Faith trip banned from religious visit

An interfaith tour group of 60 people, including a vicar and two uniformed policemen ,were barred from a Manchester synagogue over security concerns.

Members of the group were hoping to get a rare glimpse of Higher Crumpsall and Higher Broughton Synagogue's listed building during a heritage open day on Sunday. The annual multifaith Cheetham Festival saw the synagogue open its doors on Sunday morning together with local churches, mosques and the Manchester Jewish Museum.

But the synagogue said security could not be arranged at short notice for the group's afternoon visit.

Director of Jewish Heritage UK Sharman Kadish, who was to give the guided tour, said Higher Crumpsall had gone a bit over the top.

I thought a bit of flexibility was in order

She said: "The shul said there was this red alert from the CST and that it hadn't been notified of this event. Something had gone wrong in the organisation. It was a zero terrorist threat from a group of people, including a local vicar. I thought a bit of flexibility was in order."

Higher Crumpsall's Rabbi Arnold Saunders said that while he was not present on Sunday, he understood the group had tried to book a visit only three hours before and security could not be arranged in time. He said: "CST were not able to help out. Had the group come in the morning, I'm sure they would have been welcomed."

The CST's Mark Gardner said: "Security is high at this time of year during the chagim, but there were no further alerts above that. CST was not asked to provide security at the event in question."

    Last updated: 11:15am, September 17 2010