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Muslim and Jewish Students Debate Islamophobia and anti-Semitism

14 June 2012 General 21 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

by Habeeb Ali (BikyaMasr)

Toronto, Canada – When I told people that I wanted to organise a speech competition for youth on anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, the most common reaction I received was, “That would be hard.” However in late April 2012, 16 students from Muslim and Jewish schools, as well as public schools, in Toronto came together at the North American Muslim Foundation to participate in the 10th occasion of this annual event.

Despite some initial discouragement, I felt the connections between anti-Semitism and Islamophobia were important. These two issues are often dealt with separately by Muslim and Jewish communities in Canada, but both groups have a great deal to offer each other as they work to overcome prejudice.

As such, my colleagues at the North American Muslim Foundation and I brought together a group of interested young people to address the question: do Jews and Muslims face the same challenges and do these challenges present opportunities for joint solutions?

Many of the participating students talked about personal experiences, such as their synagogues being vandalised with graffiti, or facing increased scrutiny at airports in the post-9/11 era.

Though the experiences were different, many felt that they were speaking with the same voice, only from different religious and cultural perspectives.

One young Muslim competitor described how she came to see criticism for wearing the hijab, or headscarf, in school as an act by one person and not an entire group. A Jewish student agreed, saying that when his synagogue was vandalised with graffiti it wasn’t a statement from the entire community, but a crime by one individual against a community.

A Jewish student reminded an audience of Jews, Christians and Muslims that working for harmony and standing up for religious freedom is every person’s duty.

Another Muslim student, whose experience of Judaism had previously consisted only of negative stereotypes, acknowledged that this speech competition changed her mind. As she reflected on the ways that both communities have struggled with stereotypes, she found common ground in the struggle to overcome them.

Original post: Muslim and Jewish students debate Islamophobia and anti-Semitism


  1. Due perhaps to a media blanket on such things, we never find out who is doing anti Jewish vandalism. There has been an uptick apparently, I would like to know who is doing this.

  2. Division of the populations, is what thr Elite want. Makes us weaker.

  3. masallah!

  4. MasallaH? Is that a word of praise for the attacking of the Jews in US? No wonder we don’t want muslims. How can we import people who think they are entitled to attack our citizens?

  5. anon,

    this is a “muslims against islamophobia” thread , your opinions will definitely sound be more appealing in an islamophobic thread , not here .

  6. Funny there’s only one religion that insists on not getting along. Hmmm, is it the Amish? No… Is it Lutherans? No…

  7. @susan , funny is the way you estimate and grade the people , every belief has some followers who refuse co-existence ! even your “loving” religion

  8. Gee Majid, what religion am I? How would you know?I’m going to assume that YOU assumed that I am a Christian. You are wrong but I am very critical of the Christian religion, I find it second to Islam in trying to force it’s ways on non believers. As for me, I’m a Buddhist so no option of paying the Jizya for me. Not of the book.

  9. Wow Susan,
    The way you quote the Jizyah is proof that u know nothing about it. Its a simple tax. Everyone pays taxes. Perhaps a Robert Spencer fan? And I’m sure u have already read plenty of hadiths out of context. Despite the continuous mention of freedom of religion in the Quran, most of your ppl like to take the Hadiths out of context.

  10. “The way you quote the Jizyah is proof that u know nothing about it. Its a simple tax. Everyone pays taxes”

    Muslims don’t pay jizyah

  11. can u site as in which country r the non-believers paying the jizya in current times?

  12. You don’t know your history, Susan, if you think the history of the adherents of Buddhism was always peaceful.

  13. Thank u Jane u proved my point,
    Yes Muslims pay the “Zakah” relatively the same thing. It’s a tax obligated on all Muslims. Paid once annually to the poor. The Jizyah is of a similar size, paid once annually but the money goes to the government (Im pretty sure every country does that). If the Muslims made the non Muslims pay the Zakah as well, anyone could use a reverse arguement, “Muslims are forcing their belief on non Muslims” Reason u think this: Most ppl (liars) quote 9th chapter of the Quran out of context, not bothering to realize the Muslims fought a war against the pagans of Mecca who violated a peace treaty (by killing a bunch of ppl from a neutral tribe). The Jizyah was payment that the pagans had to give in order for them to demonstrate they would no longer break any further treaties with the Muslims. It was punishment. Considerably less violent then killing everyone.

  14. If you quit diving into the perfect past with its supposedly wonderful ideas, and pay attention to the present problems, you will have some hope of arriving at present solutions.

    Every Sunday now, muslims are attacking churches in Nigeria.

  15. Innara Chad..
    Are they any non believers left alive with equal rights and free to express themselves as you do in here, in these Islamic countries?
    Thanks for your attention.

  16. @Jon, yes. so can u answer my question now?

  17. Jon Von Cleyne you are troll and bigot. So are you getting paid in shekkels , pound, euro? Innara chad dont answer trolls questions or feed them in public. Like most parasites they cling on to host and hope to suck them dry by asking nonsense questions. Best thing to do is dont feed them, they will die on there own.

  18. Innara Chad,

    “can u site as in which country r the non-believers paying the jizya in current times?” no modern islamic state imposes jizah. so are you also against rajm? are u a koran only muslim? you against lashing? how about lending with interest? how about allowing 9 year olds to marry? sincerely hope to hear your answers. troll mike here.

  19. Jon Von, no one can “express” themselves, muslim or non-muslims in those “Islamic countries” NOT because of Islam but thanks to puppet tyrants!

  20. Samantha Chadwick,

    pakistan has a democraticly elected leadership. yet they have one of the worst blasphemy laws in the world. familiar with article XX? the ahmadis aren’t allowed to call themselves muslims.

    “On July 3, 1993 the Supreme Court of Pakistan decided Mujib-ur-Rehman Dard v. Pakistan (the Ahmadi case). (1) In dismissing eight appeals (2) brought by members of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam (Ahmadi Muslims), (3) the Court refused to find ordinance XX of 1984, which severely penalizes Ahmadi Muslims for holding their religious beliefs and practicing their religion, (4) in violation of either Pakistan’s Constitution or international human rights law. The five criminal defendants of this case were returned to jail for of the remainder of their sentences imposed for wearing a religious badge containing the Kallma Tayyaba.”

    “”Can then anyone blame a Muslim if he loses control on hearing, reading or seeing such blasphemous material as has been produced by Mirza Sahib?”” sounds like the judge in pennsilvania would fit right in on the pakistan supreme court?

    guess where the ahmadi leadership relocated to? london.

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