Continued support for Harrow Central Mosque


By Rabbi Aaron Gol...
December 14, 2009
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Getting the message through to our local Community that we will not stand for the hatred being put out by the English Defence League and their ilk. The following was posted by the Harrow Central Mosque:

"Today’s demonstration by the Stop Islamisation of Europe and the English Defence League was in every measure a miserable defeat for the hate mongers and the Islamaphobes.

The Harrow Central Mosque is extremely grateful that people from so many backgrounds and faiths stood shoulder to shoulder in support of and in solidarity towards this great centre of peace and harmony."

Rabbi Frank Dabba Smith spoke both inside and outside of the mosque in support of the Harrow Central Mosque.

In the Jewish and local press, the surrounding Liberal and Reform Communities played important roles in countering the arguements of the EDL and others who had asked Jews to stand with them (!) with Israeli flags:

http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/24660/rabbis-attack-harrow-anti-muslim...
paign

http://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/4782699.Jewish_leaders_show_suppor...
r_Muslim_neighbours/

http://www.harrowtimes.co.uk/news/4781721.Harrow_Jews_stand_up_in_suppor...
_mosque/

http://www.totallyjewish.com/the_jewish_news/view/c-13002/jewish-news-jn...
-101209/?no_login=1

COMMENTS

Jonathan Hoffman

Mon, 12/14/2009 - 23:51

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Excellent. I'm sure the members of the Harrow Central Mosque will be there to help us at the next antisemitic Amnesty or BRICUP meeting. Maye you and Rabbi Frank Dabba Smith will be there too as well as "the surrounding Liberal and Reform communities".


gordon bennett

Tue, 12/15/2009 - 09:17

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I think it is now clear to all and sundry that Mr Hoffman is an Islamophobe. Rabbis Rich and Bayfield, why is Pro-Zion still associated with this kind of ZF which conflates antisemitism with criticism for some Israeli policies?


Jon_i_Cohen

Tue, 12/15/2009 - 09:48

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Here we go again! Gordon Bennett or is it Bennet? he is not sure of his own identity - so we have to assume a TROLL.
But as anyone reading these posts knows, this modern scurge of attacking Israeli policies under the guise of "anti-zionism" is just the "modern trendy lefty" label for good old-fashioned anti-semitism. Anyone who thinks otherwise is just naive in the extreme.
And now the Moslems of Harrow are "some of our best friends"? Get real!
We are right to be alarmed with the Islamic demographic explosion in Europe. If successive UK governments continue to do nothing about imigration control in 15 years time tthere will be a Moslem majority in the UK. How will that be good for the future of the Jewish community in the UK?


gordon bennett

Tue, 12/15/2009 - 10:57

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I wonder if Mr Cohen is aware that the 1905 Aliens Act was brought in because Anti-Semites wanted to stop Jewish immigration to Britain because they saw Jews as a demographic threat. I wonder, too, if he is aware that his arguments against Muslims were used by Mosley's anti-Semites in the 1930s. Perhaps it is something he should keep in mind when he goes to his next BNP or EDL meeting. By the way, there's nothing British about the BNP. And that's a Tory-run group which I am very proud to support as a Tory voter. Other than jumping to conclusions, do you get any other exercise?


Yvetta

Tue, 12/15/2009 - 11:00

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Rabbi Goldstein, your intentions and actions are commendable, but I hope you don't share the view of the "Independent Jewish Voices" organisation that "There is no justification for ... Islamophobia, in any circumstance."
Alas, not to be phobic towards a movement that denies women equal rights, and which metes out horrific punishments to gays, is to betray the ideology of the Liberal Jewish belief in the equality of women and humanitarian treatment for all.
Let us hope that Liberal Judaism is not setting out upon a path of tolerating in Islam that which it is seemingly only too happy to excoriate in Orthodox Judaism - that's hypocrisy, and it's also Appeasement.


Yvetta

Tue, 12/15/2009 - 11:16

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Gordon, the ludicrous perceptions of people like Evans-Gordon MP over a century ago towards the immigration of Jews from Eastern Europe has no bearing on the present situation.
We're told that there are less than 2 million Muslims in Britain, but recently it was found that there are a quarter of a million Somalis alone - that's not much less than the number of Jews - and the true number of Muslims here is probably much higher. This means that they will continue to have an increasing political influence here, which will impact (as it is already doing) upon British policy to Israel. I happen to care very deeply about Israel - and I happen to care very deeply about Britain and Europe. I don't want Western civilisation and liberal values to fall to an aggressive proselytisng movement that realises full well that the non-Muslim population is not reproducing itself, and that it - consequently - has a demographic weapon in its own fecundity.
Jon Cohen is absolutely correct in what he writes.


gordon bennett

Tue, 12/15/2009 - 11:17

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Yvetta, I think you are confusing the religion of Islam and those who take it to a radical extreme. It would be like saying all Jews are Neturei Karta or Satmar. Generalisations aren't healthy.


Yvetta

Tue, 12/15/2009 - 11:26

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Don't get me wrong, I support the rabbi's support for another "faith community", but we must not blind ourselves to the fact that unlike ours Islam is an adversarial religion bent on proselytising.
The only hope, as I see it, is if it undergoes some vast reformist movement.


gordon bennett

Tue, 12/15/2009 - 11:27

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Yvetta, you do not seem to realise that for Evans-Gordon and later for Mosley, the NF, the BNP and various other neo- and not-so-neo-Nazis it didn't and doesn't matter that there were only about 500,000 Jews in the UK (at the turn of the 20th century, when the population of Britain was about 35 million, so that's about 2% of the population) or 250,000 Jews here now (UK population 60 million+). It's the same argument being used by people like Jon about Muslims. Even if there are 2.5 million Muslims here, that's 4% of the total population. Not much different from the situation in 1900. And by now, Britain has had more than a century worth of dealing with perceived demographic "threats". Don't fall into the BNP's trap.


gordon bennett

Tue, 12/15/2009 - 11:29

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All religions are adversarial and all religions think that they and only they speak the truth. And Islam is undergoing a reformist movement -- and the radicals feel hugely threatened by what they call the apostates.


JINewsNet

Tue, 12/15/2009 - 12:07

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gordon bennett

Tue, 12/15/2009 - 12:23

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Who'da thunk it, eh Jon, Yvetta and JINewsNet -- Jews supporting the BNP's line? Is it true what they say about how you can tell BNP-supporting members of the Jewish community -- they are the ones dragging their knuckles along the pavement when they go to party meetings.


Yvetta

Tue, 12/15/2009 - 12:32

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Wake up and smell the coffee, Gordon - the Christmas shoppers assaulted in Strasbourg, the rabbi attacked in Vienna ...


JINewsNet

Tue, 12/15/2009 - 12:32

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Don't be silly-we are not members or supporters of the BNP.

But how do you draw the line between peaceful Islam and extreme Islam. Should the west and should Jewish communities be completely unconcerned with the changing demographics?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEXWjlgJ83E


Lanne

Tue, 12/15/2009 - 15:07

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I know that not every Muslim is an extremist but I think that Muslim leaders have a responsibility to condemn extreme Muslims as much as possible. Muslim leaders should condemn the the Muslim man who is thought to have bitten of the rabbi's finger at the Chanukah celebration in Vienna. If a Jewish person attacked a Muslim in the same way that the rabbi was attacked in Vienna, many rabbi's would condemn this. Gordon you say that Yvetta is confusing Islam with those radicals who take it to the extreme but there are many Muslims and Muslim leaders who do not speak out against the radicals which allows the radicals to feel accepted in the Muslim community and allows the extremism to continue.


Yvetta

Tue, 12/15/2009 - 15:15

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(Sorry - I edited out a spelling error [very pedantic, moi!] - and now this message has ended up in the wrong place!)

But they do have very large families, Gordon. The only Jews who have such large families are the strictly frum.
Many people say that as the Muslim population becomes more "acculturated" and middle-class, they will have the stereotypical 2.5 children of Middle Britain too.
I used to think that this would be so, as Muslim girls would not want to be - to put it crudely - merely "baby machines".
This latter trend might be happening among some Muslim communities in Britain and Europe.
But I know for a fact that in Yorkshire, many Muslim girls who do well at school in the hope of going to university and having careers are summarily removed from school by their worried parents and married off to a less educated but wholly traditional cousin in Pakistan. These couples, one of whom is semi-westernised and the other (not insignificantly, the male head of household) is decidedly the reverse, then settle in Britain and the wife becomes the "baby machine" she'd aspired not to be, and the ethos of the family they produce is again traditional and non-integrationist. This state of affairs poses a real threat, as does the fact that the government tolerates polygamy for Muslims as long as the unions have taken place outside the UK - now, I'm no mathematical whizz, but I can see where that is taking the Muslim population of this country. Wasn't it Rabbi Gershom of Mainz who effectively "outlawed" polygamy for Europe's Ashkenazim in the 11th century? Wouldst that the Muslims would do likewise. But then we believe that "The Law of the Land is the Law".


David Dorfman

Wed, 12/16/2009 - 00:23

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I find Jonathan Hoffman's argument curious. If he wants to call organisations like Amnesty "antisemitic" because they have criticised Israel that is up to him, but to make an analogy with the Harrow affair one would have to suppose that these organisations were marching provocatively into Jewish neighbourhoods and demanding synagogues were banned.
It may be a while since our community was targeted in this way, but when Jewish graves were vandalized at Newham, local Muslims did come along and show solidarity with Jewish people.
Antisemites would dearly love to see the Middle East conflict imported to set Jews and Muslims in this country at each others' throats. They tried to enlist Jewish support for their demonstration in Harrow on Sunday, and miserably failed. (Indeed the demonstration against the mosque mustered no more than about 15 people all told). Those Jewish people who supported the right of our Muslim neighbours or anyone else to worship as they please behaved responsibly, and in our own interest too. Anyone who thinks like Jonathan Hoffman has a lot to learn.


DLeigh-Ellis

Wed, 12/16/2009 - 19:26

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@ those who argue that due to the fundamentalist element of Islam, we should not stand alongside those in this country who are being intimidated by groups such as the EDL.

Hate to bring up the old cliche again but, 'first they came for the communists....'

What somebody else does should never be justification for not doing the right thing. As Jews, it is not an option but our duty to stand up against rascism. Groups like the EDL fear the hardliners in Islam yet they target all Muslims, regardless of political persuasion. That's how you know they are nothing more than a front for a highly xenophobic agenda.

There are many, many moderate Muslim groups and individuals actively working against the Islamists, those on this board who seem to fear Islam should maybe take the time to engage their minds and research these organisations.

Faiths are not evil, but people have the capacity for evil... then they drag the faith down with them, whatever faith it may be. Such is the problem with uncompromising fundamentalism, same as in Christianity, and dare I say it, Judaism too.


JINewsNet

Wed, 12/16/2009 - 22:00

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@DLeigh-Ellis

Have you ever see this film "What the West should know about Islam" and what do you make of it?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCJvrWgLMf8

The film is in 10 sections on Youtube


DLeigh-Ellis

Wed, 12/16/2009 - 22:14

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Im not watching unsourced and presumably highly emotive youtube propoganda.....

Have you ever seen 'American History X,' a film which highlights the possibility of overcoming xenophobia solely through integration and conversation.

I will repeat my point, the actions of fundamentalists of any type must not cause us to lower our own standards.


JINewsNet

Wed, 12/16/2009 - 22:25

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This was recently on Newsnight about a school in Acton

Did you see this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XcSQJSOab8


DLeigh-Ellis

Wed, 12/16/2009 - 22:42

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That is one school, and although Im sure there are also others its not going to make me change my position.

What are you saying, that we should be teaching that Muslims and Christians are subhuman in our schools?

You can't fight hate with hate, and fearing something is the first step to hating. We must embrace this antipathy. As Jews we have suffered for a long time, but we have come through, and we have become a stronger people for it. One of our core cultural values is education, we must begin to perceive any display of ignorance as an opportunity to educate. If we resort to such scare tactics as sowing fear through the propogation of xenophobic media then our moral worth is utterly revoked.


JINewsNet

Wed, 12/16/2009 - 22:56

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Look -your argument is honourable and correct-we should be tolerant and integrative, especially as jews. However, how realistic is this view in the light of the facts on the ground. It really looks like the tolerance approach is not mutual.

I am not suggesting that you should change your position, but I would like to hear your comments on the earlier video


DLeigh-Ellis

Wed, 12/16/2009 - 23:27

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Honestly, I really cant bring myself to watch it... sorry, maybe im being foolish but when a documentary starts with a call to prayer and then I see Tony Blair spouting what we now know to have been words to build people up for a war that had already been put into motion behind the scenes, i can't take it seriously.

Although it does amuse me how it sounds like Tony is saying, 'Ben Laden,' as if he's actually called Benjamin.

I understand the threat of radical Islam, I really do. But many Muslims are moderate, and the point of this discussion was to argue that we must stand with those who simply want to commune with G-d, whatever faith they might be. That is why I was arguing that the demonstrations outside the mosque in Harrow must be shown as antagonistic, these hooligans who have got bored with football have simply wondered into these new organisations because they provide an excuse for lowest common denominator violence. This time with a warped patriotic twist. Otherwise they would be demonstrating outside somewhere like that school in the newnight report that you linked, not a reasonably moderate mosque where people meet solely to pray.


OrthoPrax

Thu, 12/17/2009 - 00:07

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After readinig comments from Joathan Hoffman, JINewsNet etc, I want to do nothing more than scoff a bacon cheeseburger with a side of prawns. This self-centered, paranoid, small-minded bigotry is the reason I left orthodoxy. Congratulations, you have made me lose faith in the goodness of G-d's people.


Yvetta

Thu, 12/17/2009 - 10:03

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OrthoPrax, that makes little sense. After all, in many ways Islam and Orthodox Judaism are very similar, so don't use your "more ethical than thou" attitude to kick Orthodoxy when you've obviously no hang-ups about defending Islam. I'm not Orthodox - never have been - but I fear Islamic fundamentalism and its creeping demographic threat, as do most of my Reform friends. As a woman, I fear it all the more. That's not narrow-mindedness (for narrow-mindedness I refer you to some of the more radical and misogynistic imams or for that matter some of the senior Liberal rabbis who are swift to put the boot into "the Israel lobby" on national television; in view of all the empirical evidence it's commonsense and self-preservation to fear Islamic fundamentalism and the encroachment of Sharia Law into the public domain. Orthodoxy has never attempted to push Halachah into the public domain, and never will.
Of course, the peaceful practice of religion should be supported - so long as it does not impact upon those who don't wish to be forcibly converted or cast into dhimmitude.
I for one commend the Jewish community's support of the Harrow mosque, and have said so above.

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