Salahuddin Barakat och Moshe David HaCohen at the offices of Islamakademin in Malmö,
. Salahuddin Barakat och Moshe David HaCohen at the offices of Islamakademin in Malmö, Credit: Richard Orange / Sveriges Radio

Meet the rabbi and imam fighting antisemitism in Malmö

7:12 min

Malmö's Islamakademin, or Islam Academy, is perhaps not the first place you'd expect to meet an orthodox Rabbi. But Moshe David HaCohen has been working closely with the Academy's founder Salahuddin Barakat for three months now on their project, called Amanah.

The word means "trust" and "faith" in both Hebrew and Arabic and the two men, both bearded and both wearing skullcaps, plan to work together to combat antisemitism and Islamophobia.

They want to build trust and faith between the Jewish and Muslim communities in Sweden by looking at religious traditions.

For example, last week Amanah held a joint session in Malmö's Moriska Paviljongen on the prophet Abraham and how the two religions differ over which son God asked him to sacrifice.

Antisemitism has been widely discussed in Malmö since the Simon Wiesenthal Centre issued a travel advisory warning Jews to exercise "extreme caution" before travelling to the city. Orthodox Jews in the city complain they frequently face open abuse in the city, particularly over the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The mutual suspicion between Muslims and Jews in Malmö runs too deep to be solved in just a few months, but seeing an imam and a rabbi working so closely together may help both communities make a start.

Barakat tells Radio Sweden that teenagers seem to be reacting positively when the two pay visits to schools.

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