On a mission to New York and Washington from July 20 to 23, more than a dozen rabbis and imams from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom took part in a program organized by Schneier to introduce his Muslim-Jewish interfaith program to Europe. The program "twins" imams and rabbis, with the goal of promoting cooperation.
On Thursday, as the conference wound down, participants signed a declaration to bring the program to Europe by seeking "to identify areas in which our communities can work together and create cooperate projects."
"We had a singular objective," Schneier said of the trip.
He said current Muslim-Jewish dialogue in Europe exists on a leadership level, and he outlined plans to foster relationships "on a much more massive, much more people-to-people scale."
The European clergy will formally kick off their partnership in November, during a conference that will match local mosques and synagogues, which ultimately will hold joint programs or otherwise work together to combat Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. In North America, the partnership began last November and includes 50 mosques and 50 synagogues across the US and Canada.
Sheikh Dr. Muhammad al-Hussaini, who came from the United Kingdom, said he was inspired to participate in the conference because "it's absolutely critical at this juncture that there are Muslim voices that are willing to stand firmly and practice in opposition to Islamic-inspired anti-Semitism."