We see ourselves together, fighting together, with our Muslim brothers, who are, want, a free Europe, who want a peaceful Europe, who want to integrate like our forefathers integrated in western Europe 120 years ago, and they are our natural allies.
Prominent Jewish and Muslim religious leaders and officials launched a ground-breaking platform to support religious freedoms for Muslim and Jewish communities across Europe.
The group began their discussions at a workshop held in Vienna on 27 August 2015, hosted by the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID), which now concluded with the formation of the Muslim-Jewish Leadership Council.
The newly-founded Muslim-Jewish Leadership Council, or MJLC, is the first European platform for Muslim leaders and Jewish religious authorities to proactively advocate the protection of religious freedom in Europe.
Information, Education, Hotline The group will also support education, information exchange and coordinate swift responses on a “hot-line” basis for issues that arise locally, nationally or at a European level. The Conference of European Rabbis, Islamic Relief Worldwide, and the Islamic Council for the Federal Republic of Germany launched the MJLC.
Established to promote greater understanding and respect for minority religions, the MJLC will enable information exchange about the local and national communities’ needs, concerns, challenges and the day-to-day experience of living a minority religious identity in Europe.
The Muslim and Jewish communities share a common heritage, and have been connected by many bridges in the past. The Council will serve to build more bridges between and among these communities in future.
Stressing the historical significance of this first common platform for European Muslims and Jews, Ibrahim El-Zayat, past chairman of Islamic Relief Worldwide, a co-convener of the Council, stated that “the MJLC is urgently needed as we see repeated attempts to curtail the religious freedoms of certain minorities. As religious believers, we have to support the religious freedoms of minority religious communities. History also tells us that when one community’s rights are constrained, soon other communities will face similar restrictions in the future. When we advocate together, we can always preserve our rights. When we remain isolated, we lose the right to practice our faith in full”.
Detailing the MJLC’s goals, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, MJCL co-convener, the President of the Conference of European Rabbis and Chief Rabbi of Moscow, said that the Leadership Council will “serve as a source of authoritative information about the juridical basis of our religious practices. We can develop innovative and creative approaches to sustainably practice our religious values. Through outreach and advocacy the Leadership Council wants to win the trust and support of young people and offer them a path that allows them to thrive in Europe and to lead fulfilled lives of faith.”
Statement on the Refugee Crisis in Europe
On the day of the Council’s foundation, the Muslim-Jewish Leadership Council issued its first statement: The refugees entering Europe urgently need shelter and support. We commend the many private initiatives by individuals, religious communities and other groups that are actively providing refugees material and social support. For its part, the Muslim-Jewish Leadership Council will coordinate and mobilize resources within its networks to offer support for refugees in Europe. We urge European policy-makers to undertake every effort to ensure refugees’ safety.