Updated: Thursday, 23rd November 2017 @ 12:04pm

Europe's 'duty' is to follow Manchester's success in religious harmony – EU chief

Europe's 'duty' is to follow Manchester's success in religious harmony – EU chief

| By Samar Maguire – MM exclusive

Manchester has shown that integration is ‘possible’ and other European countries should follow the city’s ‘successful’ model, according to a leading EU politician after his visit to the North West.

Gianni Pittella, president of the Socialist and Democratic group in the EU, after his visit to the North West, claimed that Manchester's cultural integration had inspired him to share the city's success across the channel.

Mr Pittella's comments come only weeks after figures obtained by MM revealed that racially-motivated attacks shot up by 40% while religiously-motivated attacks rocketed by 51% across Greater Manchester in 2014.

Jewish journalist Jonathan Kalmus illustrated an increase in anti-Semitic attacks by wearing a traditional Jewish head covering called a 'kippah' to test reactions of the public in Manchester.

He was verbally abused within minutes of stepping out of his car.

However Mr Pittella, 56, revealed that after spending time with community representatives in Manchester, he saw a different picture than what is reported by media outlets.

He told MM: “I decided after this day to come again in the summer. I want to have an intense conversation with different groups of Muslim, Catholic, Jewish groups and other people who live in Manchester; because I’ve touched with my hands [after speaking with different representatives] that the integration here is successful.

“I was in the centre for integration, and I realised that I need to take this to the assembly in the European parliament to show that it is possible and in fact a duty for us to work to act in favour of this integration.”

Mr Pittella visited the city to campaign to help MEPs target seats in Manchester, including Afzal Khan MEP and Julie Ward MEP.

During his visit, he spoke with group representatives from the British Muslim Heritage Centre, the Trade Union and the Libyan community.

He also met with Manchester Council Deputy Leader Bernard Priest, and organised a talk with Manchester University students to discuss the benefits of being in the EU.

Image courtesy of the European Parliament, with thanks.