On Monday 24th October 2011, the Joseph Interfaith Foundation held a book launch reception at the House of Lords. The book “Confronting anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: An exploration of their socio-historic and theological roots and similarities” is the book of the proceedings of the foundation’s one-day international conference held in November 2009 at the Brunei Gallery, University of London, in association with Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies: University of Exeter, and The Centre for Jewish Studies at SOAS: University of London.
The reception was hosted by the foundation’s trustees Lord Ahmed of Rotherham and Sir David Michels. The invited guests included academics, leaders of national Jewish and Muslim organizations, students’ representatives and faith leaders. Andrew Stunell MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government, Lord Haskel, Lord Hussain of Luton, Lord Clarke of Hampstead, Lord Davies of Coity and Stephen Timms MP, Vice-chair Labour Party Faith Groups 2007-, were the guests of honour at the launch.
Although the book is based on the conference papers, it is not merely a compilation of those papers, but a cohesive work based on the thematic grouping of the two major topics of the conference, namely, the socio-historic and theological roots of the anti-Semitism and islamophobia and the similarities between the two phenomena. The conference was the first attempt at not only approaching the two concepts together, but also positing the notion that anti-Semitism and Islamophobia should be explored together a two sides of the same coin of racism and xenophobia, thus challenging the view which promotes them as two completely separate and unrelated concepts. The volume has as its broader purpose to promote a constructive effort to on confronting anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. The editors hope that it make a meaningful contribution to clarifying the origins, meaning, and implications of these two scourges, and believe it will serve as a constructive resource and tool for students, academics, activists, community leaders, and opinion –and decision – makers.