Home Uncategorized Jews to form protective ‘rings of peace’ around GTA mosques

Jews to form protective ‘rings of peace’ around GTA mosques

Oslo synagogue

In February 2015, a group of young Muslims mobilized about 1,000 fellow residents of Oslo, Norway, to form a protective “ring of peace” around the city’s main synagogue. The show of support came soon after the HyperCacher grocery store was attacked in Paris and a Jewish security guard was killed outside a synagogue in Copenhagen.

Intended as a show of support, it also served as an inspiration to Rabbi Yael Splansky of the Holy Blossom Temple, who called on her fellow spiritual leaders to form rings of peace around mosques during Jumu’ah prayers on Friday, Feb. 3.

Hundreds of Jews, Christians and others are expected to surround seven Toronto-area mosques in a show of support in the aftermath of the Quebec City shooting that claimed six lives and wounded 19 others.


“It is a grassroots, faith-based expression of solidarity,” said Rabbi Splansky. “We can thank the good people of Oslo. It’s a good idea.”

Rabbi Splansky wrote to colleagues at the Toronto Board of Rabbis (TBR) asking for support in following the Oslo precedent. The suggestion resonated widely.

Members of Holy Blossom Temple have been asked to  gather around the Imdadul Islamic Centre, a Sufi mosque in the Keele Street and Finch Avenue area founded by immigrants from Guyana. They will be joined by members of Fairlawn United Church.

Other rings of peace will see members of City Shul and St. Anne’s Anglican Church gather at the Dawah Centre on Bloor Street West; members of Beth Tikvah Synagogue, Congregation Darchei Noam and Beth Tzedec Congregation will visit the Islamic Foundation in Scarborough; rabbis and members of Temple Emanu-el, Pride of Israel and the Danforth Jewish Circle will partner with Baitul Aman Islamic Centre to meet at the  Danforth Islamic Centre; Beth Sholom Synagogue and Ve’ahavta will ring the International Muslim Organization in Rexdale; Solel Congregation and Congregation Har Tikvah will visit at the Sayeda Khadija Centre in Mississauga; and Shaarei Beth El Synagogue will partner with the Interfaith Council of Halton outside Al Falah Mosque in Oakville.


In a statement following the Quebec City shooting, TBR president Rabbi Debra Landsberg said, “Such violence is intended to instil fear and to sunder the bonds that bind the people of this country. Standing arm in arm with all Canadians of goodwill, let us resolve to redouble our commitment to our shared life in Canada, through small acts of decency bringing succor to the afflicted; let us insist that life here will not be overturned through the spilling of blood.”

Rabbi Landsberg told The CJN that Jews rallied to support Muslims because “there is a sense that fellow citizens were under risk for who they are. That’s why this action is resonating among Jews.”

Beth Tikvah Rabbi Jarrod Grover was appalled by the Quebec City shooting.

In an email letter to members of his congregation, Rabbi Grover wrote, “A hate-inspired attack on peaceful worship is an attack on all of us.”

Members of the congregation were invited to join him outside the Islamic Foundation of Toronto, an organization that has participated in several interfaith programs, he said.

“We’re going to be there, to demonstrate solidarity at a difficult time for them. The Muslim community in Canada is feeling afraid that they’ve come to a country – because many are immigrants – where their religious tradition is not respected. The best tool to combat hatred is to show love and unity,” he said.

“Not only was [the mosque’s imam] OK with it, he was so thankful. It meant a lot to him.”

Rabbi Elyse Goldstein of City Shul said news of the rings of peace spread quickly through social media, and she expects 150 people to participate at the Dawah Centre. The message she hopes to convey is that, “We welcome you. We’re part of the neighbourhood. We stand with you,” she said.

In addition to members of the synagogue, Rabbi Goldstein expects students from the Paul Penna Downtown Jewish School to attend, along with members of the First Narayever Congregation and Makom, as well as representatives of St. Anne’s Anglican Church.

“For me, it’s really a message that the Jewish and Christian communities stand with the Muslim community,” Rabbi Goldstein said.

Osman Khan, general secretary of Imdadul Islamic Centre, called the Ring of Peace “a wonderful thing.

“We appreciate all the faith groups reaching out to us and expressing their sentiments. We were in contact with all the faith groups. We welcome the Holy blossom coming and joining us in this difficult time,” Khan said. “That’s a wonderful, wonderful thing.”

Asked why the Jewish community was so actively involved in the project, Rabbi Splansky said, “Jews can’t sit still. We put deed over creed. We’re all about taking a  leap of action.

“When it comes to the mitzvah of welcoming the stranger and loving our neighbours as ourselves, we do it through deeds. That’s our impulse,” she said.

  • TerrorIsEvil

    So shuls need no similar protection too at this time? Oh, how selfish of me to ask!

    • Joe Q.

      It’s not really “protection” but a show of support, right? We are fortunate that shuls have not come under attack in Canada (except for acts of anonymous vandalism).

      • TerrorIsEvil

        I sincerely think that it is a nice symbolic gesture but do you think that anyone involved in these efforts would ever help to “symbolically” defeat BDS on campus or speak out against antisemitism and anti-Israelism in Canada? There is always an infinitesimal chance.

    • Jeff

      guess you never heard the phrase, united we stand, divided we fall, but then again we know you will not be there as your white robes are out at the cleaners

      • Mike

        You are a disgusting piece of filth for your insinuation. Damn you, you bigot.

        • Jeff

          I am disgusting? Why for calling out cowards who dont get fact that we have to stand together or else we all fall separately

          • TerrorIsEvil

            Mental midget.

      • TerrorIsEvil

        I can see you now out there in your adult diapers.

        • Jeff

          guess you also didnt hear about united we stand, divided we fall, I have said this before, hate comes in all forms and from all races, even more reason to work together and not label any one group

          • TerrorIsEvil

            I am waiting for you to understand but that is not about to happen any time soon.You are incorrigible, uninformed, and unable to comprehend what it means to defend oneself and the great nation we share.

    • Jeff

      Calling you out cause two years ago the Muslim community of Oslo did the same, forming a ring of peace around a synagogue there after the attacks in Copenhagen.

      • TerrorIsEvil

        Symbolism is a nice baby step and nobody is against it, certainly not me. Actions to stop Islamic antisemitism and Islamic anti-Israelism are the real tests and in that the Islamic community has failed internationally – and they continue to blame us for their own ongoing terrorism (another fatal terror attack today in front of the Louvre Museum). These are not one-off isolated incidents, this is apart of a systematic 1400-year religious-based terror plot – a political-religious conquest. It is heavily based on antisemitism and anti-Infidel edicts.

        Are you for or against the proposed implementation of “Islamophobia” legislation to in Canada that will shut down free speech on this issue? Are you for sharia law in Canada? If so, Jeff, then you might as well just move to the Islamic State where you will see the final conclusion and end result of such legislation.

        • Allan

          Calm down. The refugees are not coming here for help, not to built minarets and rule the west.

          • TerrorIsEvil

            Where have you been sticking your head in the sand these past many years? Do you even know what is happening in Europe or anywhere else outside the GTA? Is terrorism a joke to you?

        • Jeff

          give it up already, not the time or place, innocents were murdered while praying, does not matter the religion, and what are you talking about sharia law? This ring of support thing today has wide support across all religions but of course in your mind everyone is wrong, you are right

          • TerrorIsEvil

            Sharia law is what Liberals and the NDP and Greens want to allow in Canada. See:

            The two Motions which are before our Parliament:

            1. “E” Petition E-411

            It was tabled Oct. 26, 2016 – tabled by
            Thomas Mulcair, NDP, condemning all forms of Islamophobia and could trigger Sharia blasphemy laws (as in Europe), or at least claims, which would be extremely damaging. Canada already has hate speech laws under our Charter and under our Criminal Law. Any hate speech toward Muslims for being Muslim is already covered in these laws.

            2. Iqra Khalid Motion M-103

            It was tabled Dec. 1, 2016 – this motion called for the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage under Hedy Fry to produce findings and recommendations within 240 days from acceptance. This motion could lead to criminal legislation about systemic racism and religious discrimination regarding one religion, Islam. However, religion is already covered under our Charter and Criminal Law, and hate speech laws.

          • Jeff

            sorry you are wrong again. fail to see how they are advocating Sharia LAW. Laws are passed when the government introduces them. These are motions. Learn the difference. In the meantime, you are feel to stop hiding in your closet. No one is out to get you. Afraid to say but you really are NUTS. Here you have the Jewish community out supporting their religious brothers and you are slamming everyone who disagrees with you. Maybe you belong in Trump’s cabinet

          • TerrorIsEvil

            So will you be out there protesting against these freedom-destroying proposals so that they do not become the law of the land?

  • Michael Sherman

    I do not for a minute believe that these GTA mosques promote Jew hatred and Israel hatred. Not for a minute.

    • TerrorIsEvil

      Oh, come on, the reciprocity is evident everywhere. How about the new legislation the Muslim community is sponsoring together with our pro-sharia Liberal government to make criticism of
      Islam a crime and make us all into silent dhimmis?

      • Michael Sherman

        It was supposed to be a joke. Sarcasm has a way of being too oblique. Of course these mosques are promoting anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism. It comes with their mothers’ milk.

        • TerrorIsEvil

          I got the joke and responded with my own because reciprocity is NOT evident anywhere.

          These symbolic defenders of mosques after such a terrible crime are fine with me if that is how they want to spend their time but we know this symbolism is meaningless if the people being honored and celebrated by this gesture are not willing to change long-held hatred of us that the people involved are much too eager to overlook or ignore completely.

  • stanley

    Kudos to these Jews. We are all Canadians, from sea to sea. We will never be divided.

    • TerrorIsEvil

      From your mouth to G-d’s ears. Do not, however, take freedom
      for granted because it is about to be taken away from all of us in Canada
      (Muslims, Jews, Christians, all other beliefs and atheists, etc.) by a
      government that now has pending “Islamophobia” legislation which will
      criminalize anything that hurts the feelings of one religious belief system.