Over 50 leaders of Jewish and Muslim communities in Europe assembled Monday in Brussels for a meeting organized by American organizations to discuss initiatives on improving relations between the two communities.
As part of the opening ceremony, British imam Abduljalil Sajid said a prayer and mentioned the victims of the devastating forest fire in Israel, in which 42 people were killed, and over 17,000 people were evacuated from their homes.
The event, the first of its kind, was co-organized by New York-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU), the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and the European Jewish Congress (EJC).
Rabbi Marc Schneier, FFEU President and WJC Vice President, said the meeting was “a promising beginning,” and stated that he hoped that the movement would spread across Europe, adding that the two religious communities “must restrain the radicals within our own ranks and make sure they don’t gain the upper hand.”
President of the European Jewish Congress Moshe Kantor said “Pointing the finger at the other side and accuse it of being the root cause of all evil on this planet may be easy and convenient, but most of the time it is wrong – and counter-productive.”
The leaders also discussed call for cooperation regarding further steps that will ensure that Jews and Muslims would be able to practice their religions fully, and to help protect new immigrants who are threatened by hatred and xenophobia.
Representatives from the U.S. also attended the European conference.