One thousand Muslims rallying against anti-Semitism is not a trivial matter; but the real change will come when the silent Muslim majority will be able to act openly and freely.
A Muslim protest against terror and anti-Semitism is welcome thing. Who knows, it might be a turning point. The latest such incident took place in France in the 1990s, when Muslims and Jews marched together in a mass protest against anti-Semitism and against all types of racism. This past Saturday it happened again, this time in Oslo.
The Jews’ situation in Europe is grim. It’s not that all Muslims hold anti-Semitic opinions, and it’s definitely not that all Muslims are violent against Jews. Far from that. Most Muslims are not part of this game. The thing is that too many times in the past decade, including in the past few years, Muslims who tried to act against anti-Semitism became outcasts in their communities.
That was the fate of Mehmet Sahin in Holland, who was amazed to discover that young members of the community he worked in idolize Hitler. He tried to fight anti-Semitism. Eventually, he was forced to flee the community he worked in. It’s the same for Ahmed Mansour, a Palestinian Muslim, who has been fighting anti-Semitism in Germany. His life isn’t easy.
Again, it’s not because of a certain majority. It’s mainly because the radical, Islamist minority controls the communities, and sometimes also the leaderships. When Imam Hassan Chalghoumi preached against radicalism and against anti-Semitism, he was also boycotted by France’s Muslim leadership. Nonetheless, we should remember that he managed to recruit dozens of imams to his movement.
Some 1,000 Muslims participated in the Oslo protest. That’s definitely an impressive number. We should only remember that some of the organizers belong to the hard anti-Zionist core. They are not the innocent and enlightened ones in the group. One of them was among those who accused the Jews of the 9/11 attacks in the United States. He has retracted his words since then.
It’s also possible that some of the protest’s organizers need authorization for their other activities. There’s nothing like a protest against anti-Semitism and terror to turn them into righteous gentiles.
The real change will happen when Sahin in Holland and Mansour in Germany will be able to operate openly and freely. In this sense, the Oslo protest is definitely a move in the right direction, because sometimes, even if the original intentions are not pure, the actual possibility of working in that direction, openly and publicly, is definitely good news.
The Israeli community in Oslo had concerns before Saturday’s event that alongside the expressions against anti-Semitism there would also be blatant anti-Israel statements. One speaker said something against the Israeli policy, and Israel’s Ambassador to Norway Rafi Schutz said in response – and it’s good that he said it – that criticism of Israel that does not engage in demonization is legitimate. Another speaker said that the “events in the Middle East,” a code name for the Israeli-Arab conflict, should not be used under any circumstances as authorization for anti-Semitism.
One protest does not indicate the arrival of spring. There are still anti-Semitic incidents in Europe. The media and the anti-Israel campaign are adding fuel to the anti-Semitic fire. Apartheid Week, another show of racism and anti-Israel incitement, is about to kick off in a few days. And in any event, we must beware an attempt to renounce anti-Semitism in order to deepen the anti-Israel propaganda of horrors and lies.
We should proceed cautiously in regards to this protest, but we should reach out. We must remember that there are occasional incidents of Islamophobia among Jews too which should be condemned. And we should also remember that the protest itself is a change.
We have not seen such an event in years. For many years now, the Muslims have been leading the anti-Semitic events. For many years now, Jews – and not only Jews – have been feeling like strangers in their homelands. For years, the radical Muslim minority has been succeeding in dictating the anti-Semitic atmosphere. So 1,000 Muslims in Oslo are not a trivial matter.
It’s possible that this protest will remain an isolated event. It’s also possible that other Muslim communities in Europe will adopt this direction. Inshallah.
Reprinted with author’s permission from Ynet