Bradford’s Muslim community has pledged financial support for urgent building work at Bradford Reform Synagogue.
Zulfiqar Karim, general secretary of Bradford’s Council for Mosques, accompanied shul chairman Rudi Leavor and council member Alan Harris to a Bradford Council meeting to apply for funding for the Moorish building in the city centre.
Mr Karim said the synagogue was a “beautiful piece of architecture that needs to be protected. It needs to be made watertight and that had to happen quickly.
“I took it upon myself to raise cash in the Muslim community. Rudi was in a dilemma and he must have said a prayer as I turned up. There is an ageing population of Jews in the community. Religion does not come into it.
It is a wonderful building that happens to be a place of worship. Our community should stand together.”
He noted that, following the closure of Bradford Hebrew Congregation at the end of last year, “this is the last remaining synagogue in Bradford and it would be a real shame if there was nothing there to show the history of the community”.
Mr Leavor estimated that the Grade ll listed synagogue needs up to £100,000 to repair the leaking roof and damaged guttering. It also needs to provide wheelchair access to the Bowland Street site, which opened in 1880.
He added that Khalid Pervaiz, the owner of Drummond Mills, 50 yards from the synagogue, had offered shul-goers use of the mill’s car park. “We are thrilled to have established closer relations with the Muslim community.”
The shul currently has 40, mostly elderly members many of whom live as far afield as York, Halifax and Huddersfield. It has generated income through a Friends of Bradford Reform group, formed three years ago, that has 60 supporters worldwide who pay a £60 annual membership fee. “It all helps,” Mr Leavor said.
He was pleased that local Respect MP George Galloway had tabled an Early Day Motion in the Commons drawing attention to the help for the Jewish community by Bradford’s Muslims.