On Sunday 30th October, approximately 60 people attended an event at Salford Civic Centre in Swinton to mark the 9th global season of twinning between Muslims and Jews. This is an initiative of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding based in New York, USA.
The guests were welcomed by the Master of Ceremonies, Muslim Jewish Forum Co-Chair Mohammed Amin MBE.
The speakers were Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett, Rabbi Benjamin Simmonds of Stenecourt Synagogue in Salford, Imam Gadri Audhali of Eccles Mosque, Greater Manchester Police Chief Inspector and #WeStandTogether lead Umer Khan, and local Salford Councillor and Forum Co-Chair, Heather Fletcher.
All the speakers stressed the importance of mixing with people outside one’s own faith or ethnic community, and the need to spread a message of unity and peace especially in these days of rising hate crime. The rabbi and the imam spoke about the many commonalities between the Muslim and Jewish faiths.
As an unpublicised addition to the programme, Mohammed Amin and Cllr Heather Fletcher presented the Forum’s Co-Founder, Afzal Khan CBE MEP with a crystal trophy for co-founding the Forum 11 years ago and for 10 years of service on the Forum’s Executive Committee. Afzal Khan had no notice that he was going to receive award, and was completely taken by surprise. He responded with an impromptu, heartfelt and poignant speech about the importance of all people of good will working together.
To close the formalities, Forum Executive member, Jackie Harrison gave the vote of thanks. Afterwards there were long friendly informal discussions between those attending facilitated by fruit juice, tangerines, kosher cream cakes, tea and coffee.
Judith Roberts stated “An excellent event with great speakers. Lovely to see so many like-minded people of different faiths who genuinely care about working together to bring unity to all”
Louise Brooks said “The event was enjoyable and interesting and there were positive speeches by different members of the community. We chatted over refreshments in a convivial atmosphere with people trying to create racial harmony in Greater Manchester”