Earlier this month a Jewish synagogue in Leeds, England was targeted with racist graffiti (a swastika and a racial slur) which moved the local Muslim community to band together and show their support for their Jewish neighbors.
Shahab Adris works for a UK non-profit which fights Islamophobia and says that when he first saw the images of the graffiti, he was disgusted. “Unfortunately it is something we are accustomed to in the Muslim community, and it is the same as a mosque being desecrated with a pig’s head, or similar vile graffiti. I asked around if people would like to come with me, and four of us went with a bunch of flowers to show our support and empathy…. Some of our group had been a bit nervous as they had never been to a synagogue before.” But the men were soon greeted by the rabbi and immediately welcomed into the synagogue. “We spent 40 minutes discussing religion and how we can work together to promote love and peace.”
Harry Brown is a member of the Etz Chaim synagogue, and says he was greatly moved by the gesture from the Muslim men: “I was truly humbled by [the] amazing gesture – the gift of flowers and your support. This is what we want to see, and equally the Jewish community should reach out not only to Muslim faiths but to all other faiths.”