(RNS) Siavosh Derakhti, a young Swedish Muslim honored in Europe and the U.S. for his campaign to counter anti-Semitism, always explains his motivation by invoking David.
David — Derakhti has told audiences on four continents — was one of his best friends when he was a kid. Other kids always bullied David, and a very young Derakhti wanted to know why. David said he was hated for being Jewish. After that, David had a Muslim ally, someone who literally fought by his side.
Derakhti, now 25, has made his life’s work the plight of the Jews in Sweden and Europe, where anti-Semitism has risen to levels so alarming that Jews talk of leaving for safer lives in Israel or the U.S.
“We have to stand up for my cousins. My Jewish cousins,” Derakhti said. “I’m Muslim, I’m proud of it, but I’m also proud to be cousins with the Jewish population.”