High hopes for UK’s first Jewish-Muslim women’s conference

The conference, based around the idea of 'changing the narrative', will bring Jewish and Muslim women together to discuss a range of issues.


The first interfaith conference between Jewish and Muslim women will be taking place today, and has been described as “ground-breaking”.

Nisa-Nashim, the Jewish-Muslim women’s network, is holding the conference at Westminster University, with the theme of the conference being “changing the narrative.”

The conference, which over 150 women have signed up for, will include ten different workshops, each co-presented by Jewish and Muslim women, on diverse issues including “working with faith institutions”, “community organising”, and “women’s prayer and voices.”

Jewish speakers are will include Dina Brawer, UK founder of JOFA (the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance), Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers of the Movement for Reform Judaism and Marie van der Zyl, Vice President of the Board of Deputies. 

Representatives of the Community Security Trust and its Muslim counterpart, Tell Mama, are also due to take part in panel discussions, as well as staffers from a range of other Jewish, Muslim and interfaith organisations.

Laura Marks OBE, the co-founder of Nisa-Nashim, expressed confidence that this would be “a ground-breaking event.

“Women play a key role in both the Jewish and Muslim communities, though often with a quieter voice and less publicly,” she said.

“By bringing people together we are showcasing the quality of our women, their interest in the key issues of our times, and their ability and willingness to change the negative narrative.”

Julie Siddiqi, the other half of the Nisa-Nashim founding duo, spoke of the conference as “a chance to bring Jewish and Muslim women together in one place, to meet maybe for the first time, and find new and different ways to do things in our communities.

“We can learn from each other and we can start to tackle serious community challenges together,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to exploring this at the conference and beyond.”

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