Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) was delighted to see the friendship and solidarity extended to the Masjid Al-Salaam mosque by the Beth Israel Synagogue in Peterborough, Ontario, following an arson attack on the mosque.
In the wake of attacks in Paris, there has been a surge in hateful attacks and incitement targeting Canadian Muslims. Such responses must be seriously condemned and actively countered. We commend the Beth Israel Synagogue for not merely condemning this attack, but for taking action in solidarity with the local Muslim community by offering them a place to pray, and helping to raise the funds needed to repair the mosque.
This initiative is especially welcomed in light of the Canadian Jewish establishment’s history of fomenting Islamophobia in Canada, rather than working in solidarity with Canadian Muslims. From conflating Islam with Palestinian rights as a means of deepening fears and shoring up knee-jerk support for Israel within the mainstream Jewish community, to being completely silent in the face of the Conservatives’ fear-mongering and incitement in the recent election campaign, the Canadian Jewish establishment has set a poor example for Canadian Jews to follow.
We hope that the actions of Beth Israel Synagogue will set a positive example for all Canadians to follow in our relations with one another, especially within the current climate of increased Islamophobia.