A former student from Pembroke has been attacked after attending a pro-Israel rally in London, despite the presence of mounted police.
Daniel Lowe, the founder of MuJewz, an Oxford society which aims to promote Muslim-Jewish dialogue, was set upon by two men of Asian appearance as he went to visit friends immediately after the rally.
He said, “they asked where I had been. When I told them it was none of their business, they punched me in the head, pushed me to the ground and kicked me.”
He described one of his attackers as wearing a Palestinian flag on his jacket and the other wearing a Keffiyeh – a traditional Palestinian headscarf.
Anne Irfan, social secretary of MuJewz told Cherwell that MuJewz “strongly condemns violence which is racially or religiously motivated.” Co-president of the Oxford Jewish Society, Raphael Cohen, agreed. He said, “attacking someone because of their beliefs is completely unacceptable. The incident involving Daniel Lowe emphasises the fact that moderates on both sides of the debate should assert themselves and raise their calls for peace and tolerance.”
In a letter written to the Jewish Chronicle, the MuJewz committee commented that they were “deeply saddened” by the incident. They said, “nobody should suffer physical violence or verbal abuse for peaceably expressing their political opinions.”
A spokesman for the Community Security Trust, a group which provides physical security, training and advice for the protection of British Jews, commented, “there has been a totally unprecedented wave of anti-Semitic incidents over the past few weeks. This is of great concern to the Jewish Community. Debate is one thing but bringing the actual conflict onto our streets with racist attacks is to be condemned outright.”
Shahnaz Ahsan, Director of Mujewz, commented that to her knowledge there have been no reports of anti-Semitic violence in Oxford and that many communities “both nationally and locally have been very vocal against anti-Semitic violence.”
Despite this, there is recognition among students that there is a need to promote interfaith in Oxford. “MuJewz has been running successfully in Oxford for 5 years. By no means is our work complete, but we have been successful in our endeavours to promote interfaith in Oxford and will continue to do so.”