UK: Student peacemakers to calm Muslim-Jew tension on campus

UK: Student peacemakers to calm Muslim-Jew tension on campus

Via London Evening Standard:

Muslim and Jewish students trained in "conflict resolution" have been recruited by universities to help calm tensions between the groups.

The "campus ambassadors" will start work tomorrow at 10 institutions, including four in London as well as Oxford and Cambridge.

The Coexistence Trust, a charity that works to reduce Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, is funding the project.

Twenty students will undergo monthly training sessions, featuring peacemaking and leadership skills. They will be expected to set up projects that both Muslims and Jews can get involved with. Shahnaz Ahsan, from the Coexistence Trust, said: "We hope this will create a new tone of respectful debate on campus and avoid the polarisation we have seen in past years."

A report by counter-extremism think tank Quilliam has accused some members of City University's Islamic Society of intimidating Jewish students, as well as gays and women. The report also calls for every university to employ a religious watchdog to check extremists are not being invited to campuses.

Ms Ahsan said: "There are so many factors behind radicalisation. University is a time when students interact with people from different backgrounds, often for the first time. We hope this will normalise relations."

She said Muslims and Jews could join forces in many areas, such as campaigning about halal and kosher foods or not putting exams on Fridays: "A lot want the opportunity to get to know each other but don't know where to start."