SCoJeC, together with the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, was delighted to arrange for a special event in Giffnock Synagogue as part of "The Great Get Together" a UK-wide initiative inspired by Jo Cox MP, who was killed in June 2016. It is based on a rejection of divisive politics and a desire to bring diverse communities together, to celebrate the things that unite us.
This year the Great Get Together took place on the weekend of 22–24 June, marking what would have been Jo's 44th Birthday. Several activities took place in and around Glasgow over the weekend, including an interfaith event organised by Anas Sarwar MSP on Saturday, at which representatives of Scotland's faith communities were asked to sign the simple but strong statement:
"We can't leave the fight against all forms of prejudice and hate to individual communities.
It's a fight for all of us."
As the Jewish community was not able to participate on Shabbat, we agreed with Anas that he would meet representatives of the Jewish Community on Friday to enable us to sign and support the statement.
We were pleased to host Anas and two members of his team for a short tour of Giffnock Shul, led by Rabbi Rubin and Co-President of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council Evy Yedd. The tour of the shul highlighted similarities between the Jewish and Muslim communities and was extremely informative.
Those present, who included representatives of Interfaith Glasgow and the Jewish Leadership Council, then signed the declaration, and this was followed by lunch and discussion in the Jewish Community Centre. The conversation continued over lunch, and we discussed issues faced by the Jewish community and other minority communities, interfaith activities, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and how we can best work together.
Glasgow MSP Anas Sarwar, chair of the Cross Party Group on Tackling Islamophobia, said: "The Great Get Together initiative brought together communities which may not otherwise be connected. In memory of Jo, it provided a platform for people to focus not on the things that divide us, but the things we have in common – in order to build communities that are closer, more inclusive and more resilient to the threat of division.
"Our pledge wall was signed by people from all faiths and none, and I'm delighted the Jewish community was able to take part. There are major challenges facing society with everyday racism, sexism, homophobia, antisemitism, Islamophobia and more, and this was an opportunity for different groups in society to demonstrate that the fight against all forms of prejudice and hate is a fight for all of us."
SCoJeC Director Ephraim Borowski commented, "The murder of Jo Cox was a tragedy, but it is good to see people of all backgrounds coming together, not only to honour her memory, but to perpetuate her tireless and impassioned campaigning for the principle that humanity "has much more in common than divides us", and we are delighted to have had the opportunity to be part of this nation-wide celebration of the diversity of modern Britain."