Board president Marie van der Zyl pledges to be 'committed ally' of Muslims at interfaith iftar

The Board hosted the Iftar, the dinner where Muslims break their Ramadan fast


The president of the Board of Deputies has pledged her solidarity with British Muslims during an iftar event at London’s Central Synagogue.

Marie van der Zyl told those present on Tuesday evening that the Board “will never accept people inciting hatred against Muslims, whether this occurs on the street, online, or in any political party".

“It is absolutely the responsibility of all political parties to properly investigate racism in their ranks," she said.

"I can assure you that, in my tenure as President, you can count on me as a committed ally of the Muslim community.”

The Iftar, the traditional dinner at which Muslims break their fast during the month of Ramadan, was hosted by the Board.

Attendees included Laura Marks and Julie Siddiqi, co-chairs of the Nisa-Nashim women’s interfaith group.

Also there was Fiyaz Mughal, founder of the Faith Matters interfaith group, the Tell MAMA Islamophobia watchdog and Muslims Against Antisemitism, which last month ran full page ads in national newspapers speaking out against Jew-hate.

“In March we called on our community to gather in Parliament Square to say ‘enough is enough’ to antisemitism,” Mrs van der Zyl said.

“When - in the midst of this turbulent time – Muslims took out full page adverts in national newspapers to show their solidarity with Jews, the response throughout our community was extraordinarily positive, indeed even emotional.

"We had messages on social media from Jews all over the world, who said they had tears in their eyes when they read the text of your advert.”

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis told those at the dinner: "Jews and Muslims are part of the same historic family. Our friends here tonight are true and genuine brethren in every sense."

Mr Mughal said: “The recent significant rise in antisemitism and the discourse of political antisemitism cannot be left and it is the duty of us all, including Muslim communities, to stand up and challenge it where we find it.

“Protecting the dignity, integrity and well-being of our Jewish brothers and sisters is the right thing to do and also means protecting the space where other diverse communities can flourish. We stand with them, as Muslims at this time.”

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