Members of different faith groups united in Manchester to counter the increase in antisemitic and Islamophobic attacks that have taken place since October 7.
More than 120 people, including leaders of Menorah and Hale Synagogues and Muslim communities in the area, came together in Hale for a silent vigil for peace organised by the Altrincham Interfaith Group.
“We held a dignified, uplifting, and positive period of silence as we reflected on the conflict in Israel and Gaza,” explained Menorah vice-chair Ann Angel, who was also one of the organisers.
The diverse gathering also listened to speakers, who said that hate and violence had no place within the communities involved.
Imam and surgeon Nasser Kurday, who attended, said afterwards: “There was a collective feeling of uplifted spirits and a hopeful outlook as the vigil was brought to a close.”
Elinor Chohan MBE, a trustee of the British Muslim Heritage Centre in Manchester, said: “It is my sincere hope that these gatherings can serve as a guiding light for our communities to co-exist harmoniously as neighbours and friends.”
In the meantime, Jewish and Muslim leaders planted trees together in Stamford Hill as a means of strengthening ties between different faith groups.
The Interfaith Tree Planting Project is an initiative of Faiths Forum for London. Set up in memory of the forum’s former co-chair, Leonie Lewis, who died in April 2022, the initiative will see 100 trees planted throughout London.
Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE, one of the organisers, said: “Leonie Lewis was a person who cared and worked passionately to strengthen inter-communal endeavours and projects. May this tree symbolise the continued growth and blossoming of this vision.”
Mustafa Field OBE, director of Faiths Forum for London, said: “The trees we are planting together today will serve as a living witness for our children. In difficult times and in a world of tension and strife, these trees will silently tell a story — that we decided to work together, as people of faith and caring communities.”
Since October 7, antisemitic attacks have increased by 564 according to CST, and Islamophobic incidents by more than 600 per cent, said Tell MAMA UK, which monitors and tackles anti-Muslim hatred in the UK.