Muslim and Jewish students forge friendship network

Harriet Swain, The Guardian, Jan.24, www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jan/24/muslim-jewish-students-friendship

At universities around the UK, Muslim and Jewish students are finding common ground, with the help of the Coexistence Trust charity.

Sara Amin-Nejad, an Iranian-born Muslim studying pharmacy at Manchester University, has never experienced any hostility from a Jewish student. But she has never met one either.

That was why she signed up to be part of a new team, being launched tomorrow at the House of Lords, of 18 Muslim and Jewish students working as “campus ambassadors” at 10 universities around the UK to bring people from the two faiths together.

“I thought it would be a really good opportunity to meet new people,” she says. “I’ve never had the chance to speak to a Jewish student before.”

The idea is that the team of students will act as role models for good inter-faith relations. They will receive monthly training sessions in leadership, strategy and conflict resolution and be expected to organise activities on their campuses, such as art and drama projects, and volunteering in the community, that involve Muslims and Jews working together.

“At the moment there is a lot of misunderstanding and miscommunication and a lot of prejudice, and often it is between people who have never met,” Sara says. “Once you show people you can be friends – not just co-exist but be friends – then others will follow.”

Read the complete article here.