Javid speaks of need for religious tolerance after visit to Western Wall

Sajid Javid  (Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Sajid Javid (Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

BRITISH home secretary Sajid Javid has emphasised on the need for religious freedom saying everyone should have the freedom to practice their faith “freely, peacefully and without fear.”

Javid on Monday (1) became the first British minister to visit the Kotel in 19 years. Reflecting on his three-day visit to Israel and the West Bank, Javid said: “Jerusalem’s Old City is a breath-taking example of our combined history and religion and a reminder of how vital it is to live in a world of religious tolerance where everyone can practice their faith freely, peacefully and without fear.

“As Home Secretary, I’m committed to working with friends at home and abroad to tackle all forms of religious hatred – including antisemitism, anti-Muslim hatred, and the persecution of Christians.”

Javid arrived in Tel Aviv on Sunday (30) where he met Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other political leaders.

The home secretary also visited the Dome of the Rock and said he was “honoured to become the first UK minister to say a prayer at Al-Aqsa mosque next to the Dome of the Rock.” He also visited the nearby Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

In an opinion piece for the Jewish News, Javid recalled that his father believed deeply in Jewish-Muslim coexistence.

He wrote: “The first time I heard the word ‘Israel’ as a child was when my father, a Muslim, strongly defended the locally controversial decision of my brother’s school to organise a trip there. Why not, he argued. They are a proud people and we can only benefit from more interaction, not less.

“My interest and admiration has been undimmed ever since – through business, government and life. My wife Laura and I even made Israel our honeymoon destination some 20 years ago.”