Demonstrating the importance of solidarity and proactive engagement, Australian Muslims have been painfully aware of the need to take steps to protect and support the Jewish community against recent rise in Judeophobia towards religious and ethnic Jews, especially in the face of the rising backlash against the Israeli genocide in Gaza.

Australian Muslims are aware that any criticism of Israel’s policies and actions needs to be expressly distinguished from prejudices against religious or ethnic Jews.

Just as similarly, within the Muslim community, criticism directed towards the policies of countries like Iran or Saudi Arabia is not automatically deemed Islamophobic.

This distinction is crucial for constructive political discourse, allowing individuals to evaluate and discuss governmental actions without conflating them with an entire religion or ethnic group.

It is essential to recognise that nations, like any other entities, can be subject to critique based on their decisions and actions, separate from the cultural or religious identities they represent.

The Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) considers that “the conflation of anti-semitism with Israel’s policies and actions ultimately confuses and undermines actual anti-semitism and thereby perpetuates the very thing that the Jewish community is concerned about”, according to ANIC spokesperson Bilal Rauf.

Rauf makes note of organisations like the Jewish Council of Australia, stating, “It is pleasing that there are those from the Jewish community who are increasingly speaking out about the importance of this distinction and the need to confront and call out Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and disregard of law and legal institutions.”

Sarah Schwartz, the founder of the Jewish Council of Australia has said “We founded the Council because many of our Jewish representative organisations fail to represent Jews who are critical of Israel… It is refreshing and essential to see the emergence of new voices committed to challenging and remedying crass and obsolete opinions”.

This understanding fosters a more nuanced conversation between Australian Muslims and Jews, where the focus remains on policy and governance rather than descending into unfair generalisations or biases against a particular faith or its adherents.

Just as it is possible to voice concerns over the actions of any government without harbouring prejudice against its people, engaging in critical discussions about the policies of Israel, Iran, or Saudi Arabia should be viewed through the lens of political analysis rather than religious or ethnic discrimination.

Embracing shared values of compassion, tolerance, and mutual respect, Australian Muslims support efforts that foster harmony and safeguarding the rights of all Australians. We have for decades forged strong interfaith partnerships and engaged in civic activities to promote religious freedom and combat bigotry.

Through joint initiatives and campaigns, Australian Muslims are constant advocates for a social contract that upholds the rights and security of religious minorities, including the Jewish community.

As Bilal Rauf is fond of saying, “We are an emerging generation born and raised in this country who want to make a difference and ensure that our country and society improve for the betterment of everyone, not just a few.”

In Quran 2:62, it is stated: “Indeed, the believers, Jews, Christians, and Sabians—whoever [truly] believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good will have their reward with their Lord. And there will be no fear for them, nor will they grieve.”

This verse emphasises the inclusivity of Islam and recognises the shared spiritual values among believers of different Abrahamic faiths. It underscores the importance of righteous deeds and belief in Allah, affirming that those in other Abrahamic faiths who fulfill these criteria will be rewarded by their Lord in a way that only He knows, despite the differences in their religious backgrounds.

One of the fundamental pillars of this proactive stance is community outreach and education. Through interfaith events, seminars, and workshops, Australian Muslims are engaging in open dialogue to dispel stereotypes, foster empathy, and deepen mutual understanding between Muslim and Jewish communities.

By promoting awareness of each other’s beliefs, traditions, and histories, these initiatives lay the groundwork for building bridges of understanding and solidarity.

Australian Muslims have been leading by example in promoting interfaith understanding and advocating for the safety of our Jewish brethren, through the working of Together for Humanity (with Rabbi Zalman Kastel), and with the Australian Federation of Islamic Council’s representations with the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims and Jews (Imam Dr Amin Hady and the late Jeremy Jones AM).

This also occurs in interfaith gatherings, with examples such as Muslim and Jewish school kids join Interfaith IftarStanding with humanity: A visit to Sydney Jewish MuseumHanukah’s Lights for Muslim and Jewish Children, Sydney’s Muslims, Christians and Jews join “Giving Together Day”, as well as contributions from the Jewish community towards this publication such as Christmas and the Islamic and Jewish values in Hanukah.

Not to mention this author’s collaboration with Dr Herman Roborgh, a long-standing campaigner from within the Church in representing Christianity in interfaith dialogue.

These actions are not only exercised by Muslim community leaders and representatives; they are also being exercised by everyday Muslims. Most importantly, this increasingly includes Muslims who have in the past declined to engage out of fear of “tall poppy syndrome”, but now have been emboldened and invigorated by the deep sense of injustice against the Palestinians.

Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed (The Grand Mufti of Australia) and Sheikh Shadi Alsuleiman (President of ANIC) have actively advocated for policies and initiatives aimed at combating hate speech, addressing discrimination, and enhancing the security of religious institutions and community centres.

Collaborating with law enforcement agencies, community leaders, and interfaith organisations, Australian Muslims are working to implement robust security measures and develop crisis response plans to mitigate potential threats.

In addition to these tangible measures, Australian Muslims are leveraging our voices and social media platforms to condemn Judeophobia rhetoric and challenge stereotypes through media engagement and political advocacy.

By amplifying messages of tolerance, inclusivity, and respect, they are contributing to a culture of acceptance and understanding that transcends religious boundaries.

In the face of rising global tensions and increasing instances of intolerance, the proactive stance of Australian Muslims sends a powerful message of solidarity and unity.

By standing shoulder to shoulder with our Jewish brothers and sisters, we demonstrate a commitment to shared values of peace, justice, and compassion.

As Australia continues to strive towards a society where diversity is celebrated and differences are embraced, Australian Muslims stand together with the desire that these proactive efforts serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration.

Through our unwavering dedication to protecting the rights and safety of all Australians, this effort exemplifies the true spirit of multiculturalism and unity in diversity, which we are proud to uphold as Australians.

(With Zayna Siddiqui and Bilal Cleland).