Hate can only be rebelled with love. This is the motto that united Muslim and Jewish women in Birmingham as they joined forces to remove hate graffiti that appeared on a wall in the city.
Showing they are “stronger together”, Muslim and Jewish women, including the city’s only female rabbi Margaret Jacobi removed abusive words reading “Die Jewish”.
They replaced it with a positive art depicting a rainbow and a message reading: “Standing Together Against Hate – Jewish and Muslim women together.”
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“This is our message to those who seek to divide us. This is what being an ally looks like,” local resident Benita Wishart told I Am Birmingham.
“We stand together in Birmingham. Hate crime has no place in our city. Our citizens value diversity and stand side by side.
“There must be zero tolerance of such hate against any group.”
Birmingham Selly Oak MP Steve McCabe urged constituents to remain vigilant against “far-right” threats.
“Shocked to see vile anti-Semitic graffiti in residential area of constituency,” he tweeted.
“Good response from Nisa-Nashim, Birmingham Council, West Midlands Police who sent officer to remove it immediately. Could be one off but must remain vigilant to threat of far right extremists.”
British Jews number around 265,000 with the UK having the 5th largest Jewish community worldwide.
On the other hand, estimates in 2018 suggested a total of about 3.4 million Muslims all over the UK.
Against a backdrop of an increase in hate crime of 19% (Home Office figures), and an atmosphere of mistrust, exacerbated by a lack of meaningful personal contacts, Laura Marks OBE and Julie Siddiqi launched Nisa-Nashim in July 2015.
The idea was to bring the Jewish and Muslim communities together through the women, by building understanding and friendships.
Nisa-Nashim does this through a range of shared initiatives at the grass roots level all around the UK, led by a peer-mentoring model using co-chair partnerships of Jewish and Muslim women.