On 16th January 2009, the Quilliam Foundation issued the following press release:
More than 20 prominent British Muslims have signed a joint letter denouncing recent anti-Semitic attacks in Britain and calling on Muslims to help prevent attacks on Jews in the UK. The letter is being circulated widely and has been sent to the majority of British mosques.
The letter comes as Jewish organizations in the UK and throughout Europe report a significant rise in anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish individuals, Jewish-owned property and synagogues in recent weeks.
The letter’s signatories include internationally renowned Imams, writers, academics and community activists. The signatories also include members of all major Islamic groupings including Deobandis, Barelwis, Salafis, Shias and Sufis.
The letter said:
‘’The ongoing killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza by Israeli forces has angered us all. However, this does not, and cannot, justify attacks on our fellow citizens of Jewish faith and background here in Britain.”
Usman Raja, a former supporter of jihadist groups and now a martial arts trainer and a youth-worker tackling Islamist extremism, said:
“On the streets the outrage among the Muslim youth is reaching fever-pitch. Attacks on perceived Jewish targets are on the increase and we can’t let this continue.
“For centuries, the relationship between Muslim and Jews has been a relationship of family. It is unfortunate that only in the last few decades we have seen political circumstances combine to tear this family relationship apart.
“We urgently need to re-humanise our relationships with the Jewish people. We can’t allow conflicts in the Middle East to create barriers between us and our fellow citizens.”
Copies of the letter are being sent to approximately 1,200 mosques and Islamic centres around the UK. All the signatories have signed the letter in their personal capacities.