Mustafa Field and Rabbi Natan Levy say their friendship is an example of how, as a Muslim and a Jew, they have focused their relationship on what they have in common and hope to set a positive example. Both men work at the Faiths Forum for London, an organization that fosters different religious communities to come together and work with one another.
In this ope-ed for Independent UK, the two men say their organization strives for “good people to create relationships between communities living side by side [to] overcome and break the dangerous cycle of fear and hate.”
Here are some snippets from their op-ed:
From Mustafa Field
We cannot be foolish and pretend that incidences of hate crime are in no way linked to false misinterpretations of Islam. That is why during last year’s terrorist attacks, Muslims like myself felt it was important to take a stand and make clear that Islamist extremism in no way represents our faith or attitudes. We were just as disgusted as everyone else. While some in the community felt we should not have to “defend” ourselves for actions we were in no way responsible for, the majority were proud that we took a stand against this hatred as well as the hatred of the far right. It shows that our experiences are different but there is a common desire to address fear and hate.
From Rabbi Natan Levy
As Jews, we are proud of our faith. When we organise cross-faith activities and members of the Jewish people see that hate is confined to a tiny minority of our country, it is in fact enormously reassuring. Hate crime is on the agenda but that does not make it a normal and accepted part of everyday life. For those of all faiths and none, whatever your race or background, we are all fighting the same battle: to drown out extreme views.