At a packed meeting at the House of Lords on Thursday 12th November for the first time the President of the British Board of Deputies and a senior Imam of a major mosque shared a public platform to discuss Jewish-Muslim relations in the UK.
The event was organised by Joseph Interfaith Foundation as a project for National Interfaith week. The talk was chaired by Lord Stone of Blackheath, Patron of the Foundation. He mentioned the event in his speech at the House of Lords which was reported in Hansard.
Sir David Michels and Judge Khurshid Drabu CBE the trustees of the foundation gave the opening and closing remarks. They highlighted the significance of the work of the foundation particularly its unique National Council of Imams & Rabbis.
Senior rabbis and imams as well as civic leaders from both communities; academics and university students attended the talk.
Qari Mohammed Asim MBE, the senior imam of Makkah mosque in Leeds, a member of the foundation’s National Council of Imams and Rabbis; and; Mr Jonathan Arkush president of the Board of Deputies spoke on the topic of “Jewish-Muslim Relations in This Country: How to move forward?”
Both speakers emphasised the importance of good relations between the two communities not only for their respective community but also for a cohesive and multi-faith society in Britain. They expressed the significance of meetings, engagements and social interaction between the members of both communities. They agreed that socio-political issues should not be how Jews and Muslims define themselves in this country; rather, they should come together as members of two religious minorities who have a great deal in common and would mutually benefit from supporting each other on issues of mutual concern.
It was agreed that the foundation cooperation with the religious leaders of both communities will be ongoing and further meetings between the president of the Board of Deputies and the Muslim community will be arranged by the foundation.