‘The biggest British Syrian event ever’ took place on Sunday, as hundreds of people came to show support in face of the current situation in Syria at The British Muslim Heritage Centre.
It was a day to enjoy the culture, history and current affairs of Syria, with something for everyone to enjoy, from the numerous food stalls to traditional dancing and arts and craft stalls.
Basil Hatahet, one of the organisers of the event, said: “We want to raise awareness within the British public about the suffering of the victims in Syria. We will raise money, but it is not the main objective. We hope for the British government to increase pressure to reduce the violence in Syria.”
Mr Hatahet was against the idea of a no-fly zone and any foreign intervention, as were some of the guests.
Others, such as Barry Woodline, from Salford, a member of the British Libyan Solidarity Campaign, were in favour of a no-fly zone.
Mr Woodline said: “There needs to be a collective response. A no-fly zone is the only way to stop the killing. This regime is not prepared to give way.”
MPs Tony Lloyd, Sir Gerald Kaufman and John Leech, as well as Councillor M Afzal Khan and Amnesty International, gave talks in solidarity with the campaign.
Sir Gerald Kaufman, MP for Manchester Gorton, said: “Now it is time for the UN and the EU to impose economic sanctions on Syria, so it feels the outrage of the world community. Words alone will not have any affect.”
Saad Sadiq, from Trafford and a member of Libyan Relief, said the situation in Syria was similar to that of Libya, saying they are both ruled by ‘brutal dictators’.
“We feel very much for the Syrian people,” he said. “The Syrian situation is the closest to the Libyan one.”
He added: “It’s a very complex situation. I just pray that something will be done.”
Many people came with their families to enjoy the activities that were on offer. Sameen Siddiqui, 19, of Old Trafford, came with her family.
She said: “We came to try different food and learn something.”
Emma Lindley, 32, from Whalley Range, was told about the event by a friend and came to learn more about the crisis in Syria, as she did not know much about it beforehand.
The British Muslim Heritage Centre will also be hosting a similar event for Libya this Sunday.