Rabbi Tony Bayfield head of the Movement for Reform Judaism has written in a letter of support for charity Tolerance International UK that “the only salvation [from religious extemism] is for the silent majority, both religious and secular, to cease to be silent and for the moderates to demonstrate that moderation is not the same as acquiescence. “
He continues “Judaism, Christianity and Islam, at their best, all advocate peace and tolerance as supreme values. As do moderate humanists and secularists. We have however to grasp the truth that we see on our television screens daily – namely that peace and tolerance are not universal values. They have to be asserted, worked for and even fought for.”
Tolerance International UK was first set up in 2001 to provide aid and relief for refugees and to support emergency appeals like the Bam Earthquake Appeal (in partnership with The British Red Cross) in. In March 2007, under the chairmanship of (distinguished supporter of humanism) Lord Taverne QC. the charity was re-organised to contest extreme behaviour prompted by distorted religious teachings, cultural divisions and political ideologies.
Rabbi Bayfield describes “the rise of fundamentalism” as “a global disaster, afflicting particularly…Judaism, Christianity and Islam” although adds that “there are fundamentalists amongst the secular as well, extremists who betray the same intolerance, dogmatism and willingness to use and justify violence.”
In praising the organisation he concludes that “those Jews, Christians, Muslims and moderate secularists who are not standing shoulder to shoulder with you today have a great deal to thank you for.”