Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush has called on Jews and Muslims to stand together on issues including halal and shechitah, circumcision and the current anger surrounding coroner services, and to marginalise extremists.
Jonathan, along with Vice President Marie van der Zyl, was in Manchester for a two-day programme of meetings with Muslim community leaders and schoolchildren.
Jonathan said: “This is the continuation of strong, constructive engagement with Muslim figures around the country, tackling the big issues and saying the things that need to be said. Our goal is to strengthen the middle ground and to marginalise the extremists.”
Jonathan and Marie met Imam Irfan Chishti of Manchester Central Mosque – one of the largest in Manchester. During the meeting Imam Chishti said: “I’m sick and tired of my faith being hijacked”. He spoke passionately about the anti-extremist work that he leads within his community.
Later, Imam Chishti and Jonathan Arkush answered questions about Judaism and Islam from a group of primary school children who were visiting the mosque.
Jonathan also spoke to students from the Manchester Islamic High School for Girls who were visiting the Board of Deputies Jewish Living Experience exhibition which is currently on display at Manchester Cathedral.
Marie van der Zyl, along with Michael Rubinstein of the Representative Council of Greater Manchester and Region, met MEP Wajid Khan, who pledged his support for our community in the fight against antisemitism.
Other meetings included a visit to Darul Aman Ahmaddiya Mosque, talks with Chief Inspector Umer Khan of Greater Manchester Police and novelist Qaisra Shahraz.
Jonathan and Marie spoke about anti Muslim hate to Dr Nasser Kurdy, a surgeon who treated victims of the Manchester bomb attack and who was later himself stabbed outside his mosque.
The Board of Deputies has a long track record of standing with Muslim communities in the fight against anti-Muslim hatred. We protested against an article in The Sun, which called for a solution to “The Muslim Problem”; defended the Golders Green Islamic centre from an anti-Muslim campaign; and showed solidarity following the terror attack on Muslim worshippers in Finsbury Park.
Photo: Girls from the Manchester Islamic High School for Girls stand under a chuppah (wedding canopy) at the Board of Deputies Jewish Living Experience exhibition at Manchester Cathedral