Yom Sheini, 18 Av 5779
Monday, 19 August 2019
Liberal Judaism statement on the Paris terrorist attacks

By Rabbi Danny Rich
Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism

The tragic terrorist attacks in Paris, first at the magazine Charlie Hebdo and then at the Kosher supermarket, have saddened and shocked us all.

Liberal Judaism fully endorses and supports the statements issued by the organisations to which we are affiliated, including the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council.

I also wanted to offer a particular Liberal Jewish perspective for our members and accordingly draw their attention to two further items.

The first is by the Muslim members of the National Council of Imams and Rabbis, of which I am a member. The statement, which was written by Imams from the UK and abroad, includes advice for those in the Muslim community concerned about the depiction the Prophet Muhammad.

It includes the passage: “As British citizens we must not allow hate to creep into our hearts due to the horrific incidents of Paris. Muslims, non-Muslims and people of all backgrounds must come together and show unity and solidarity and not let it divide our communities. We must remember the statements of the Prophet (peace be upon him) such as: ‘Someone who unjustly kills a non-Muslim citizen cannot attain a whiff of Heaven, even though its fragrance is felt from a distance of forty years. (Bukhari)’, or ‘He who hurts a non-Muslim citizen hurts me, and he who hurts me annoys Allah. (Tabarani)’ and many other similar hadiths highlighting that Muslims are not allowed to hurt their non-Muslim brothers and sisters in humanity.”

Read the statement in full, by visiting https://www.facebook.com/JosephInterfaithFoundation

The second is a sermon from our own Rabbi Lea Mühlstein, of Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue, which can be read at http://www.npls.org.uk/Sermons/5775/Shemot.5775.html

Lea concluded an excellent sermon, by telling her congregants: “Acknowledging our fear, we must not allow ourselves to be ruled by it. We must not be tempted to hide away or withdraw from the non-Jewish society. We must continue to engage with the wider society – openly as Jews, because this is the only way for us to escape the feeling of our isolation.”

In addition Liberal Judaism’s Chairman, Lucian J Hudson, has written a commentary for the Jewish News – which will be published next week.

In the article, Lucian outlines how our own freedoms depend upon defending the freedoms of others.

He writes: “If events of the past week are to teach us anything, it is that what we have to fear most are not the barbs and accusations of lively debate, but those fundamentalists – from every which direction – who seek to impose a deadly silence on us all.

“The correct response to events in France, is not retreat, or to seek to silence our opponents, but to reach out, to engage and to find common ground.”