Muslim-Jewish Twinning in Tunis in commemoration of the deportation of Tunisian Jews during the Nazi invasion of Tunisia between 1942-1943

On December 27, 2017,The Foundation For Ethnic Understanding sponsored a Muslim-Jewish twinning event in Tunis hosted by the Tunisian Association for the Support of Minorities (L’Association Tunisienne de Soutien des Minorités). L’Association Tunisienne de Soutien des Minorités organized the 6th Anniversary for the commemoration of the deportation of Tunisian Jews during the Nazi invasion of Tunisia between 1942 and 1943. The event was held under the theme “the different forms of discrimination against Tunisian Jews in history”.

Tunisia7Yamina Thabet, President of the association, opened the meeting by thanking the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding for supporting the event. She further insisted on the fact that although the association has received threats in order to call off the conference, all the members of the TASM have not been discouraged and maintained the association’s tradition to commemorate these events and to remind the Tunisians of the forgotten part of Tunisia’s history on the deportation of Tunisian Jews during Second World War.

Tunisia8.jpgFour lecturers took part in the conference: Mr. Jawhar Ben Mbarek, Mrs. Danielle Hentati, Mr. René Trabelsi, and Mr. Jacob Lellouche.

Tunisian political leaders as well as representatives of the Embassy of the United States, United Kingdom, the Kingdom of Morocco, France and Germany attended the event.




Muslim-Jewish Women twinning event at Yeshurun Synagogue in Manchester, UK


The Yeshurun Synagogue hosted a special Interfaith event as part of a ‘Season of Twinning’ project.

The event in partnership with Faith Network 4 Manchester (FN4M) and ‘We Stand Together’ was linked to the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding’s (FFEU) and attended by twenty Muslim and Jewish women from Cheadle and Manchester mosques and the Yeshurun and Menorah synagogues.

It was organised by Qaisra Shahraz, a novelist, and Co-Chair of both the Faith Network 4 Manchester & We Stand Together and hosted by Marilyn Berg, Vice- Chair of the Yeshurun Synagogue and former teacher.

The event celebrated and promoted friendship, unity and the common elements of both faiths, Islam and Judaism.

Muslim women learnt about Hanukkah, and Jewish religious rituals during the tour of the synagogue.

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They admired the gorgeous and colourful, hand-made embroidered tapestries hanging in the main hall.

A peace poem was read by Sue Stern, a local Jewish author, and Marilyn Berg delighted the guests with funny stories and jokes including about Greggs the bakers.

Qaisra Shahraz organiser said,  ‘I am delighted that this twinning event of Jewish and Muslim women from two Mosques and two synagogues went exceedingly well.

“We could not stop talking, smiling, hugging and sharing our stories-and happily posing with ‘We Stand Together’ & ‘Spread Hummus Not Hate’ peace banners.


Marilyn Berg the host from the Yeshurun Synagogue said, ‘We are delighted to host this twinning event. It was full of laughter, friendship and helped to break down any barriers. We found out more about what united us than divided us. And we respected our differences.’

Rubbiah Hamanyu from Cheadle Mosque said, ‘This event reminded us beautifully that as people of faith, we have much In common.

“It is important therefore that our common values of neighbourliness , justice and love for humankind always shine through.’

Vicki Garson of the Menorah Synagogue said, ‘The genuine warmth of this event was inspiring…it was a pleasure to chat and discover how much we all had in common. I would like to thank our hosts for looking after us so well and the organisers for making it happen.’

Rifat Mirza of Cheadle Mosque added, ‘It was lovely to be able to share stories through dialogue- Muslim and Jewish women and such dialogue is so important in bringing people together like this twinning interfaith event.’

Sue Stern from the Yeshurun Synagogue said, ‘We all got on so well, everyone wished that the world could be like that. A great beginning to the coming year.’

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June Rosen of the Yeshurun Synagogue said, ‘It was such a warm relaxed gathering, making new friends and renewing friendships with others, everyone intent to do whatever they could to make the word a better place for our children and future generations.’

Dudia Zilic of Didsbury Mosque said, ‘It was an excellent event. We need more like this to bring people of different faiths together.

“Talking is so important. And in building bridges between the two communities.

“This was my first visit to a synagogue and I learnt alot, including about Hannukah. We have so much in common. The host ladies were lovely and looked after us so well.’


Read original article here.

Muslim-Jewish twinning event in Washington, DC for Christmas

FFEU partner, the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum (GWMJF), represented by Andra Baylus and Walter Ruby, was active the day before Christmas spreading a message of peace, brotherhood and compassion for people of all backgrounds. GWMJF co-sponsored a Muslim-Jewish Winter Youth Feeding the Homeless event with ADAMS Community Service at the CCNV Shelter in downtown Washington, in which teenagers and their parents from Temple Rodef Shalom of Falls Church, VA and the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy of Rockville, MD, participated together with families from the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS).

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Over 50 Muslims and Jews eventually managed to set up and serve delicious meals of spicy Indo-Pak chicken and rice to scores of homeless residents at CCNV and also offer them coats, blankets gloves and warm socks.

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Twinning event at Maccabi Sport Centre in Prestwich, England


On December 3rd, 2017, Muslim and Jewish women enjoyed sport activities including boxing, skipping rope, badminton as they celebrated The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding’s Twinning event in partnership with Faith Network 4 Manchester (FN4M) and We Stand Together at Maccabi Sport Centre in Prestwich, England. It was a lovely event, where women exercised and played sports together, shared a feast, and posed for pictures with their favorite sport equipment and peace banner to promote wonderful friendship and and good relationships.





Muslim Jewish Forum celebrates 10’th Annual Global Season of Twinning between Muslims and Jews (Swinton, UK)

On Sunday, November 26th, the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester organized an event at Salford Civic Centre in Swinton, UK. This was to mark the 10’th 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: Salford and Eccles MP, Rebecca Long Bailey; Salford Statutory Deputy City Mayor, Cllr Paula Boshell; Cllr Rabbi Arnold Saunders, Rabbi at the Higher Crumpsall and Higher Broughton Synagogue; Imam Irfan Chishti MBE, Imam of the Manchester Central Mosque in Victoria Park; Mohammed Amin MBE, Muslim Jewish Forum Co-Chair.

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.

After the speeches, Forum Executive member Jackie Harrison gave the vote of thanks.

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 socialize 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 Forum’s next event is in February 2018 when they will have their annual kosher meal at JS Restaurant in Prestwich. The Forum will show solidarity with the newly refurbished JS following an antisemitic arson attack on the restaurant in the summer.


FFEU Long-Time Partner Faith Network 4 Manchester Held A Multi-Faith Peace Vigil After The Manchester Attack

Following the horrendous attack in Manchester Arena on May 22nd, 2017, FFEU’s long-time partner, Faith Network 4 Manchester (FN4M), led a multi-faith rally and vigil at Albert Square and Manchester Town Hall to mourn the victims, but also to fight together against evil and to stand united for peace, freedom, tolerant and love. Attendees include Bob Day, Charles Kwaku-Odoi, Jonny Wineberg and Warren Elf. Attendees include Qaisra Shahraz and Rev. Charles Kwaku-Odoi, Co-chairs of FN4M, Jonny Wineberg, Warren Elf, Bob Day and Afzal Khan, Member of the European Parliament.



All Faiths Standing Together In Memory Of Westminister Bridge Victims

IMG_3028.JPGOn March 29, Faith Network for Manchester (FN4M) arranged a parallel event in Manchester to the one at Westminster to mark one week after the Westminster terror attack. We invited people of faith and interfaith organisations and other community groups to join us on the bridge in Salford Quays between the Lowry Theatre and the Imperial War Museum North.

With only 24 hours notice, around 150 people came together in the rain and linked arms across the whole length of the bridge, holding banners saying ‘Standing Up for One Anther’, ‘Spread Hummus Not Hate’ ‘ We Refuse to be Enemies’ and ‘Love for All, Hatred to None’. All of the major faiths in Manchester were represented and there was a real atmosphere of commitment to peace, harmony and togetherness.

The Faith Network members, including their co-Chairs Qaisra Shahraz and Revd Charles Kwaku-Odoi, vice-chair Grange Williams and Huin Mo, Sukhbir Singh, Amer Salam, faith leaders, members of the Council of Christians and Jews, the Muslim-Jewish Forum, Sikhs, Bahais, Hindus, Jains, other Christians, Muslims and Jews, community leaders, Council representatives and especially members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community en masse as well as the media  TV crews for the BBC and ITV etc were all there.

At 2.40 p.m., the time of the attack last week, we stood for a minute in silence, which was started and ended by the blowing of a Shofar by Rabbi Warren Elf, FN4M community Development Officer who at very short notice worked hard to organise this event.

This was a real testament of the feeling and commitment of all faiths to work together to ensure we can all live in a safe and peaceful society together.  It was a real privilege to be able to bring everyone together to express this solidarity at such short notice.

By Qaisra Shahraz

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