Zimam’s current projects: Ramadan Round-up

Community work with fasting Jenin residents

Zimam’s training and debate programmes were busy throughout the holy month of Ramadan, with training sessions and debates staged all over the country. Here we round up a few highlights.

In Gaza, Zimam organised a town hall meeting focused on the issue of factionalism within the Palestinian political sphere. With numerous political figures in attendance, including the head of the Independent Palestinian Party, Dr Nabil Al-Louh, discussion focused on political extremism and the importance of bringing young people into the national political debate.

“We need to start giving young Palestinians a chance to become active members of the community. Zimam focuses on providing young Palestinians with the right tools to speak up and talk about our national agenda. Palestinian political parties should do the same. There is room for everyone in our democracy.” — Atta Masri, Zimam Co-Ordinator, Gaza.

Discussions in Gaza were echoed during the Moderates Talk programme with youth leaders in Bethlehem, where many agreed that ending Fatah-Hamas factionalism is a crucial step on the road to independence.

In Jenin, Zimam promoted its clerical programming by partnering with the Ministry of Religion (Awqaf) and a local female imam. The workshop, well attended by local Palestinian women, explored the role of women in Islam and their importance as peacemakers and challengers to religious extremism.

Discussing the bombings in Manchester, UK, this summer, the female imam said: “I am horrified by these acts. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for the families of the victims”, said the Imam. “These acts of terror neither represent our religion or our culture. We can’t accept it and we must work to end it.”

During the third week of Ramadan, Zimam activists organized a community event in Hebron for local families. Alongside an array of cultural and educational activities, Zimam had the opportunity to connect with the local community and discuss the campaign against violent extremism.

Local co-ordinator Nader Al-Amleh observed: “There is a huge gap between the public and non-government institutions in our country. We want to close this gap. We are part of the community and we are only working to improve the lives of people.”

In the village of Faqoua in the northern West Bank, Zimam celebrated the spirit of the holy month by distributing food and drink to local inhabitants taking the fast. The event provided an opportunity to partner with the local council — in an area that has suffered from frequent demolitions by the Israeli authorities — to discuss social and political issues with inhabitants.

Training session with political groups in Gaza

Finally, back in Jenin the focus of Zimam’s work during Ramadan was on community work with other local groups and charities. Voluntary work is a key part of Zimam’s work, drawing together various groups and demographics from local society. Among the projects was a community event in Jenin’s refugee camp to support local shop owners:

“We want to reach out to local shop owners in our camp who we believe are the backbone of our economy”, said Rahmeh, a Zimam activist. “In Ramadan we want to set a good example for other young Palestinians in our community. We want them to understand that they have an important role to play and that they should take the initiative.”

Want to find out more about Zimam’s work? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and sign our petition calling for religious tolerance here.

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