Original writing by Jewish and Muslim women on topics including domestic violence, prayers and football chants ensured a “beautiful” interfaith literary evening at the Manchester Jewish Museum was a roaring success last week.
Almost fifty people attended the event – entitled “When Saira met Sarah” – which was the culmination of a five year interfaith project established by Muslim author Anjum Malik and Jewish author Sherry Ashworth to encourage collaboration between female writers of faith.
The evening, hosted by the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester, featured readings by former Times journalist and British-Pakistani novelist Qaisra Shahra, as well as seven Muslim and Jewish women from the local area.
Manchester is home to the second largest Jewish community in the UK – and five per cent of its population identify as Muslim.
“Emotional, deep, and heart-felt” pieces on the night included an exploration of the lives of Jewish and Muslim staff at Israeli hospital serving both Jews and Arabs, as well as a poem recited in Urdu.
Hailing the event’s success, Dr Jackie Lewis, an executive member of the Muslim Jewish Forum and author of the Israeli hospital story, said those who performed “gave the audience an insight into the deep feelings of women and their wish to get on together in harmony and peace”.
Shamshad Khan, who recited several of her poems, added: “This was a wonderful opportunity to be under the same roof with Jewish and Muslim women sharing our creative cultures.”