British Jews, Muslims teaming to help Syrian refugees


(JTA) — Jewish and Muslim religious leaders in Britain have formed an alliance to call on the government to accept more Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war.

The leaders, backed by the community organizing group Citizens UK, will use next week’s Jewish festival of Sukkot to lobby 15 local councils to each offer sanctuary to 50 Syrian refugees a year, the British daily the Mirror reported.

Rabbi Danny Rich, the chief executive of Liberal Judaism in the United Kingdom, noted to the newspaper that spending time in a temporary dwelling place is the main ritual of Sukkot and it is tradition to welcome visitors there.

“There are thousands of refugees from Syria living in temporary conditions because they can’t live anywhere else because their homes have been destroyed,” he said.

“Jews are a people who know what it is to be refugees, for all the reasons of our history. In those circumstances, it is appropriate that we should try and get local synagogues, mosques and churches to see if we can do something for Syrian refugees.”

Britain has accepted just 50 refugees from Syrian camps, according to the Mirror.

“We need all those who have experience of such causes to support us,” Nebal Istanbouly, a Sunni Muslim from Syria, told the newspaper. “We are grateful to Jews that they are working with us. It shows faiths can come together.”


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