5th August 2007
The Jewish Chronicle
In his column in last week's Jewish Chronicle ('Muslim Dialogue? Don't bother', JC, 3rd August 2007), Geoffrey Alderman, claimed that:
'Early Islam...preached that Jews (along with Christians) should be put to death.'
This is alarmist nonsense and it is notable that Mr Alderman did not provide any authentic reference to justify his sweeping assertion. In fact, the Qur'an - which Muslims believe to contain the very words of God as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad – makes it clear that while Muslims have a duty to resist those who try to coerce them into abandoning their faith or drive them out of their homes, they also have a duty to pursue just and peaceful relations with those who do not seek to harm them:
"As for those who do not fight against you on account of [your] faith, and neither drive you forth from your homelands, God does not forbid you to show them kindness and to behave towards them with full equity: for, verily, God loves those who act equitably." (al-Qur'an 60:8)
Rather than discouraging dialogue, it is surely important that British Jews and Muslims engage seriously in such endeavours so that we can work together in ridding our communities of the prejudices of anti-semitism and Islamophobia.
Mr Inayat Bunglawala,
Muslim Council of Britain
PO Box 57330,