President's praise for 'friendly city'

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THE Glasgow Jewish Representative Council's centenary celebrations ended in the splendour of the City Chambers on Monday night.

Glasgow City Council hosted a civic reception for the Rep Council, attended by around 200 people.

Among those present were Lord Provost Sadie Docherty, GCC leader Councillor Gordon Matheson, Public Health minister Maureen Watt MSP representing the Scottish government, Tom Mason MSP and the deacon convenor of the Trades of Glasgow Bishop Idris Jones.

The Lord Provost said: "The Jewish community has contributed so much to Glasgow."

Rep Council president Paul Morron replied: "Glasgow has always been known as the 'friendly city'. We are fortunate to live in a place where diversity is celebrated and not seen as a problem, but as enriching the city.

"It is in this welcoming environment that the Jewish community came here and thrived.

"As we have benefited from Glasgow as a community, so we have tried to give back and we have both, I believe, flourished as a result.

"I marvel at how far the community has come. Because of Glasgow's warmth, people's attachment and fondness for it remains.

"As a community, we have always been active in interfaith and community relations work."

In welcoming "colleagues from the Glasgow Central Mosque", Mr Moron said: "Our relationship has flourished and we realise that the commonalities of our faiths far outweigh our differences elsewhere. That relationship will be enhanced and I am sure we will see a common course between us that will give an important message elsewhere.

"Who would have anticipated that we would have faced an outbreak of antisemitism in our centenary year? However, when the facts became clear, we received strong support from Glasgow City Council and, in particular, from Councillor Gordon Matheson.

"I believe that the relationship between us and the Council is far stronger than it was 12 months ago."

He added: "One hundred years ago, many thousands of Jews came to this city, virtually penniless, fleeing pogroms, antisemitism and persecution.

"We, as a community, remember that time and have empathy for asylum seekers and their plight here today. They are not allowed to work, earn money or receive benefits from the government.

"We decided that our legacy project would be to enter a partnership with Positive Action in Housing.

"Many asylum seekers are destitute. They do not have enough money for housing, basic food or clothing.

"We felt that our gift should be to reach out our hand in friendship and we have agreed to underpin the work to support asylum seekers for several years to come.

"May our community remain strong, active and vibrant. There is so much to look forward to."

A cheque was presented, via the Lord Provost, to Positive Action in Housing director Robina Qureshi.

Centenary committee chairman Daniel Clapham gave the vote of thanks and made a presentation to the Lord Provost.

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