Nisa-Nashim Co-Chairs Retreat 2021

On 13 and 14 November, our Co-Chairs from all around England gathered in London for their annual retreat.

This was part of Nisa-Nashim’s ongoing pioneering work to bring together the Jewish and Muslim communities through the women, a challenge particularly after the flare up of hostilities in Israel/Gaza earlier this year. 

The weekend started with a visit to a Mosque – the Brick Lane Jamme Masjid – to hear the fascinating history of the building and give the Muslim women a chance to pray Isha, the evening prayer, before going for dinner.

This mosque, located in the heart of Tower Hamlets, has a rich history of serving its community since the mid eighteenth century; first as a church, then as a synagogue and now as a mosque, and so it was a meaningful place to start what was to be a weekend of sisterhood, robust discussion and introspection.


The next day saw our women  engage in a session titled “Difficult Conversations and Nisa Nashim” with founder and President of BIMA (Belief in Mediation and Arbitration) Dr Zaza Elsheikh. Her ability to firmly but carefully dissect the issues that she labelled ‘the elephants in the room’ allowed the group the safe space to discuss issues that affect Muslim/Jewish relations, and what tools can be used to effectively work through these.


The group visited Sandy’s Row Synagogue for a tour and a history of London’s oldest surviving and still functioning Ashkenazi synagogue from the President, Harvey Rifkind. 


The afternoon was spent building stronger community bonds, and participating in a social action activity for Mitzvah Day, a day of faith based social action. The women left late on Sunday, full of new ideas to take back to their home town and network. 

Our Director and co-founder, Laura Marks OBE, said “it has never been more important to build bridges between communities than now and I was delighted by the determination of our women to tackle such challenging issues”

Our Chair of trustees, Hifsa Iqbal MBE said “I was so proud of our women and so delighted to be part of this uplifting, positive engagement which, we believe, will bring lasting change.”

Check out some pictures from our wonderful event!

Leaving Hate Behind: An exclusive virtual evening with former white supremacist Lauren Manning

Nisa-Nashim were thrilled to be able to host an interview with Lauren Manning, a former member of the Neo-nazi white supremacist group Blood and Honour. Lauren spoke about her struggle to leave the group and how she now dedicates her time to helping others break away from such a destructive lifestyle.

Jemma from Hope not Hate joined us as well and introduced us to the world of the Far Right. Check out the recording if you would like to listen to this fascinating story!

Laure Manning spoke about her remarkable transformation from a convinced white supremacist to a supporter of Jewish and Muslim women and this very fascinating story attracted a lot of media attention.

Check out some of the articles:




Nisa-Nashim against Hate Crime on Public Transport!

Following a few incidents involving hate crimes on public transport, we decided it was time to act..

Following a few incidents involving hate crimes on public transport in 2018, we wrote to the Department for Transport requesting a meeting and, although it took time for it to be agreed, it did take place last week in London.

We took time to get feedback and thoughts from our networks because we wanted to represent them well and use real examples when speaking.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the CST, Tell Mama and the Sikh Council.

Sikhs, Muslims and Jews are known to be visible on transport and therefore vulnerable to physical and verbal attacks.

We were hosted by the Department for Transport with representatives from the British Transport Police, Transport for London, the Metropolitan Police, the Home Office and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.

The discussion was productive and we were able to give lots of feedback, thoughts and suggestions.

Women are particularly vulnerable and many of our respondents, particularly Muslim women, expressed how unsafe they sometimes feel on the Underground and will now stand back near the wall rather than near the yellow line for fear of being pushed onto the track. We were able to highlight how, in parts of North London, young Jewish students get verbally and sometimes physically abused going to and from school on the buses. We also expressed concern that some of what seem like fantastic schemes to raise awareness, provide reporting mechanisms and generally get public attention about hate crime on public transport – many of those schemes are not known enough by the wider public. The conversations were honest and productive and we are confident that our concerns and suggestions were taken on board and will be acted upon. They very much valued our insight from women in different communities.

One reassuring conversation after the meeting was with a person from TFL who made a point of coming to us and saying that three years ago we had been in a similar meeting and had given lots of feedback and suggestions for consideration then too.  He said that as a direct result of that meeting, many schemes and programmes had been put in place, particularly around community engagement and that had been a great success.

It was good to hear that our interventions then made a tangible impact and we are hopeful that this meeting will have provided useful information that they can use to implement necessary changes.

We will remain in touch with them and will work with all of the partners round the table to continue the dialogue and to share resources through our networks to raise awareness and reassure women in particular that their voices are not being ignored.

Akeela Ahmed – Nisa-Nashim Trustee, Chair of Independent Members of the Govt Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group

Julie Siddiqi – Co-Founder, Nisa-Nashim

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