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World News

Christians offer support as anti-Semitic attacks rise

by Hannah Tooley

Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko, Jewish Deputy Director of the Council of Christians and Jews was commenting after police statistics released on Thursday showed that there has been a significant rise in the number of anti-Semitic hate crimes being reported.

In London alone that figure had more than doubled since 2014, according to figures obtained by the Press Association.

Of those crimes recorded assault, arson and criminal damage featured.

Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko said that it was encouraging to see that Jewish people were more confident in reporting crimes against them.

She told Premier that Christians and the Church had strong role to play in supporting other faith groups and that there had been an out-pouring of support for the Jewish community following the anti-Semitic attack on a Jewish supermarket after the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks in Paris in January.

Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko told Premier's News Hour: "We had communities and Christian priests from round the country who were literally calling up their local communities and the Council of Christians and Jews during the period after Charlie Hebdo, saying 'what we can do to show support for our Jewish community?'"

"I think there is very strong mutual support [Christians and Jews]. I think we feel very supported in particular by the Archbishop [of Canterbury Justin Welby]. He actually hosted the launch of the Parliamentary Committee Against Anti-Semitism's recent report.

The CCJ's 'If Not Now, When?' campaign will see Jews and Synagogues of all denominations across the country pray for persecuted Christians in Iraq and Syria. The initiative is partly a response to the way Christians supported the Jewish community after the attack at a Jewish supermarket in Paris earlier this year, which was linked to the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Speaking about their 'If Not Now, When?' campaign, she said: "We had this outpouring of support from the Christian community to what was going in parts of Europe with the Jewish community.

"It's very much a Jewish response to persecution of Christians in Syria and Iraq, and it's really captured the imagination across the community and been widely endorsed by Christians and Jews from across the spectrum."

Listen to Premier's Antony Bushfield speak to Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko here:

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