Paris Rabbi Leads Jewish-Muslim "Friendship Tour" of Inner-City

April 24, 2006

Source: European Jewish Press

On April 24, 2006 the European Jewish Press reported, "Paris Rabbi Michel Serfaty has strengthened his battle for inter-religious dialogue with a first Jewish-Muslim friendship tour of the infamous inner-city suburbs of Paris. The friendship bus started its route on Friday in Corbeil-Essones and reached two other Paris suburbs in the afternoon. Rabbi Serfaty, and some Jewish and Muslim volunteers set up their big cardboard sign calling on passers-by to help them 'build the Jewish-Muslim friendship' while handing out leaflets. 'I was surprised when I read the sign, but it was a good surprise,' said Farihane Larabi, a young Muslim student, wearing a headscarf who came across the friendship bus in Corbeil. 'I support the rabbi’s initiative, which I just discovered. I think this is exactly what we need today, when "Islamophobia" and anti-Semitism are on a rise.' Although the initiative struck a chord with many people, several young Muslim men were seen criticising the friendship tour, saying Muslims shouldn’t collaborate with the 'Zionists'. But Larabi disagreed. 'The part that surprised me most,' she said, 'is when I convinced some of the young men that dialogue with Jews was a good thing. I made a difference. I think that’s the best part of my day.'"