Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism Spawns New Coalition Led by Irwin Cotler & UK MP's

Maqsood Ahmed, senior adviser on Muslim communities at the British Department for Communities and Local Government, told the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism on Sunday, "Islam and the Koran have been politicized" by extremists and "there's a lack of capacity in the Muslim community [in Britain ]" to hear liberal, tolerant Muslims.

The inability to hear the voices of tolerant Islam "isn't someone else's problem. It's a problem of the Muslim community," Ahmed, one of Britain 's most senior interfaith officials, told the gathering at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.

It is important not to let radicals use the accusation of "Islamophobia" to hide their prejudice, Ahmed continued, but it was also important "to look at how interfaith can prevent Islamophobia."

One of the initiators of a London conference of imams and rabbis in 2006, Ahmed noted that "in Britain, there is a need for mutual partnership between the Jewish and Muslim communities, and this could be facilitated by the infrastructure established by the majority religion, the Church of England."

British MP Jonathan Mann, overseer of the UK Report on Antisemitism also participated in this international conference.

Hear him speak in Arutz Sheva's coverage of this story from 2:30 - 5:30 into their report.

The Forum heard the announcement of the launch of a new international coalition of governments and NGOs intended to combat anti-Semitism and a new scholarly organization intended to advance the study of the "oldest hatred."

The International Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (ICCA) was announced Sunday evening by Canadian MP Irwin Cotler and British MP Jon Mann. The organization will fill what many anti-racism activists see as a gap in international efforts to coordinate the many organizations and government initiatives worldwide dealing with anti-Semitism to bring "a critical mass of inquiry and advocacy" to the issue worldwide, according to Cotler.

"We're witnessing a new, global, virulent and even lethal anti-Semitism without parallel or precedent since World War II," said Cotler of the initiative. "It is not only essential to sound the alarm, but it's time to act."

The ICCA will deal with two forms of anti-Semitism, Cotler told The Jerusalem Post. The "most benign form" is the escalation of anti-Semitic hate crimes in Europe and elsewhere, Holocaust denial, the singling out of Israel and boycotts of Jews and Israeli nationals. Anti-Semitism's "lethal form," he continued, "is state-sanctioned incitement to genocide, with its epicenter in Ahmadinejad's Iran and including terrorist movements which have genocide as their objective, anti-Semitism as their ideology and terrorism as their instrument."

"We must now concern ourselves specifically with anti-Semitic terrorism, in which Jews are targeted as Jews," Cotler added.

In announcing the new initiative with Cotler, Mann called for the Global Forum to be held in London next year.

Of combating anti-Semitism, Mann said: "The question for everyone here and for elected politicians is this: 'If not me, then who? If not now, then when?' The question is not 'what would I have done?' The question is 'what will I do?'" (Source: The Jerusalem Post).

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