Rabbis urge religious leaders ‘take the lead’ on tackling radicalisation

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Rabbis urge religious leaders ‘take the lead’ on tackling radicalisation

European and American Jewish leaders tell security chiefs in Munich, that extremism must be taken on by religious communities

Left to right at the conference: Sergey Kislyak , Mrs. Tzipi Livni, Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, Mr. Steven Erlanger, Mr. Amos Gilead, and Mr. Ronen Bergman
Left to right at the conference: Sergey Kislyak , Mrs. Tzipi Livni, Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, Mr. Steven Erlanger, Mr. Amos Gilead, and Mr. Ronen Bergman

European rabbis and American Jewish groups have told international security chiefs that religious leaders “must take the lead” in tackling radicalisation on the continent and beyond.

The comments were made at the Munich Security Conference by the head of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) during an event which made world headlines after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Iran “do not test us”.

CER president Pinchas Goldschmidt was speaking about countering religious radicalism at a conference event jointly hosted by the World Jewish Congress, which looked at “the growing trend of home-grown terrorists, raised in western countries who, following a radicalisation process, go on to commit heinous acts of terror”.

Goldschmidt said: “We believe that religious communities must take the lead in countering radicalisation. Religious leaders are best placed to identify possible radicalisation and inform the relevant authorities. They are the only people who have the ability to provide a moderate voice to counter extremism.”

The conference was attended by the foreign ministers of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, but it was Turkey’s President Mateusz Morawiecki who upset Jewish representatives, when he was asked about Poland’s new ‘Holocaust law,’ which criminalises reference to ‘Polish death camps’ or Polish complicity.

Morawiecki admitted that there were Polish perpetrators who perpetrated crimes but added: “Just as there were Jewish perpetrators, Russian perpetrators and Ukrainian perpetrators and not just German perpetrators.”

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