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February 26, 2013 2:53 pm

Exchange Project in England Allows Muslim and Jewish Students to Mix

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Manchester Town Hall. Photo: Wikipedia

A twinning project in Manchester, England is promoting the cultural exchange between Muslim and Jewish high school students  in the hopes that it will improve relations between members of the two communities.

According to the BBC, the Jewish King David High School in Crumpsall has opened its doors for the first time to pupils from the Manchester Islamic High School for Girls in Chorlton-cum-Hardy. A recent discussion saw Muslim pupils attend an assembly with Jewish children where both groups discussed their respective backgrounds.

King David’s Head of Religious Education, Rabbi Benjamin Rickman told the BBC he has said he has high hopes for the project.

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“We have two communities that have so much in common; there are so many similarities, philosophically, theologically and culturally but the two communities are divided by so much more,” he said.

“I actually want to change the way we think in Manchester.

“It upsets me greatly that there is ignorance and prejudice and I want to create a situation where we can walk down each other’s streets and be welcomed without the looks and ignorance.”

Head of Religious Studies at Manchester Islamic High School for Girls, Tahira Parveen, also believes the project could have a positive impact.

“It allows, if nothing else, the new generation to see each other in a good light,” she said.

“These are the young people who will be the teachers and leaders of the future. I think links like this are very important.”

One student, Amara, told the BBC the project was good because “we will see each other in a different way,” while her friend Fatima said it had been a chance to “solve some misconceptions and prejudices that people have about Islam.”

There was positivity too amongst the Jewish students – one pupil, Sam, said it had been a “special and historic day for this school and the two communities.”

He added he had “found it very informative” and that “there needs to be more interaction and more education like this.”

In 2011 Manchester had the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents of any place in England.

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  • Chaya

    Hinei ma tov u’manayim … yeah. sure.

    • Jerry Hersch

      Someday Chaya..someday

  • aall55

    I wished this idea would have come from Muslims.

    It seems that it is always from the Jews side that the effort to”understand and be more tolerant of each other” comes from.

    In other words there is no point to beat a dead horse.

  • Jerry Hersch

    It would be well to have an outreach into the Irish areas as well.
    About half of the anti-Semitic incidents happened in the Salford region of Nanchester -a predominantly blue collar area with pockets of affluence.Salford has about 200,000 inhabitants( including 5000 Jews and half that number of Moslems).
    On the whole the manchester area has 2 1/2 million residents about 5% Moslem,1% Jewish.
    Throughout the UK both Moslems and Jews have been targets.