Blears backs tol­er­ance plan

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY LIFE - BY JONATHAN KAL­MUS

COM­MU­NI­TIES SEC­RE­TARY Hazel Blears vis­ited the Manch­ester Jewish Mu­seum last Fri­day to ex­press back­ing for its plans for a cen­tre of tol­er­ance on its Cheetham Hill site.

Ms Blears spent 90 min­utes at the mu­seum, dis­cussing the “high pri­or­ity” project with mu­seum di­rec­tor Stu­art Hil­ton.

The cen­tre will be the first of its kind in the UK and is based on the Mu­seum of Tol­er­ance es­tab­lished in Los An­ge­les by the Si­mon Wiesen­thal Cen­tre. The high-tech Amer­i­can com­plex at­tracts 300,000 vis­i­tors an­nu­ally and over 130,000 po­lice of­fi­cers have gone through its tol­er­ance train­ing pro­gramme.

Manch­ester is look­ing to de­velop some­thing sim­i­lar and is work­ing with the Lon­don-based com­pany which de­signed the LA cen­tre.

Mr Hil­ton told the JC: “The gov­ern­ment made a blun­der in think­ing that ev­ery­body can be the same. There is a much stronger case for so­cial co­he­sion. If we are go­ing to live in harmo- ny, we need to do some­thing about it.” He ad­vised Ms Blears that the plan was to com­plete the cen­tre in time for the 2012 Lon­don Olympics.

Cheetham Hill, once a thriv­ing Jewish area, now houses a large Mus­lim com­mu­nity and other eth­nic mi­nori­ties.

The mu­seum’s site is thus seen as an ideal lo­ca­tion for a cen­tre deal­ing with com­mu­nity re­la­tions.

PHOTO: LAWRENCE PUR­CELL

Hazel Blears be­ing shown around some of the mu­seum’s ex­hibits

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