, 2018, a gunman entered the Tree of Life Synagogue at the Squirrel Hill neighbourhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, while Shabbat morning services were being held. He shot and killed 11 and injured another seven. The murderous act was considered the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the United States. The suspect, 46-year-old Robert Gregory Bowers, was arrested and charged with dozens of federal crimes. He was a notorious racist with a history of anti-Semitic hate speech on social media.

In 2006, a young Jewish man, named Ilan Halimi, was kidnapped in France by a gang demanding substantial ransom money from his family, "believing them to be rich because he was Jewish". He was tortured for three weeks and then was found dumped in the suburb of Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois. He died on the way to a hospital. Earlier this year, a tree planted in his name was chopped down.

In England, the record number of anti-Semitic acts in recent years include: "a man who was walking to a synagogue when food was thrown at him from a car, a woman who was spat at in the face on a bus, a Jewish bakery that was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti, and a brick that was thrown at a synagogue's glass front door".

The numbers are staggering and Europe-wide. "Antisemitism is rising sharply across Europe, experts have said," according to a recent report by the Guardian, "as France reported a 74 percent increase in the number of offences against Jews last year and Germany said the number of violent anti-Semitic attacks had surged by more than 60 percent". The article further says: "The figures confirm the results of three recent Europe-wide surveys showing Jewish people feel at greater risk, and are experiencing markedly more aggression, amid a generalized increase in racist hate speech and violence in a significantly coarser, more polarized political environment."

The deep roots of anti-Semitism in Europe are widespread and murderous. From a prolonged history of pogroms to the Crusades to the horrors of the Holocaust, and a long and nasty history in between, European Jews have been the consistent subject of baseless slander, vicious defamation, malignant lies and rumours, wild and vilifying conspiracy theories, all resulting in massacres and ultimately genocide under Nazi Germany. In no other continent, country, or culture have Jews ever been so brutalised as they have been in Europe.

Although no other clime or continent is entirely immune to it, anti-Semitism is a specifically European disease, with European Christianity a main culprit in the carnage. The........

© Al Jazeera