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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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Afternoon tea at Swinton Masonic Hall to celebrate 15 years of bringing Muslims, Jews, and others, closer together

3 October 2021

On Sunday 3 October 2021, we held an afternoon tea party at Swinton Masonic Hall, Pendlebury, to celebrate our 15th Anniversary.

The Forum was incorporated on 14 June 2005 and is now actually 16¼ years old! The celebration was postponed three times due to the pandemic, but to everyone's joy was able to proceed on Sunday 3 October 2021. 65 people, from all walks of life, from all faiths and none, attended.

The Forum was created to bring the Muslim and Jewish communities in Greater Manchester closer together, by building cultural and social ties between the two communities. In the past 16 years we have held 135 varied events to help achieve this, ranging from picnics to talks by lawyers.

There was a warm friendly atmosphere throughout. The guests included many who have supported the Forum throughout its existence as well as a number of first-time attenders.

Our Muslim Co-Chair Mohammed Amin welcomed the guests, while our Jewish Co-Chair Cllr Heather Fletcher was the Master of Ceremonies for the afternoon.

There were six high profile speakers in the following order:

  1. The Lord Mayor of Manchester Cllr Tommy Judge
  2. The High Sheriff of Greater Manchester Diane Hawkins
  3. The Ceremonial Mayor of Salford Cllr John Mullen
  4. The Chair of Remembering Srebrenica North-West and Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester Elinor Chohan
  5. The President of the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester & Region Russell Conn
  6. Co-Founder of the Forum and Member of Parliament for Manchester Gorton Afzal Khan CBE.

As well as congratulating the Forum on its achievements, each speaker brought a personal perspective to their message.

Afzal Khan shared how he and his fellow Co-Founder the late Henry Guterman MBE (also a former President of the Jewish Representative Council) decided such an organisation was needed. He recounted the first event for Muslims and Jews at Manchester Town Hall in August 2004 which led to the formation of the Forum.

Russell Conn mentioned a recent hate crime, the arson attack at Didsbury Mosque. Upon hearing about this, the Jewish Representative Council had sent an immediate message of support and solidarity. He emphasised how much the Muslim and Jewish communities have in common and how they need to support each other.

The loyal toast was proposed by Executive Committee member Qaisra Shahraz MBE. The toast to the Forum was proposed by Former Co-Chair Jonny Wineberg.

All four living current and former Co-Chairs, Heather Fletcher, Mohammed Amin, Afzal Khan and Jonny Wineberg joined in the cutting of the anniversary cake.

In the cake cutting photograph below, from left to right:

  1. Jonny Wineberg
  2. Heather Fletcher
  3. Afzal Khan
  4. Mohammed Amin

Current and former co-chairs join in cutting the anniversary cake.

A regular attender at Forum events Ann Audin from Bury presented the Co-Chairs, Heather Fletcher and Mohammed Amin, with beautiful bouquets as a sign of appreciation and recognition of their efforts in organising the event.

Jackie Harrison, Executive Committee member said:

"A wonderful afternoon of friendship and a celebration of diversity. Very well organised with delicious food and excellent speeches. I am very proud to be part of the MJF."

First time attender and Deputy Ceremonial Mayor of Salford Cllr Ann-Marie Humphreys said:

"I really enjoyed attending this event. The speakers were excellent. It was lovely to attend such a well organised celebration of an organisation which brings people of different religions and beliefs together in such a friendly atmosphere and in common humanity. As a welcomed Christian guest, this shows how much more we have in common."

Cllr Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Committee member said:

"This interfaith organisation has grown from strength to strength and has been recognised with many awards for positive contribution to community cohesion. This event was a wonderful event where over 60 people from both communities as well as others reminisced and celebrated the wonderful achievements of the Forum. We all look forward to its continued success."

The group photo below shows the anniversary cake being cut into small pieces for the guests and includes many members of the Executive Committee and speakers.

From left to right:

  1. Executive Committee member Séamus Martin
  2. Executive Committee member June Rosen
  3. Executive Committee member Rabnawaz Akbar
  4. Executive Committee member Qaisra Shahraz
  5. Former Co-Chair Jonny Wineberg
  6. Executive Committee member Jackie Harrison
  7. Speaker Elinor Chohan
  8. Forum Company Secretary Tahara Amin cutting the cake
  9. Speaker Afzal Khan
  10. Speaker John Mullen
  11. Speaker Diane Hawkins
  12. Forum Co-Chair Heather Fletcher
  13. Forum Treasurer David Lewis
  14. Forum Co-Chair Mohammed Amin
  15. Speaker Russell Conn

Most of Forum executive plus speakers watch as Tahara Amin cuts the anniversay cake into small pieces



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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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