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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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Co-Chair Heather Fletcher's speech at Hate Crime Awareness event

8 October 2022

Caritas Diocese of Salford was created in 2008 by Bishop Terence Brain and in 2010 and 2011 consolidated into itself the work of several older Catholic charities created over the past 125 years. Their Accessibility Coordinator Dr Minna Moffat-Feldman organised an event on Saturday 8 October to increase awareness of hate crime, and invited the Forum to share our experiences.

Co-Chair Mohammed Amin was away in London, so the Forum's only representative was Co-Chair Cllr Heather Fletcher. She emphasised the fact that the Forum had organised 140 events in the past 17 years bringing people together, and desribed some of those events, many of which are social such as our picnic and our annual kosher meal.

She concluded her speech as follows:

So it may seem from what you have just heard that the main aim of our Muslim Jewish Forum is to organise events and have fun at them!

Whilst there is some truth in this I contend that our main aim is to get people together to learn about each other's faiths and cultures so the "unknown" becomes the "familiar." It is ignorance of others' ways of life which, in my opinion, gives rise to religious and racial hate crimes. When people mix socially, as they do in our Forum events, they learn far more about each other's faiths and cultures than they would learn  in a formal  educational environment.

Over the past 17 years our Forum has brought together many people across Greater Manchester, mainly Muslim and Jewish, who otherwise would definitely not have met each other. Some of us  have made very strong friendships with people from different faiths through attending our Forum events, which also helps create a more cohesive and harmonious  society.

Only yesterday, I read that hate crime has increased by 26% to over 155,000 crimes in the past year. I also read that a quarter of all hate crimes are directed against Jewish people. Antisemitic hate crimes accounted for 23% of all religious hate crimes in the UK in the past year. There were 1,919 hate crimes targeting Jews which was a 49% increase on the previous year. However, Jewish people were the second most targeted group, behind Muslims, in the past year. So both our faiths are heavily targeted.

Given this back drop, it is even more essential that we carry on robustly with the work of our Muslim Jewish Forum bringing people together, creating friendship and peace.

Other speakers spoke about the discrimination they had faced for being deaf, gay, or black in both educational and working environments.

The photograph below shows Cllr Fletcher speaking.



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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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