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Migration Stories: Manchester Muslims and Jews tell their family migration stories

23 June 2019

Manchester has long welcomed migrants, including many historical figures such as Friedrich Engels and Chaim Weizmann.

Many Mancunians, including almost all of Manchester’s Muslims and Jews, either immigrated to Manchester themselves, or are descended from migrants who came here either for economic reasons, or to seek sanctuary as refugees.

On Sunday 23 June 2019 the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester partnered with the British Muslim Heritage Centre (BMHC) at an event where eight people, four Muslims and four Jews, told the story of their own or their ancestors’ migration to Manchester. BMHC’s beautiful listed building was an ideal venue for this event.

The event was opened by Maqsood Ahmad OBE, Chief Executive Officer of BMHC, who welcomed the Forum to its first event at BMHC.

The speakers

We had the following speakers telling the stories of their families.

Mohammed Amin recorded his talk, and by serendipity also recorded the other speakers. Where we have received permission to publish the talk on this page, you can listen to it below.

Cllr Heather Fletcher, Forum Co-Chair

Heather spoke about her great, great grandfather Jacob Libstein came to the UK from Lithuania in 1868.

You can hear her talk below.

Afzal Khan CBE MP

Afzal is MP for Manchester Gorton and was Manchester’s first Asian Lord Mayor as well as being a Co-Founder of the Forum. He talked about his personal challenges in coming from Pakistan to Manchester as a youngster.

You can hear his talk below.

Jacky Buchsbaum

Jacky is Treasurer of the Jewish Representative Council for Greater Manchester and Region.

He talked about his father from Leipzig in Germany who came to the UK before World War 2, and how he was able to serve in the British Army due to his family’s Polish origin.

You can hear his talk below.

Cllr Amna Abdullatif

Amna was born in the UK but spent her early childhood in her father's country of Libya before coming to the UK.

Jay Charara

Jay is Vice-Chair of the Jewish Representative Council for Greater Manchester & Region. He talked about how he came from Morocco to the UK.

You can hear his talk below.

Mohammed Amin MBE

Amin is a Co-Chair of the Forum. He talked about his father who originally came to from India in 1931 and then spent the rest of his life here apart from three short years in Pakistan after Partition, and his mother.

You can hear his talk below.

Anne Isaac

Anne is French. She is a convert to Islam who came to the UK 24 years ago.

You can hear her talk below.

Dr Jacqueline Lewis

Jackie talked about her mother and maternal grandparents who came from Vienna to the UK to escape the Nazis.

You can hear her talk below.

Some audience comments

Anthony Scott Norman who is a former Mayor of Borehamwood and Elstree said: “It was a very stimulating event and there was a wide range of very moving stories in a beautiful building with its own rich history . This was something to cheer you up seeing how people and families settle and take root in a multi-ethnic society, though not always without teething troubles.

Sumeya Isaac  who is the daughter of speaker Anne Isaac said: "I really enjoyed the event as I found it so fascinating, hearing all the different stories and how all the speakers came about where they are today. It opened my eyes as no two stories are the same. Everyone was so welcoming as it was my first time attending a Muslim Jewish Forum event."

Barbara Dresner said "A fascinating and moving event showing the immeasurable importance of organisations like the MJF. The speakers shared why they, their parents or even great-great-grandparents left their places of birth of Lithuania, Libya, Pakistan, Germany, France, Austria and Morocco and how they were able to adjust to their new home country. The warmth and fellow feeling in the room was a fitting contribution to Refugee Week."

Photograph of the speakers

The photograph below has the speakers from left to right:

  1. Jacqueline Lewis
  2. Jacky Buchsbaum
  3. Mohammed Amin
  4. Afzal Khan
  5. Heather Fletcher
  6. Amna Abdullatif
  7. Anne Isaac
  8. Jay Charara

Speakers panel at Migration Stories event

 

 

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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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