Rabbi Tory candidate branded ‘child killer’ after being invited to mosque

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Rabbi Tory candidate branded ‘child killer’ after being invited to mosque

Rabbi Arnold Saunders, standing for the Tories in Bury South, was visiting the Bilal Mosque in Prestwich when a worshipper confronted him.

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Rabbi Arnie Saunders at mosque visit
Rabbi Arnie Saunders at mosque visit

A rabbi and Tory parliamentary candidate has been accused of “smiling like a snake” and supporting the murder of children in Gaza after being confronted by a man inside a mosque.

Rabbi Arnold Saunders, standing for the Tories in Bury South, was visiting the Bilal Mosque in Prestwich when a worshipper confronted him.

Footage posted online shows the man aggressively shouting: “Don’t come to the house of Allah and try to engage with us when we know that when you’re in your own places you’re saying it is good that they kill the children.”

As stewards protected Saunders, the man continued to shout insults, and at one point accused him of supporting children being murdered in Gaza before adding “when you are with your own people these are the things you say, and when you come here you smile like a snake and say Muslim immigration is OK.”

The Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester condemned the incident, which took place on June 21, adding: “Rabbi Saunders is a much respected communal figure and we unequivocally condemn his treatment in this video. It is unquestionably antisemitic and we expect action to be taken.

“The incident occurred following an invitation by the mosque to meet their congregants. As an organisation we were delighted to invite and welcome members from the mosque to our hustings. The fact he has been attacked emphasises how individuals are importing the tragic conflict taking place in Israel and Gaza onto the streets of the UK.”

Christian Wakeford, standing for Labour in Bury South, also joined the condemnation, saying:”Both Bilal Mosque and Rabbi Saunders have undertaken many years of progressive interfaith work which is in stark contrast to this individual’s behaviour which is totally unacceptable.

“We get nowhere in the world without dialogue and this is not representative of Bury South. ”

Wakeford added:”Despite political disagreements myself and Rabbi Saunders have always had an excellent relationship and I hope he is ok following this incident.”

The Board of Deputies also issued a statement urging “all who care about the health of our democracy to call out this bigotry”.

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