‘We pray for hope’: Manchester’s Muslim and Jewish communities unite in wake of Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire

By John Paul Shammas

The ceasefire saving Israel and Palestine seemingly from the brink of all-out war is being praised by Manchester’s Muslim and Jewish communities.

Bloodshed across Gaza and the West Bank region was claiming hundreds of lives, and now both sides of the communities in Manchester are urging cultural tolerance.

Afzal Khan and Jonny Wineberg, who together co-chair the Muslim Jewish Forum for Greater Manchester, told MM of their ‘great sadness’ over the loss of life and of their passion and commitment towards peace. 

The forum is a non-political organisation that looks to develop close cultural and social ties between the Muslim and Jewish Communities of Greater Manchester.

Mr Khan said: “The situation in Gaza and Southern Israel has caused us great sadness. The loss of life of innocent civilians is a tragedy for those affected.

“We welcome the recent ceasefire and hope that all sides will now work towards a permanent peace, that harmony will replace discord, and hope will supplant fear.”

The conflict lasted from 14 to 21 November, with Palestinian and Israeli accounts of the exact casualties differing, but here in Manchester the Muslim and Jewish communities are presenting a united front.

“We condemn those who would use this conflict to espouse anti-Semitic or Islamophobic views,” Mr Wineberg told MM.

“Our response is to reaffirm our commitment to positive relationships, looking for what unites us, not what divides us and emphasising the huge commonalities between our two great faiths.

“We will continue to celebrate our shared values and common Abrahamic tradition and promote a better mutual understanding of our respective faiths within our communities and to the wider community.”

Photo courtesy of Israeli Defence Force, with thanks.

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