As tensions rise in the Middle East, mosque groups in the Netherlands are calling for tolerance from their congregations, specifically for Jewish "brothers of the holy book," according to Dutch weekly magazine Elsevier. The Council of Mosques and the Union of Moroccan Mosques Netherlands expressed their concern about recent incidents of anti-Semitism most likely connected to emotions running high about the current Gaza conflict.
A spokesman for the mosque groups told Elsevier that they weren't trying to ban criticism of Israel. However, those criticisms "should not be a license for anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim statements or actions." According to the NL Times, the Council of Mosques is a coalition of mainly Turkish mosques.
Muslims consider the faiths of Christianity and Judaism to be "people of the book," united by a common belief in the Abrahamic god. By appealing to religious commonalities, the mosque leaders hope to stem some of the local hostilities ignited by the volatile conflict. The NL Times reported that the spokesperson said that "all mosques in The Netherlands are in agreement about a course of action that will speak to a relationship of brotherhood between Islam and Judaism, the Qur’an and the Torah."
Interfaith relations all over the world are being strained by the current conflict. Interfaith activist Imam Shamsi Ali told Huffington Post reporter Jaweed Kaleem that the current situation in Israel and Palestine poses a real challenge to dialogue. "It's the 800-pound elephant in the room when we [Muslims and Jews] get together," he said. "We can't be hijacked by our emotions. We can't throw fire on fire."