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Co-Chair Heather Fletcher speaks at Khizra Mosque on Visit My Mosque Day

18 February 2018

Visit My Mosque Day is a national initiative that has been running for four years now. In 2018 over 200 mosques took part, with visitors to mosques including the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

The Forum's Co-Chair Heather Fletcher was invited to speak at Khizra Mosque in Cheetham Hill, Manchester. Her speech had some important messages, and is reproduced below with her permission.

"I was really honoured when asked to speak here at Khizra Mosque’s open day. I admire the work they do both within their own community and also in the wider community helping others.

I have had an association with Khizra Mosque for about 12 years, but it was not the first mosque I visited.

The first mosque I visited was Madina Mosque in Levenshulme. It was 13 years ago this very month. It was at that Mosque that two things happened.

Firstly, listening to the imam, I was surprised but pleased to learn there were so many similarities between Judaism and Islam. I noticed that inside the Mosque resembled inside the Synagogue (prayer times on board, separate seating for men and women).

Secondly on that day 13 years ago I first conversed with Afzal Khan and the late Henry Guterman and June Rosen, Mohammed and Tahara Amin - the founding members of the Muslim Jewish Forum. I found them to be so positive about the possibility of bringing Muslim and Jewish communities together and interfaith work generally, so I decided to join them on the MJF Executive.

Not long after, I became Company Secretary and for the past 3 years I have been Co-Chair of the MJF. Since 2005 our Forum has grown from a handful of friends to 400 people on the mailing list. We have organised about 120 events ranging from picnics to concerts to kosher meals and Asian meals out and annual lawyers’ events. In fact, recently we held our annual iftar and lawyers’ event here at Khizra Mosque and intend to hold both again in 2018

My main message is that there is nothing to be gained by just mixing with your own community in your own little world.

There is everything to be gained by mixing with people from other faiths and cultures and learning from them. Mixing with others enriches your life as the MJF has enriched mine.

A Mosque open day like this one is so important as it shows that Muslim people really want to reach out to others in the wider community and show that there are more similarities than differences between us all. We are part of the same family, the human family.

Isolation and ignorance leads to intolerance and bigotry but mixing with each other and learning from one another leads to a happier, peaceful, and more cohesive society

And finally, how can you love your neighbour if you don’t even bother to get to know him? So, my message is reach out and get to know all your neighbours, and love them, so we have a more harmonious world."

 

 

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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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