European rabbis boycott religious conference


NEW YORK (JTA) — A European rabbinical group is boycotting a gathering of religious leaders in Brussels to protest the involvement of Islamist organizations.

The Conference of European Rabbis did not send any representatives to the annual conference, which is Monday. It marked the first time that Jewish leaders declined to attend.

The conference is being hosted by the presidents of the European Commission and the European Parliament.

"We do not consider it appropriate that organizations such as the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, or individuals who in the past made, or endorsed, anti-Semitic statements and who are clearly linked to the radical Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood should be present at such gatherings," said Rabbi Aba Duner, the conference’s executive director. 

European officials were disappointed by the rabbinical group’s decision, according to the Jerusalem Post.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the global financial crisis makes this "a time for unity and not for isolation."

The World Jewish Congress endorsed the decision not to attend.

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