On July 5, the six-day Muslim-Jewish ‘interfaith dialogue’ conference concluded in Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia-Herzegovina. This was the fourth annual conference held by the so-called Muslim-Jewish Conference, a Vienna-based advocacy group, founded by Austrian Jew Ilja Sichrovsky, 30, and is funded mainly by the Karl Kahane Foundation and the Stanley and Marion Bergman Family Charitable Fund.
Theodor Herzl (Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl), the father of modern Zionism, was also born in Austria in 1860.
The first conference was held in Vienna in 2010, followed by Kiev (2011) and Bratislava (2012). Each year, the Muslim-Jewish Conference selects 100 Muslim and Jewish students from Muslim and European countries, and Israel to discuss the Muslim-Jewish conflicts, such as, Israel-Palestine conflict, Muslim hatred toward Israel and Jews (antisemitism), and the Judeo-Christian hatred of Muslims (Islamophobia). The Muslim-Jewish Conference arranges ‘all expense paid’ trip for the 100 students to the city where conference is being held.
The Muslim-Jewish Conference is backed by Rabbi Andrew Baker, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Personal Representative on Combating Anti-Semitism; Sebastian Kurz, Austrian State Secretary for Integration; Andre Azoulay, Senior Advisor to King Mohammed VI of Morocco; Chief Rabbi David Rosen, long-term Liaison to late Pope Johannes Paul II; Sally Painter, former Senior Advisor to President Clinton; Dr. Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Austria and Slovakia; the City of Bratislava; the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations; the European Union of Jewish Students and the World Union of Jewish Students.
The Muslim-Jewish Conference makes sure that the venue of its annual conference must have a ‘Holocaust Museum’. The students are taken to tour the museum in order to brainwash the next generation of Muslims how the Jewish communities had been victimized by the non-Jewish communities. The students learn how the Nazis aka Frankist Jews murdered six million Jews in Europe. In order to escape a future Holocaust, the European Jews had no other alternative but to occupy an Arab land, which for some unknown reasons, the G-d of Bible had promised them a few centuries ago.
This year, the participants were selected from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Muslims from EU nations, and Jews from Israel, the US, Canada and EU nations.
Itai Reuveni, an Israeli participants got published his views of the conference at the Jewish FORWARD magazine on August 5, 2013.
“The MJC has become a platform for coexistence and peace, which allowed me to present the Jewish-Zionist perspective to young Muslims. For this reason, Zionist activists – from the political left and right – must be more involved in initiatives promoting dialogue, and not leave them to groups and individuals who are more interested in feeding the conflict. In Israel, the Arab-Israeli conflict is prominent in all public discourse, and it is practically impossible to have a dialogue without it being the focus. However, it is still possible to learn from initiatives that have not been infected with a radical agenda, to try to bring people closer together, and to stop fanning the flames of hatred and alienation inside Israel, and between Israel and its neighbors. The true challenge is to bring those furthest apart closer together,” he wrote.
On July 5, the Jewish Week published an interview with Ilja Sichrovsky. Ilja Sichrovsky’s father Peter Sichrovsky is an Austrian politician, author and former member of European Union. Ilja Sichrovsky told the Jewish bigot Steve Lipman that there are more than 400,000 Muslims in Austria – and they don’t hate Jews – but do criticize Israel’s policies.
“I have experienced anti-Semitism in many forms in Austria, but these experiences have always been with right-wing Austrians or Nazi supporters. I never experienced Muslim anti-Semitism in Austria; wearing a kipa is not a problem in areas where there is a strong Muslim population,” said Sichrovsky.
Strangely, most of these right-wing Austrians or Nazi supporters, such as, English Defence League, European Defence League, etc. also support Israel against Palestinians.
Ilja Sichrovsky says he receives support from Jew on individual basis but “the Jewish community leaders reacted differently, there is no support whatsoever”.
“Although I admire the work my father did, it was not what motivated me to get active in Muslim-Jewish relations. It is simply the experience that I was so wrong in my picture of “the other“,” said Sichrovsky.
No doubt, there are several common grounds between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Islam reaffirms the existence of all biblical prophets – and Holy Qur’an claims they’re all Muslims (Believers in the single Creator: Allah). However, Jews don’t believe Jesus (as) or the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) being Messangers of God. Christians, too, don’t accept Muhammad (pbuh) as a Messanger of God.
A great majority of Jews don’t follow Torah (Old Testament). They follow Talmud, written by rabbis over 100 years after the ‘Crucification’ of Jesus (as). However, in recent years, Judaism has been replaced by a new religion – the Holocaust. Until the 18th century, European Jewish communities used to seek refuge in Muslim countries to escape persecution at the hands of the Church.
The Arab-hating Jewish Orientalist, Dr. Bernard Lewis in his 1984 book, ‘The Jews of Islam’, called Muslim Spain (711-1492) as the Golden Age of Jews.
I would like to conclude this post by an article written by British Anglican Pastor John Stott (died 2011), entitled ‘The Place of Israel’. Read it here. I bet you will enjoy it.