Nisa-Nashim, the new Muslim-Jewish network for women, landed in Leeds recently.
The first meeting of Nisa-Nashim, the new project to bring together women from the Jewish and Muslim communities of Leeds, was launched at The Shine Centre in Harehills recently.
Nisa-Nashim is a network created for Jewish and Muslim women in the UK to celebrate their shared roots. This includes friendship walks, picnics and halal-kosher food evenings, with a focus on highlighting the many similarities between their faiths, and the Leeds venture plans to follow suit.
Around 80 women attended the launch event, which also saw Julie Siddiqui and Laura Marks, the founders of the original Nisa-Nashim network in London, in attendance.
Supported by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government, Nisa-Nashim’s branch in the city will be co-chaired by Salma Arif, Labour councillor for Gipton and Harehills, and Hilary Curwen, daughter of the late Leslie Silver OBE.
“The need to bring the Jewish and Muslim communities together has never been greater,” said Laura. “What is so wonderful about Nisa-Nashim is that the women simply love getting to know each other, building trust and solid friendships so that politics, suspicion and bad feelings simply curl up and leave the room.”
Salma said she was thrilled at the turnout for the launch, adding that there was an amazing atmosphere: “There was a real appetite for dialogue within the Muslim and Jewish communities.”
“The Leeds event reinforced our belief that this approach can really work and challenged the traditional ways in which both communities have operated in the past,” concluded Laura.
To find out more about Nisha-Nashim and the network’s next events and meetings, visit Nisanashim.org.