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Established to develop the cultural and social ties between the Muslim and Jewish communities of Greater Manchester

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Fusion Award for the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester

The piece below was published on the Council of Christians and Jews website on 8 June 2016.

Fusion Award for the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester

The Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester was incorporated in June 2005. As its name suggests, the Forum brings together Muslims and Jews in Greater Manchester, although its events are open to members of all faiths and none. Its objectives are prescribed geographically to exclude the inherently divisive topic of the Middle East.

On 28 May 2016 both co-chairs Cllr Heather Fletcher and Mohammed Amin alongside several other members of the Executive Committee attended an awards dinner in King George’s Hall, Blackburn for the 10th annual Fusion Awards. They knew that the Forum was shortlisted in the category “Community Group of the Year.” However, on arrival their evening was deflated because they were handed a certificate saying that they were “Highly Commended” and asked to participate in a group photograph. Receiving a highly commended certificate normally means that you have not won. This also killed any sense of suspense.

Accordingly, when during the awards ceremony it was announced that the winner of the Community Group of the Year category was the Forum, all of its representatives were equally flabbergasted! Both co-chairs went on stage to collect the winner’s award with Heather Fletcher almost emulating Halle Berry in her acceptance speech!

We asked Mohammed Amin why he thought that the Forum had been chosen as winners.

He explained that 2015 had been a particularly active year. Quite apart from the very worthwhile events that the Forum typically holds every year, there were two particular landmarks.

In February 2015 Parliament was due to debate a petition initiated by Sally Burnell, Director of Policy, Media & Strategy at the British Veterinary Association (BVA) which, after nine months had received the necessary 100,000 signatures. The petition asked Parliament to abolish the religious exemption for non-stun slaughter and would make kosher and halal slaughter in the UK unlawful.

Forum Executive member Jonny Wineberg, who was also Vice President of the Jewish Representative Council for Greater Manchester and Region suggested to Mohammed Amin that British Muslims and Jews needed a counter petition. Mohammed Amin created a petition asking Parliament to protect the right to kosher and halal slaughter. Thanks to the petition being spread widely to social media and by community organisations such as The Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Muslim Council of Britain, Mohammed Amin’s counter petition received over 100,000 signatures in only nine days. Accordingly, it was mentioned several times during the Parliamentary debate on the BVA petition.

In June 2015, the City of Manchester allowed the Forum to use Manchester Town Hall to hold its 10th anniversary dinner, with the keynote speakers being the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra with attendance by many civic dignitaries including the Lord Mayor of Manchester and the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester.

The Forum’s entry for the Fusion Awards concluded as with the following paragraphs:

“Just one measure of our success is the growth in mosque / synagogue twinning and also in the twinning that is starting to happen between Muslim and Jewish schools. Since we began, more and more Muslims can be found attending Manchester Limmud and other events organised by the Jewish community, while Jews attend events organised by Muslims, for example to commemorate the Srebrenica genocide.

We have made a significant impact on community cohesion in Greater Manchester by making it normal for Muslims and Jews to cooperate and do things together for the benefit of both communities.”

It is good to see such work being recognised with the Fusion Award.



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The Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester
Established to develop the cultural and social ties between the Muslim and Jewish Communities of Greater Manchester

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