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Progressive Judaism statement on tackling extremism

Over the last months, we have seen a worrying rise in antisemitism in this country. Many Jews are expressing heightened fear about our safety. We are grateful for the support of government, communal organisations, police and volunteers who work for the security of our people, institutions and places of worship.

Many in our communities are also concerned about the future of our relationships with others and the society that we will live in after the current crisis has ended. There has been an increase in Islamophobia, and this is our concern, too. When we speak with Muslim friends and colleagues, we recognise that they express similar concerns about their safety and community cohesion.

Progressive Judaism is clear that we cannot solve these problems by creating more conflict.

This is why we welcome the recent intervention of the Archbishop of Canterbury and agree with his analysis that labelling a multi-faceted problem as hateful extremism may vilify the wrong people and risk further division.

It is vital that the approach the UK takes to tackle extremism does not disproportionally target Muslim communities, pit communities against each other or make it harder to have conversations between faiths and different parts of society.

The solution to our concerns is not to shut down our connections. It is to invest more in relationships between our communities and those organisations that can facilitate and support these.

Only by being around the table with each other, even – and especially – where we disagree, and by talking and working together, can we all be part of building not just a short-term solution, but long-lasting community cohesion.

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