MANCHESTER - In a move to break barriers between followers of the two faiths, two Islamic and Jewish schools have twinned in the British city of Manchester to help promote a better understanding between Muslims and Jews in the country.
"It allows, if nothing else, the new generation to see each other in a good light," Tahira Parveen, head of Religious Studies at Manchester Islamic High School for Girls, told the BBC News Online.
"These are the young people who will be the teachers and leaders of the future. I think links like this are very important."
UK Celebrates Muslim Heroism
Islamic Schools Rated Britain's Best
Britain Awaits First Free Islamic School
The Islamic school has twinned with the Jewish King David High School in Crumpsall.
Under the project, students from the two schools will exchange visits to better know each others.
Joined lessons are also planned to help promote a better understanding of the two communities.
As part of the project, a group of ten Muslim pupils attended a class at the Jewish school, where they talked about their religion.
The students also used the visit to explain the meaning behind wearing hijab and the Muslim prayers.
They also replied to questions by Jewish students about the weekly Friday prayers and the mixing between males and females in Islam.
"We have two communities that have so much in common," said Rabbi Benjamin Rickman, head of religious education at King David school.
"There are so many similarities, philosophically, theologically and culturally but the two communities are divided by so much more.
"I actually want to change the way we think in Manchester."
Pupils hailed the school visit for helping create a better understanding about each others.
"We will see each other in a different way," Amara, a Muslim pupil, told the BBC.
Her colleague Fatima said the visit had been a chance to "solve some misconceptions and prejudices that people have about Islam".
Jewish pupils echoed similar opinions.
One of the pupils, Sam, said it had been a "special and historic day for this school and the two communities".
He added he had "found it very informative" and that "there needs to be more interaction and more education like this".
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.5 million, mostly of Indian, Pakistani and Bengali backgrounds.
There are nearly 267,000 Jews in the country.
British Muslims have long complained of media campaigns to tarnish their image.
A recent government-commissioned study has found that a torrent of negative and imbalance stories in the British media demonize the sizable Muslim minority and their faith by spreading prejudices and portraying them as the enemy within.An earlier British study had accused the media and film industry of perpetuating Islamophobia and prejudice by projecting Muslims as violent, dangerous and threatening people.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net