The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, visited the British Muslim Heritage Centre (BMHC) on Friday 22nd March 2019. Prior to addressing the congregation after Jummah (Friday prayers) where he shared his solidarity with the Muslim community, he met with young Muslim women and men to hear about their lived experiences and concerns after the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand.
He also pledged to take the APPG definition of Islamophobia (note 1) to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority for ratification, and promised to ensure that the additional security funding for places of worship, announced by the Home Secretary this week, be made available in a timely manner.
The Mayor, Andy Burnham then addressed the congregation after Friday prayers where he reassured the Muslim community and stated, “I am your Mayor and I want you to know that I am here for you against those that seek to divide us.”
The Chair of BMHC, Nasar Mahmood OBE said, “I would like to thank the Mayor, Andy Burnham for taking time out from his busy calendar to engage with young Muslims and community members at the Friday (Jummah) prayers. His presence assured us all that hate cannot win or divide us. We have strong relationships built over many years with various faith and diverse groups. Together and with the leadership from the Mayor we can and will overcome the hatred that is often used in terrorist attacks to divides us.”
The BMHC Chief Executive Officer, Maqsood Ahmad stated that he was looking forward to the Mayor, Andy Burnham developing an ongoing proactive relationship with young Muslims and the community.
“Our thanks to our partners in supporting this visit GM Citizens and Mosaic. We look forward to working with them again on a sustainable youth leadership programme designed to enhance the skills, qualities and experience of young people to meet current and future challenges facing diverse and faith communities.”
The BMHC has adopted the Islamophobia definition as defined by The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) report 2018:
“Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”
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