Mansour dedicates much of his time to fighting anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel among Muslims. This year he won the German-Israeli Association’s Theodor Lessing Prize – the first Muslim to win the award, in the name of the late Jewish philosopher (who fought anti-Semitism and was assassinated by Nazis in 1933), since the organization was founded in 2003. “Where anti-Semitism rules, democracy dies,” Mansour declared at the award ceremony.
He talks about the need to introduce Muslims to the history of Israel’s conflicts with Palestinians and Arabs and criticizes the German education system for failing to deal with these subjects, along with such other topics as Islamism and the status of women in Muslim society. Mansour says this failure stems from a lack of cultural knowledge among educators, as well as taboos.
Mansour: “I can talk about the situation in the big cities. It is dangerous today to walk the streets with a kippah or Star of David. There is an Israeli restaurant in Berlin that is attacked weekly. Youths are attacked in schools because of their Judaism. I spoke with the principal of a Jewish high school in Berlin. He says people register their children there not necessarily because it’s Jewish, but rather because their children suffer in public schools [from bullying, etc.]. There are [Jewish] families who are thinking of emigrating. There are people I work with, my friends, who talk about it daily. They’re scared.”
Why aren’t more Muslims like Mansour?