A former Lord Mayor of Manchester has branded the BNP as the 'grandchildren of Hitler'.
Coun Afzal Khan says the British National Party share the same ideas as the Nazi Party, who persecuted Jews and many others before and during the Second World War. He was speaking at a meeting on 'community cohesion' at Manchester Jewish Museum on Cheetham Hill Road. The museum is near to where recent anti-terror raids resulted in 12 Pakistani nationals being arrested. They were later released without charge, but are facing deportation.
Coun Khan said: "The rise of the BNP to a level we have not seen for 30 years can strengthen the relationship between the Muslim and Jewish communities. All good, decent people are concerned about this, it is something we share. This is what the BNP are - the grandchildren of Hitler, they share the same ideas, forgetting all humans are the same.
"We all ultimately come from Africa and if you want to be blind to that, it is your problem. Both Jewish and Muslim communities have been victims of extremist elements. There may be political differences over Palestine and Israel, but there are hundreds of years of a strong relationship between the Muslim and Jewish communities. The issue of the BNP affects them both."
The meeting discussed improving relationships in Cheetham Hill, which is home to 23 separate racial groups - and 46 different dialects are spoken. Racist graffiti has recently been daubed on one of the pews at the museum, which is working at promoting tolerance. The meeting was attended by the MP for Blackley, Graham Stringer, as well as museum trustees and directors and curator Alex Grimes.
Director Stuart Hilton said: "Jewish people and the Irish have been in Manchester from the 1750s, so does it make those families not British? I was talking to someone in the Muslim community the other day whose family has lived here three generations. Does that not make them British? Our relations with our Muslim neighbours here are excellent and we believe we can work together to promote understanding of each other. There is a great deal of interaction, but I think the challenge for the future is moving from a state where we are in existence amicably next to each other, to where we cross over the boundary."