Unfortunately, in our liberal democratic and pluralistic society there are people spreading hate and acting inhuman. In this connection we observe the following social ills:

Anti-Semitism in our society – current examples

  • about 1500 registered anti-semitic cases of delinquency a year (among them 34 bodily injuries)
  • bullying of Jewish pupils as well as threats and assaults against them, committed by Muslim class mates
  • attacks on people wearing the Jewish Kippah in the Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg, as we heard of a short time ago
  • on the occasion of the „Echo“ music award going to the rappers Kollegah and Farid Bang despite their anti-semitic song texts.

Islamophobia in our society – current examples

  • about 1000 registered cases of islamophobia a year (among them 42 bodily injuries)
  • the existence of an openly islamophobic political party within the German parliament Bundestag
  • attac on females wearing head scarves in the Berlin district of Spandau, as we heard of a short time ago
  • the way the media are dealing with Islam and the Muslims, very often generating stereotypes, lack of differenciation and putting focus on negative aspects.

We want to work against these social ills!

With regard to this we consider it very important not to play one minority off against the other. Our approach works exactly the other way around: we invite Jewish and Muslim people to campaign together in order to fight against those ills, with the support of the general society.

For: Muslim leaders are well aware of the anti-semitic problem among Muslims in Germany. These leaders repetedly make their position clear by words as well as by actions, for example when they go and visit school classes in order to speak out against anti-semitism and against all forms of hatred and violence, when they visit classrooms, in the framework of our meet2respect project.

We are convinced: it is particularly worthwhile and it’s making sense that imams and leaders of mosque communities whose members have roots in Arabic countries show exactly this commitment. This should be appreciated and be paid tribute to by the public and the media. However, if the general response of political, social and media circles consists in allegations, over-simplifications and marginalisations with regard to Muslims, we do consider this inadequate and counterproductive. The integration of Muslims will not be enhanced by making them believe that their faith would make them untrustworthy and that their social commitment is not being appreciated as much as the personal commitment of their fellow citizens.

For that reason: in the framework of our meet2respect tandem tour we are giving Muslims the opportunity to clearly speak up against anti-semitism, thus giving an example. By participating, Jewish people can show that they are not willing to get played off against other minorities and that they refuse to flatly condemn Islam and Muslims. At the same time it will be possible for the general public and the media to get a non-stereotype picture of Islam and Muslims. We are asking them to convey this picture and this message instead of reproducing just flat old prejudices.

And finally, all those wanting to stand up against the above ills will be provided the chance to join our tour on their private bike showing solidarity with our Jewish and Muslim fellow citizens.

Riding our bikes in the same direction, rallying against anti-semitism and Islamophobia!

With our meet2respect tandem tour „Riding our bikes in the same direction, rallying against anti-semitism and Islamophobia“ we continue the tandem tour from spring 2015 with imams and rabbis, which was organized in cooperation with Initiative Clevere Städte. By then, 10 jewish-muslim bicylces tandems participated, who were followed by around 500 cyclists. Jewish and muslim citizens are still being marginalized by majoritarian society. And also amongst each other the relationship is under tension due to different events. We want to take a stand against this and show a peaceful together.

The following video by Auswärtiges Amt (Federal Foreign Office) will give you some impressions from our tandem tour in 2015:

meet2respect-Tandemtour 2015

Imams and rabbis riding the same tandem bike – symbol of leisure, fun and solidarity – has an effect on young Muslims by showing them that Islam, as it is seen by their religious leaders, does not allow anti-semitism nor, generally speaking, any sign of discrimination, mobbing or even violence to the detriment of people of different faith. These young Muslims will understand that these imams have no reservations against rabbis and that they maintain a good and open relationship showing this publicly.

Also, with a view to dissipate prejudices, fear and criticism concerning Islam and Muslims in our majoritarian society and in the Jewish community, we consider our tour on tandem bikes an important signal. All participants may join the project in order to set a sign against generalizations, over-simplifications and double standards when it comes to talk about Muslims.