Muslim and Jewish women rally on Hampstead Heath for peace
- Credit: Sally Patterson
Muslim and Jewish women gathered on Hampstead Heath to call for peace, following a turbulent fortnight for both communities.
Nearly 30 women from across London braved the rain on Sunday afternoon (May 23) to join the event organised by women's interfaith network Nisa-Nashim.
The gathering was part of the charity's Language of Sisterhood campaign, encouraging people to use "positive, kind and caring" language rather than the "prevailing language of hate and aggression".
Co-founder Laura Marks OBE said: “Until we are able to hear narratives about this conflict that differ from our own, as well as to hear the pain of all those affected by it, the conflict is going to continue to play out here in the UK.
"By using thoughtful, considerate language and ending the angry rhetoric, we believe we are more likely to hear each other and to connect.”
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Chair of trustees Hifsa Haroon Iqbal stressed the challenges of maintaining friendships in "trying times", and said the recent escalation of events in the Middle East has been "devastating".
She added: "The unnecessary loss of lives, especially of children, has been hard to witness.
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"But it is at times like this that as British Muslims and British Jews, as mothers and sisters, we do not allow those elements in our society, who have consistently sought to divide us, succeed."
The event saw women from Hampstead Garden Suburb, Golders Green, Edgware, Southgate and Bushey - many with their daughters - come together to share mint tea and brownies as they campaigned for peace.
Earlier on Sunday, 50 Nisa-Nashim co-chairs from around the UK joined a virtual event to discuss their feelings around the Israel/ Palestine conflict in a "safe and inclusive" environment.
The space aimed to give the women an opportunity to talk about how the conflict made them feel, and also hear views from women from the other faith group.
Laura said: "Bringing our co-chairs together in one space, sharing their pain about the situation in Israel/ Palestine felt like a crucial start to the healing process.
"We recognise that we are thousands of miles from the conflict itself, but are determined to use our voices to reduce the climate of hate and fear it is having on Jews and Muslims living in Britain, which threatens to drive us apart."