A panel of prominent British Muslim leaders addressed 350 students at JCoSS for Inter Faith Week.

Speaking to GCSE pupils learning about Islam as part of their Religious Education course, the panel, composed of representatives from Sunni and Shia’a Islam, discussed topics including British Muslim identity, faith schools, and freedom of religion. They also took questions from members of the audience.

Guests at the event included Shaykh Yazdani, Chairman of London Fatwa Council, as well as Dr Yasmin Drabu, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, and Sayed Youif Al-Khoei, Director of Public Affairs at Al-Khoei Foundation.

Ben Abram, Informal Jewish Educator at school who invited JIF to organise the project told Jewish News: “Students were exposed to a fantastic range of leaders from across the Muslim community and had the opportunity to ask them in depth questions to build on their learning. This was a unique opportunity which was very well received by our students.”

Mehri Niknam, Executive Director of the Joseph Interfaith Foundation (JIF), who organised the event praised its success: “I was delighted that there was a face to face meeting between the students and Muslims who broke the general misconception about Muslim religious leaders as being antediluvian in their presentation of Islam, and, of Muslim women being male-oppressed females tied to kitchen.”

Jewish students at JCoSS raise their hands to ask a question to the panelists

Speaking after the event, panelist Dr Yasmin Drabu said she was “Very proud to be part of this dialogue – our children are our future and in this globalised age, our children need to make sense of their surroundings by meeting and asking questions with real people.”

Sayed Housif Al-Khobei added that “in order to challenge rising racism including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, it is crucial for the younger generation to have a better understanding and knowledge of other faiths.”

The visit was organised by Joseph Interfaith Foundation, the only national joint Jewish-Muslim interfaith charity in the UK.