A group of Jews joined a demonstration outside Downing Street yesterday to highlight the threat facing minorities in Iraq from Islamic State jihadists.
Members of Harif, the association for Jews from the Middle East and North Africa, were part of a 500-strong protest organised by Solidarity Against Isis (the previous name of Islamic State).
"We are here to stand in solidarity with persecuted minorities in the Arab and Muslim world," Harif co-founder Lyn Julius said." As we all know, Jews are tragically no strangers to genocide. The Jewish community, one of the oldest, was the first to be ethnically cleansed from Iraq. As the saying goes,"first the Saturday people, then the Sunday people. " What begins with the Jews never ends with them."
They called for action to protect the Yazidis and Assyrian Christians fleeing Islamic State terror in Iraq and to strengthen the Kurds resisting the jihadists.
Mrs Julius said, “We are also here because we owe a debt of gratitude to the Kurdish people. Kurds helped smuggle over the border Jews escaping from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, and saved many Jewish lives."
In a statement issued earlier this week, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis offered his "full, unreserved support to the Christian and Yazidi communities in Iraq, who are suffering at the hand of those who distort Islam and in its name bring death, destruction and misery. As we are witnessing in Iraq and elsewhere, the denial of freedom of religion in such a brutal manner is antithetical to everything we stand for.”
He added: “We must recognise the threat that this extremism poses to us everywhere and accept our collective responsibility to boldly confront and oppose it.”