Join our email list

The Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester
Established to develop the cultural and social ties between the Muslim and Jewish communities of Greater Manchester

Search this site

Tap here for MENU

Combating Islamophobia Together

29 November 2020

November was Islamophobia Awareness Month in the UK. To support this, together with the British Muslim Heritage Centre we organised a joint online event on Sunday 29 November "Combating Islamophobia Together."

About 35 people attended, including Muslims, Jews, Christians, Humanists, and others, all sharing the goal of reducing bigotry and hatred in our society.

The event was chaired by our Executive Committee member June Rosen. We recorded the event, and below you can watch the speakers.

Mohammed Amin

Co-Chair Mohammed Amin gave a detailed PowerPoint presentation “Combating anti-Muslim hatred: the role of Law and Society.”

He explained to the audience the need to recognise that the state can intervene against some forms of bigotry, for example employment discrimination. However other forms, such as refusal to socialise with Muslims, can only be countered by society changing people’s attitudes.

He concluded by reminding the Muslims attending that each one of them is an ambassador for Islam, whether they want that role or not.

Heather Fletcher

Co-Chair Heather Fletcher spoke about the historical experience of Jews in Britain, and how similar was the discrimination they faced to the experience of Muslims today.

Afzal Khan

Our Co-Founder Afzal Khan CBE, MP for Manchester Gorton, spoke about his Parliamentary work to combat Islamophobia, in particular his role as Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims which in November 2018 published a new definition of Islamophobia.

Afzal reminded the audience that when in May 2014 he was elected to the European Parliament, this had the direct effect of removing BNP Leader Nick Griffin from being an MEP.

Maqsood Ahmad

Maqsood Ahmad OBE, Chief Executive Officer of the British Muslim Heritage Centre gave a PowerPoint presentation about the work the BMHC has been doing to improve knowledge about Islam and Muslims in the wider community to prevent Islamophobia arising. This is necessary to change people’s attitudes in the way Mohammed Amin had identified in his presentation.

In January 2020, the BMHC had pioneered by being the first Muslim institution to host Manchester’s official Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration. It also regularly held open days before the coronavirus pandemic made them impossible. 

More recently the BMHC has recently published a short booklet “What is Islam: Answers to the Most Commonly Asked Questions” to help dispel misunderstandings about Islam.

Jackie Harrison

The vote of thanks was given by Forum Executive Committee member Jackie Harrison.

Participants' feedback

June Rosen then chaired a very lively question and answer session, which would have continued long after the planned finishing time had it been allowed to. Many of the participants used the Zoom chat function to say how illuminating they had found the event.

Cllr Tahir Rafiq said:

It was a great honour to have been invited to the Muslim Jewish Forum & BMHC event "Combating Islamophobia Together”, in this Islamophobia awareness month.  It was good to hear experiences from speakers on Islamophobia and antisemitism.  It is important we acknowledge, where it exists, highlight and eradicate all forms of racism from within our society, organisations and political parties.

In Bury I proposed the motion on the Islamophobia APPG definition and IHRA antisemitism definition, which was seconded by Cllr Richard Gold; it was adopted.  The adoption paves the way for equality and tackling discrimination.  Likewise, I encourage all authorities, organisations and political parties to do so if they are serious about tackling this prejudice.  I certainly would encourage and welcome more awareness seminars to educate society.”

Cllr Richard Gold said:

“It was really good to see Muslim and Jewish members of the forum discussing the history of their communities, giving a valuable insight into the contributions made by both communities, as well as the problems of antisemitism and Islamophobia the speakers and their previous generations have faced. The question and answer session that followed highlighted the current problems of Islamophobia and antisemitism and the need for the definitions for both.”



Follow @MJF_Manchester

The Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester
Established to develop the cultural and social ties between the Muslim and Jewish Communities of Greater Manchester

Tap for top of page