JCC For London Kickstarts Jewish Dialogue With Muslim Council Of Britain
Submitted to: Organisations 
Posted: March 20 2007


March 20 2007 (Jewswire.com) - Following a ground-breaking meeting of the Jewish Community Centre for London (JCC), Jewish and Muslim leaders in London have agreed to meet again soon to identify ways to build grassroot ties between the two communities and consider a number of specific issues for on-going cooperation.

Inayat Bunglawala, Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, and Adrian Cohen, Chair of the London Jewish Forum, shared

a platform for the first time at last night ' s JCC event. The meeting highlighted a number of shared interests across the two

communities such as animal welfare and faith education, as well as the

fight against racism in all its forms.

Addressing his first Jewish community organisation, Mr Bunglawala heaped praise on Jewish faith education saying: "The Muslim community could learn lots from the extremely high standards set by Jewish schools." He pointed out that the two faiths shared " a common theological and monotheistic heritage" , which, he argued, enabled him to take personal pride in Jewish achievements.

He acknowledged the Israel-Palestine conflict and the MCB's decision not to attend Holocaust Memorial Day as the "elephants in the room" in

all Muslim-Jewish dialogue, but argued that they should not obscure other grounds for cooperation between the two communities. He

announced that the MCB were continuing to review their position on HMD.

Mr Cohen responded by pointing out that he and Mr Bunglawala had attended the same school in Ilford. He said " this perfectly illustrates the complex layers of identity and loyalties which are common to Jews and Muslims in Britain. " He added that: " commonality on a permanent two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and a reappraisal of the decision not to participate in HMD would help the process of dialogue between the two communities. "

Joining them on the platform in front of a sell-out audience at the Hampstead Everyman to debate the question "Does more unite Jews and Muslims than divide us?" were Independent newspaper columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Prof David Cesarani of Royal Holloway College.

Nick Viner, Chief Executive of the Jewish Community Centre for London, welcomed the "frank and open discussion" as "only the beginning of what now seems set to be an on-going process of dialogue."

He added:

"The JCC for London is proud to offer a safe place where such difficult discussions can take place both within the community and with others. Bringing together people like this on a single platform is a key role for the JCC and one which we need to continue into the



For further information please call Ben Rich on 07713 509134 or 020

8869 9539 benrich@luther.co.uk

About the Jewish Community Centre for London

The JCC aims to foster and develop an inclusive Jewish community for anyone and everyone who associates with being Jewish, to whatever extent.

It seeks to attract all sorts of Jews of all ages, persuasions and lifestyles, as well as their non-Jewish friends and families, by creating a welcoming environment in which all feel at home.

Rooted in Jewish values, the JCC's social, cultural, educational and recreational programme provides multiple pathways into the richness of Jewish life. In the longer term, it will be able to do this within its own unique building, a meeting place for all those attracted by any aspect of Judaism.


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