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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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Two Executive Committee Members receive awards for supporting Adam Day

10 August 2022

Adam Day is organised each year on 10 August by the UK arm of the Azeemia Foundation. The purpose of the event is to bring people together to reflect on mankind's common descent from Adam. The 2022 event was the 20th year that an event has taken place in Manchester to commemorate Adam Day.

Our Co-Chair Cllr Heather Fletcher and Executive Committee Member Qaisra Shahraz MBE both received awards for their consistent support for Adam Day, as did our Co-Founder Afzal Khan CBE, MP for Manchester Gorton.

Heather has consented to our publishing her speech lower down below the photograph.

The collage below includes:

  1. Bottom left – Heather with her award.
  2. Bottom centre – close up of Heather’s award.
  3. Bottom right – Afzal Khan and Heather.
  4. Top photograph – Group photograph of the awardees. Qaisra Shahraz is standing on Heather’s left.

Collage of photographs taken at Adam Day 2022

Heather Fletcher’s speech

Good evening, ladies, gentlemen and distinguished guests. It is a great honour to be invited to address you this evening from a Jewish perspective.

As some of you know, I have been the Co-Chair of the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester for the past seven years and have been on the Executive for 17 years since the day it was founded by the late Henry Guterman and Afzal Khan MP.

In this time, we have organised 140 diverse events from picnics to lawyers’ events to iftars and Chanukah parties which have brought together many Muslims and Jews across the region. We learn about each other and work together on common issues. This is “Unity in Diversity” in practice.

There are many examples of Muslims and Jews helping each other throughout the years. In 1943 in the Second World War, 17 Jewish people, including the Lazar brothers escaped from the Nazis and came to settle in the village of the Balla family who were Albanian Muslims. The Balla family gave the three Lazar brothers food and shelter for 18 months, thus certainly saving them from death at the hands of the Nazis.

During the Bosnian War in the 1990’s, Zoran Mandlbaum, a Bosnian Jew, organised convoys carrying packages of food and medicine to Bosnian Muslims across Mostar, thus most likely saving their lives. There is a Jewish saying from the Talmud “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.” I believe there is a similar saying in Islam.

In 2019 over 50 Muslims were murdered whilst praying in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The Tree of Life Synagogue in the USA had also been subject to a murderous attack a few months earlier. Nonetheless the synagogue raised money for the victims of the Christchurch attack.

Closer to home, when the Bradford Synagogue faced closure a few years ago due to lack of finance, it was saved mainly due to the sterling fundraising efforts of the secretary of a local mosque and the Muslim owner of a local restaurant and a local Muslim textile magnate.

Following the murder of Lee Rigby several mosques in London were vandalised. A police trained ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood patrol called Shomrin helped the mosques by providing extra security for them.

Finally, five years ago when a kosher restaurant in Prestwich was subject to an allegedly antisemitic arson attack, members of Khizra Mosque came and stood outside the restaurant to show solidarity with the Jewish community.

We can all play our part by helping each other, mixing together, and learning from one another. We should celebrate our diversity and stand united in times of need, and at other times. Doing these actions provides for a more tolerant, more cohesive and harmonious society.

As Helen Keller, the American writer, stated: “Alone, we can do so little – together, we can do so much.”

Thank you.



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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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