Williams Concerned about Anti-Semitism: Lord Rowan Williams, the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, has urged the British government to take action against rising anti-Semitism in British universities.

Williams, master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, announced he had written to Jo Johnson, universities minister, questioning what he called muted official responses to expressions of Jew hatred on campuses.

His action follows claims that incidents at Oxford University’s Labour Club, York, and in London were examples of anti-Semitic abuse.

“It is truly appalling stuff but sadly seems not to be that unusual at the moment,” Williams wrote to Zachary Confino, a law undergraduate from York. “It’s ironic that just as we are waking up to all sorts of ways in which ‘hate speech’ works we should lose sight of one of the most ancient and poisonous forms of it, in the shape of anti-Semitic rhetoric.

“Anyone concerned (as I am) about Islamophobia here and elsewhere needs to be scrupulously alert to the risk of scapegoating and demonising other religious communities, especially Jews; and anyone with even the least bit of historical sense ought to hear the echoes of past bigotry and violence towards Jewish people in Europe.”

Lord Williams said he was dispirited that Christian chaplains at York failed to support Confino. “You’d expect a more simply empathetic engagement,” he wrote.

Ecumenical Solidarity with Burundi: Anglican and ecumenical leaders are urging all parties in Burundi to find unity, healing, and reconciliation. Old wounds reopened last year from the east African country’s 12-year civil war, which ended with the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement of 1993.

The flashpoint was the nomination of President Pierre Nkurunziza for an unprecedented third term. Community violence followed. More than 80,000 people fled their homes and about the same number sought refuge in neighbouring countries.

An ecumenical delegation visited the country in early March.

“We did the solidarity visit to the Republic of Burundi to express our commitment to work with all religious leaders and all peace-seeking people of Burundi and to support their much-needed efforts on the ground to secure a lasting peace and stability in Burundi,” said Agnes Abuom, moderator of the World Council of Churches’ Central Committee and a member of the Anglican Church of Kenya.

“After listening, discerning, talking to church leaders, women, youth, representatives of the opposition, Intergovernmental Conference on Great Lakes, representatives from government, President Nkurunziza and Vice President [Gaston] Sindimwo, from this we hear the willingness to proceed with a national dialogue,” said the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC.

In a separate initiative that slightly overlapped with the WCC delegation’s visit, Archbishop Justin Welby visited March 3-6 and met with President Nkurunziza.

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