update deskAntisemitism

Manchester mosque apologizes for antisemitic abuse of rabbi

“We regret what has happened,” said the Masjid Bilal Islamic Center. 

Worshippers attend Friday prayers at Manchester Central Mosque in Manchester, northwest England on May 26, 2017. Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images.
Worshippers attend Friday prayers at Manchester Central Mosque in Manchester, northwest England on May 26, 2017. Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images.

A Manchester mosque has issued an official apology after a Jewish Conservative Party candidate it had invited to speak was called a “snake” by bigoted hecklers. 

After Rabbi Arnold Saunders, the Conservative candidate in the Bury South parliamentary district of Manchester, spoke at the Masjid Bilal Islamic Centre in Prestwich, he was harassed by several individuals in an incident captured on video.

“The event was well received and the Rabbi was welcomed, and most people present engaged positively with the Rabbi,” read a statement issued by the mosque. “Unfortunately one or two individuals questioned the Rabbi in a hostile manner and this clip has been widely circulated. This clip was recorded by one of the individuals himself.”

The video shows a man demanding Saunders “condemn the IDF” before being told “nobody wants you here, leave” and “you justified children to be murdered … when you are with your own people these are the things you say, then you come here and smile like a snake.” 

The mosque said Saunders “was treated inappropriately and disrespectfully. Any genuine political questions should have been raised respectfully.” 

Expressing regret for the insults, the mosque stated it had “already apologized to the Rabbi for how he was treated and wish to extend our apologies to others who have seen the clip and are upset by it.”

On Thursday, Saunders lost his race by 9,000 votes to Labour Party candidate Christian Wakeford.

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