Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner: refugees crisis needs a coordinated response

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner called for a coordinated international response to the refugee crisis on a joint mission to Calais with Imam Qari Muhammad Asim MBE, Imam at Leeds Makkah Mosque.

You can read more about the visit to Calais in the Jewish News including a report from Gabriel Pogrund who visited Calais with Rabbi Janner-Klausner and Imam Qari Asim; and a comment piece by Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner appears in this week’s Jewish Chronicle.

The two religious leaders travelled to the ‘Calais Jungle’ On Tuesday and Wednesday, 29 – 30 September. The Calais Jungle is the nickname given to a series of camps in the vicinity of Calais. A film will be produced of their efforts to better understand the situation faced by those in the temporary village. The trip coincided with Sukkot, providing us with a way to engage with the issue of refugees and the fragility of the shelter afforded to those in the Calais Jungle.

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner said: “I admire the resilience and kindness of these people. Many offered to provide us with dinner. They never intended to put down roots like this, but they are in legal limbo. They cannot legally apply for asylum in Britain, but some see no other option. Britain is not an island; we have to be part of a coordinated international response and work with the hundreds of thousands of refugees already in Europe, searching for a sustainable, safe future.

“This does not mean opening our doors unconditionally but it means finding safe and legal ways for asylum seekers already in Europe to have their cases heard. As Jews we have done ourselves proud in the level of solidarity with refugees, but we now need more than sentiment and short-term sticking plasters. We need a long-term legal process”.

Imam Asim said: “It’s heart-wrenching to see people living is such dire conditions. We’re out here to find out why they have travelled up to 6,000 miles to get here. They’re fleeing violence and persecution. We’ve seen signs of torture on some. They’re not economic migrants. They’ve left behind families. Parents don’t want their children growing up in this atmosphere. It’s fantastic that there is so much humanitarian aid but we need a legal solution to the crisis and that requires coordination. The asylum-seeking process needs to be streamlined”.