The Swedish city of Malmö has bestowed its Human Rights Award on a rabbi and an imam who have been working together to bridge the gap between the city’s large Muslim population, the Jewish community and the general society.
Rabbi Moshe David Hacohen and Imam Salahuddin Barakat established Amanah: The Jewish-Muslim Faith and Trust Project in 2017. Since then, they have been working together relentlessly organising joint projects as well as touring Malmö’s schools and addressing the students.
Regular events include joint holiday celebrations and Beit Midrash/Madrassah joint study sessions – the terms refer to the traditional Hebrew and Arabic words for study hall – covering texts that are meaningful for both faiths.
About a third of the 300,000 residents of Malmö are Muslim ands around 1,200 Jews live in the city.
Working against discrimination and racism, specifically antisemitism and Islamophobia, is one of the organisation’s principal goals.
Barakat heads Malmö Muslim Network, an organisation representing the majority of Muslim organisations in city. Since he and Hacohen have started working together they have often spoken up and condemned antisemitic episodes and attacks.
The rabbi and the imam were awarded the prize that entails funding for SEK 50,000 – about 5,000 euros by the mayor of Malmö Katrin Jammeh Stjernfeldt in a ceremony that took place on December 19th.
“We are very proud that Amanah has been chosen for Malmö City’s Prize for Human Rights. It is wonderful that through the unique partnership between the Muslim and Jewish communities, this city, which has been known for its’ challenges, has come forward to serve as a beacon of light in forming bridges and trust through working together against any act of discrimination,” Hacohen told The Jerusalem Post.
“This is an important statement by the city not only for our own minority communities but for the entire society – that we must move forward to create a future in which each person can be appreciated for who they are and what they have to contribute to society,” he added.