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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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Forum holds its biggest iftar after a four-year coronavirus gap

26 March 2023

On Sunday 26 March we held an iftar in partnership with Khizra Mosque in Cheetham Hill. An iftar is the meal eaten at the end of a day fasting during Ramadan.

We have has organised an iftar annually since 2013 but due to the coronavirus pandemic could not do this from 2020-2022. Resuming this year made it a very special occasion. This was the fourth time that Khizra Mosque has hosted our iftar.

It was our largest ever attendance for an iftar with over 50 people attending. The participants were of all faiths and none.

Our Muslim Co-Chair Mohammed Amin welcomed the guests while Jewish Co-Chair Cllr Heather Fletcher was compere for the evening. The event had four speakers, who coincidentally along with Cllr Fletcher were all qualified solicitors!

Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester Diane Hawkins stated that in Christianity fasting was important but not as central as it is in Islam and in Judaism. She explained the nature of her Lord Lieutenant role which could be summarised as being "The eyes and ears of King Charles in Greater Manchester." Diane explained why she had 70 Deputy Lieutenants while one of her colleagues in the Scottish Highlands had only six Deputy Lieutenants. The reason is that the number of Deputies is calculated by reference to the population.

Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen spoke about fasting in Judaism. Unlike Islam, Judaism does not have a month of fasting. Instead, Jews fast on particular solemn festivals. Of these, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement on the tenth day of the first month of the Jewish calendar is the most important, with a 25 hour fasting that, like Islam, excludes both eating and drinking, as well as some other activities. Again, as with Islam, those who are ill, pregnant, or below the age of religious adulthood are exempt from fasting.

Afzal Khan MP spoke about fasting in Islam. He explained how personally he found that Ramadan fasts help to “Re-charge your batteries.” Afzal also mentioned how much Muslims give to charity during the month of Ramadan.

On behalf of Khizra Mosque Sajjad Amin gave a PowerPoint presentation on Ramadan and also covered the substantial voluntary work of Khizra Mosque both inside and outside the Muslim community. He stressed the importance of friendship between Muslim and Jewish people and gave examples of such friendships throughout the ages such as in Spain and North Africa.

After the formal speeches the guests were treated to a delicious meal provided by Khizra Mosque.

Jackie Harrison, who is a Jewish member of the Forum’s Executive Committee said:

"This was a wonderful evening of unity and friendship with delicious food and hospitality from Khizra Mosque. Thanks also to Cllr Heather Fletcher and Mohammed Amin for organising it."

Salford Councillor Hannah Robinson-Smith who is Christian said:

"The Forum's iftar event was a glorious coming together of our wider interfaith and non-faith communities, learning about each other, enjoying each other's company and enjoying some incredible food. I can't thank the Forum enough for continuing to facilitate these brilliant events."

Salford Councillor Mishal Saeed who is Muslim said:

"It was a real privilege to attend the event hosted by Khizra Mosque and to be joined by people of different faiths and backgrounds to join in the spirit of sharing, kindness, empathy and charity for Ramadan. I wish to thank both the Forum and Khizra Mosque for providing us with great food, great conversation and great company."

The photograph below is a collage of the speakers. Heather Fletcher is in the centre. Clockwise starting from the top left:

  1. Diane Hawkins
  2. Afzal Khan
  3. Sajjad Amin
  4. Robyn Ashworth-Steen

Collage of speakers at the iftar

The photograph below shows some of the participants in the Khizra Mosque’s Peace Garden and was taken before the proceedings commenced.

Photograph of participants in Khizra Mosque peace garden before the event started



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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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