The Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester
Established to develop the cultural and social ties between the Muslim and Jewish communities of Greater Manchester
26 November 2017
On Sunday 26 November, we organised an event at Salford Civic Centre in Swinton. This was to mark the 10th Annual Global Season of Twinning between Muslims and Jews, an initiative of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding in New York. Approximately 30 people of all faiths and no faith attended the event.
The Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Forum Co-Chair and Councillor for Swinton South Ward, Heather Fletcher welcomed the guests.
The speakers were
After the speeches, Forum Executive member Jackie Harrison gave the vote of thanks.
All the speakers stressed the importance of mixing with people outside one's own faith and culture, and the need to spread unity and peace especially following the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in May.
Before the formal proceedings, the current Co-Chairs, Mohammed Amin and Cllr Heather Fletcher, presented former Co-Chair Jonny Wineberg with a crystal trophy for eleven years sterling service on the Executive. At the recent AGM, he had stood down from the Executive due to the pressure of his other commitments.
Louise Brook, who is Jewish, stated, "It was an enjoyable and informative evening. There were good speeches in a warm friendly atmosphere. I know that the Forum has been awarded 2 national Awards for the wonderful interfaith work it does."
Guy Otten, who is a Humanist, said, "It was a useful evening in terms of strengthening friendship ties across beliefs and communities."
Susan Mottram, who is a Christian, stated, "Attending MJF events is invaluable to me as a practising Christian, as when I have the opportunity to socialise with people of other faiths, I clearly see that what we share outweighs the differences. The way to the Father is by demonstrating love to all people we meet on our journey through life."
Cllr Ahmed Ali, who is a Muslim, stated "God says that mankind is not only destined to exist as diverse peoples but that we as humans should welcome this and actively try to understand people who are different from ourselves."
The photograph below shows the speakers. From left to right:
Forum Co-Chair Mohammed Amin has supplied us with the text he was speaking from and it is reproduced below.
In a moment, I’m going to make a statement. After I make that statement, I want you to put your hand up if you are surprised by it.
The statement is as follows: I am very concerned about anti-Muslim hatred.
Not a single hand went up. That of course is no surprise. I am a Muslim. If I was not concerned about anti-Muslim hatred, you should doubt my sanity!
There is nothing wrong with being concerned about hatred directed at yourself and hatred directed at your family. However, your concern cannot stop there.
If Muslims speak up only for Muslims, if Jews speak up only for Jews, it is quite easy for those who hate us to pick us off, one community at a time. Many people who hate Muslims also hate Jews. The same applies the other way around.
We are the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester. However, there are far more Muslims and Jews in London than in Greater Manchester. Let me share with you a story from London, which some of you may know, and some will not.
In Golders Green, in London, is a building called The Hippodrome. Obviously, once upon a time it was a theatre or cinema. More recently, it has been used by a Christian group. It was bought by a Shia Muslim group, who want to make it into a mosque and community centre.
This led to an outcry, a petition, and lots of comments on the local authority planning applications website. Some of the objections were legitimate concerns about parking. Many of them were obviously motivated by anti-Muslim hatred. Sadly, some of those even came from Jews.
What is important is what happened next.
Many of the most senior people in the Jewish community came out to condemn the anti-Muslim hatred being displayed by some of the objectors. Let me list some of the leading Jews who spoke up.
We don’t know how the planning application will turn out. There are valid planning concerns which need to be addressed. What matters is that the leaders of the Jewish community condemned the anti-Muslim bigotry being shown by some members of their own community.
That is how all of us need to behave. Muslims and Jews are stronger together. That also requires being willing to condemn those Jews, and those Muslims, who spread hatred against other communities.
The Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester
Established to develop the cultural and social ties between the Muslim and Jewish Communities of Greater Manchester