The Divergence of Judaism and Islam. Interdependence, Modernity, and Political Turmoil

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Jews and Muslims “Downunder”: Emerging Dialogue and Challenges · 107

decline in attitudes toward Jews. The younger age groups are only slightly
less prejudiced toward Jews than the older Australians.^30
In analyzing the reasons for the increasing number of attacks on the
Jewish communities, two main groups seem to be involved: the national-
ist right-wing racists, who also attack the Muslim community, and the
radical Muslims. To date, very few arrests have been made in relation
to attacks on the Jewish community. However, the arrest of two key fig-
ures, Jack van Tongeren, white supremist and leader of the neo-Nazi
Australian Nationalist Movement (ANM) in Western Australia, and the
Muslim convert Jack Roche illustrates the groups’ fermenting hatred. Van
Tongeren was arrested and imprisoned for an arson attack on an Asian
restaurant, while Roche was arrested for conspiring to attack the Israeli
embassy in Canberra and a key Melbourne Jewish figure, Chabad Rabbi
Yossi Gutnick. Roche cooperated with the authorities and only served a
short period in prison. However, his plans showed that Muslim radicals
do not distinguish between Jewish and Israeli leaders and institutions
when planning their targets.

Anti-Jewish Feelings among Muslims

The fact that Arab Muslims have been less successful in integrating at
every level of Australian society—economically, culturally, educationally,
and socially—creates resentment, especially among younger Muslims.
This resentment has been heightened by the anti-American feelings en-
gendered by the Iraq war, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the belief
in the power of the Jewish lobby. One outcome of this is that, as in other
parts of the world, Muslims have themselves fostered ethnic hatred and
support of jihad. Taj al-Din al Hilaly, mufti of Australia until 2007, has
made a number of problematic and anti-Semitic statements. In 1988, in
a speech at the University of Sydney entitled “Islam and Judaism: Can
They Co-exist?” he said that Jews were “the underlying cause of all
wars.”^31 Over the years Hilaly has continued to ferment ethnic tension
and opposition to western values. In addition to Hilaly, there are a num-
ber of home-grown Australian imams who have radicalized by them-
selves, largely due to exposure to the Wahhabi philosophy sponsored
from Saudi Arabia and also to the Egyptian Salafi movement. Saudi Ara-
bia funds many Australian Muslim schools and institutions.^32 Bernard
Lewis claims that such schools are established in order to “promote their

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