When Mohammed Amin arrived in the UK in 1952, he was a screaming toddler who only wanted one thing…‘to return home to Pakistan’.
Today, with dozens of strings to his ever growing bow, the now 65-year-old is proud to call Manchester his ‘home’ with neighbours of all cultures, backgrounds and religions standing firmly beside him.
Earlier this month, the Pakistani-born Muslim Mancunian was awarded an MBE for his services to Community Cohesion and Inter-faith Relations in Greater Manchester.
His work in establishing the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester in 2005 is just one example of his cohesion work and is reminiscent of his father’s actions some six decades prior – when he helped to found the Manchester Central Mosque.
Determined to break down barriers between different faith groups, Mohammed has seen the city change its face many times during his residency here.
Upon receiving the letter to acknowledge his MBE, he said: “Today’s Mancunians have many different ethnic and religious backgrounds, making it vital to focus on what unites us.
“Helping to start and run the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester has taken me to places I would never otherwise have gone, and brought me many new friends.
“Accordingly, I was delighted to learn that I was going to be awarded an MBE for my community service.”
Although much of his working life was taken up by his passion for accountancy and finance, it is in his voluntary roles that his natural talent for bringing people together has really come to the fore and where he has been able to break down so many barriers.
As co-chair of the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester, Mohammed has helped forge friendships between different faith groups, whilst his inclusion in groups and associations across Manchester has continued well into his retirement.
“Over the last 11 years, in Manchester…together [we have] created something worthwhile and enduring with the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester,” he added.
“The wonderful thing about the UK is that it doesn’t matter where you were born, what your ethnic group is, what your religious beliefs are, provided you are willing to sign up to the values that Britain stands for then you can be as British as anyone else. That is the one thing we can all agree upon.”
Mohammed now hopes others will take inspiration from his royal recognition as the memory of that homesick two-year-old in 1952 becomes ever more opaque.
“The purpose of the Honours system is of course to thank recipients for their services to the community and also to encourage others to serve our country,” he added.
“I hope this award has that effect on my family, friends and others who know me.
“At times like this, one’s parents come to mind. Sadly they died many years ago but I know they would have been immensely proud.”