Sheikha Ibtisam Maḥameed

My name is Ibtisam. I am Palestinian, living in northern Israel. My primary focus is on improving relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel, and I also work to improve the status of women in both Arab and Jewish society. Even though Arabs and Israelis live very close to one another, most have no social connection whatsoever. Most of my work is in the Palestinian community in Israel, especially amongst women whose position in Arab society is still repressed. I try to help them build up their confidence, and then I introduce them to groups of people of the three major faiths - Islam, Christianity and Judaism. For many years I have been counseling Arab and Jewish women regarding the status of women in society. As a religious Muslim woman, I work with religious Jewish, Druze, and Christian women on promoting peace by learning about each other's religions and cultures. I am on the board of Middleway, an NGO for the promotion of compassion and non-violence, and I helped found the Women's Interfaith Encounter, a program of the Interfaith Encounter Association.