Four key leaders spoke to Mosaic Reform on 10 January about problems faced by the Jewish community, how all religious groups in Harrow are protected by the police and the interaction between our community and those around us, as Philip Silverton explains.
Addressing these issues at the synagogue were Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews; Mark Gardner, Director of Communications at the Community Security Trust; Chief Inspector Alison Darke of the Metropolitan Police and Fiyaz Mughal OBE, Founder and Director of Faith Matters.
Jonathan Arkush said that not as much coverage was given to the majority of Muslims as to the extreme radical Islamist groups and that he was continuing his dialogue with Muslim communities.
Mark Gardner noted that in the UK we have the freedom to lead a Jewish life and have good relationships with the police and mainstream faith groups. He also noted that joint initiatives between Jewish and Muslim communities are developing in a very healthy way. He stressed that groups that appear to bridge the void between the far left and extreme right were using anti-Zionist terminology to veil their anti-Semitic message, especially in places of higher education.
Alison Darke said there was a dedicated team of officers that visited all community and religious centres four times each day. She talked about The ‘Prevent’ initiative, particularly working to tackle radicalisation in secondary schools. One issue mentioned is that some younger Muslims perceive the programme is aggressively ‘out to get them’ rather than safeguarding them from being radicalised and marginalised.
Fiyaz Mughal spoke about the wide range of influences being felt from the fifty seven different Muslim councils in the UK. They have an organisation, based on and working with the advice of CST, tackling the security implications of extremist and anti-Semitic groups. His Faith Matters team are focussed on promoting safety for British Muslims particularly recognising the worrying recent events (for both Jews and Muslims) in mainland Europe.
The evening was chaired by Michael Reik, Mosaic Reform’s representative on the Board of Deputies.