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Tuesday, 24 October, 2000, 20:28 GMT 21:28 UK
Straw urges Jewish-Muslim tolerance
Jack Straw
Straw promises action over racist violence
Home Secretary Jack Straw has promised British Jews that he will act to prevent violence breaking out between the country's Jewish and Arab communities.

Mr Straw was responding to concerns expressed by members of the board of deputies of British Jews whom met on Tuesday in the first of a series of talks between ministers and the leaders of the UK's Jewish and Muslim communities.

The meeting was prompted by the multiple stabbing of Orthodox Jew David Myers in Stamford Hill, north London, last week.

Mr Myers was repeatedly stabbed while travelling on the top deck of a bus in the heart of the Jewish community.

An Algerian, Nabil Ould Eddine has since been charged with attempted murder.

Catalogue of intimidation

The board also produced evidence of a catalogue of other incidents, including attacks on synagogues and vandalism.

Mr Straw condemned the stabbing saying there was no "excuse or justification for such violence".

And he acknowledged that racist and anti-Semitic incidents had increased in recent days, following the escalation of violence in the Middle East.

He said: "The government and the police are aware of the increased tensions affecting Jewish and Muslim communities related to events in the Middle East.

Police are making regular contact with community groups and are "ready to respond," Mr Straw said.

Straw urges tolerance

"I urge community leaders to sustain the tolerance and mutual respect which are the hallmarks of good community relations in this country."

Jo Wagerman, president of the board of deputies, emerged from the meeting saying that they had had positive talks with the home secretary.

She said: "The home secretary listened to and understood the concerns of the Jewish community and will do his utmost to ensure that the problems of the Middle East do not result in violence or incitement on the streets of this country."

A Home Office spokesman confirmed that Mr Straw is to meet members of the Muslim community shortly.

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See also:

17 Oct 00 | Middle East
Middle East crisis
24 Oct 00 | Middle East
Barak pushes for coalition deal
23 Oct 00 | Middle East
Anger and disappoinment over Arab summit
18 Oct 00 | UK
Man in court over stabbing
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