CAIRO – Reflecting a deep-rooted relationship, a synagogue in the northern British city of Bradford has appointed its first Muslim member, in a decision passed unanimously by its ruling body.
"We have already established close links with the Muslim community, and thought it was about time they were formally represented on the council," the synagogue's chairman, Rudi Leavor, told Asian Image on Tuesday, January 27.
"I have known Jani for many years, and within ten seconds of me asking him, he said 'yes'.
The synagogue’s Muslim member is Jani Rashid, a member of the Friends of the Synagogue in Bowland Street, Manningham."The council all said adding a Muslim member to the group was a fantastic idea, and it is a matter of forging even closer links with that community."
In March 2013, Bradford Muslims, including Bradford Council for Mosques, raised funds to preserve the last remaining synagogue in the city.
"Jani has been a long-term ally and significant supporter of the synagogue for some years now, as part of an increasingly large group of local Muslims who have supported it in many ways, including with significant financial help," said the spokesman.A spokesman for the synagogue in Bowland Street, Manningham, said the addition of Rashid to the council marked another chapter in the "strikingly close relationship" between the Jewish and Muslim communities in Bradford.
"Over the last few years, as the synagogue has increasingly suffered from financial difficulties, the local Muslim community has been an unfailing partner in the fight to keep the building open and flourishing.
"At a time when both the Jewish and Muslim communities are reeling from the impact of the horrific attacks in Paris, the positive and supportive relationship between Bradford’s Jews and Muslims has grown another step closer."
Rashid said he was "delighted" to take up a seat on the synagogue's board.
"I am a firm believer in openness within and between communities," Rashid, who is also head of diversity and cohesion at Bradford Council's children's services, said.
"This helps us to respect one another’s diversity and, just as importantly, to share in our common beliefs of decency, respect, and compassion for our fellow human beings.
"The Jewish community is a small and ageing one in Bradford, and we are a large community, so supporting each other in this way can only be a positive thing.
"The legacy left by the Jewish community with the synagogue is important, and we need to work to get funding to keep it in Bradford.
"I will endeavor to do all I can to support that."
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.7 million.
There are nearly 267,000 Jews in the country.
In 2011, think tank Demo found that Muslims in the United Kingdom are more patriotic than the rest of population.
Responding to the statement “I am proud to be a British citizen”, 83% of Muslims said they are proud of being British.