Saturday 20 April 2019

Faith and Friendship

Launched in 2015, Nisa-Nashim is a network of Muslim and Jewish women across the UK.  The organization Nisa-Nashim, the Urdu word and Hebrew word for women, was formed to bring the Jewish and Muslim communities in Britain closer together.  In the words of co-founder Laura Marks
Our message has always been reducing hatred and reducing ignorance that leads to hatred, but our primary focus is on Islamophobia and antisemitism.”  

Here in Leeds we have one of the more than 24 groups that exist in the UK.  Our mission is to bring our communities together and promote ways in which Jewish and Muslim women can understand that their similarities are greater than their differences.   Nisa-Nashim are now working towards setting up student groups too.

Members of our local group has visited each other’s places of worship, stood side-by-side at Holocaust remembrance services, celebrated each other’s festivals, built personal friendships and held discussions and picnics.  Naturally, all activities involve delicious, vegetarian foods. 

Nisa-Nashim ensure their voices are heard through the media.  At this year’s Nisa-Nashim conference held in April, Faith and Friendship: Shaping the Future Together, high profile representatives from politics, the police and the media spoke, as well as Muslim and Jewish women who have found success in their field and can be instrumental in empowering others.
As you would expect from an all-female gathering, the atmosphere at our meetings is lively and loud.  However, we are like-minded people who are comfortable to learn about and celebrate each other’s cultures.  Perhaps there is a need for Nisa-Nashim to widen its audience to reduce ignorance and hatred in society but, if anyone can do it, women can.

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I have always been impressed by the architecture in the centre of the maritime city of Hull, especially the old buildings with their carving...