Zenab Nisah tells us why she loves living in multicultural Tod.

I’ve pretty much lived in Tod all my life. I feel safe here. I know everyone, everyone knows me and my kids, the people are warm and friendly, the surroundings are beautiful – what more could I ask for?

Tod is a multicultural town and I’m the sort of person who says hello to everyone and will stop and chat to anyone. I’m also the kind of person who likes to help out in the community but then I believe it’s important to give back to the place you live in. In fact, at the mosque, I’m always telling women to get out of their homes and join in with local events. That’s how I came across Integrate Todmorden. Nadeem, the group’s chairperson, told me that one of the aims of Integrate Todmorden was to bring the town’s different communities together. He asked me to get involved. Of course, I said yes. My sister was already helping out at some of the group’s events.

I was certainly impressed by the first Integrate Todmorden event I went to, a Ramadan evening at the local town hall. Ramadan is the month Muslims fast between dawn and sunset. But the event wasn’t just for Muslims. It was open to everyone – an opportunity for local people to learn about Islam and fasting. And I must admit, it was really nice to see English people learning about who we Muslims are, especially after some of the negative press we get.

Placeholder for lazy loaded image

In fact, in the past, when it was Ramadan, English people never really asked us what we were up to. I think they thought Ramadan was this strange thing we Muslims did one month of the year. But now, when it’s Ramadan, I’ve noticed they stop to have a chat and ask us how we are managing with fasting. That's what comes from mixing and integrating, it breaks down barriers.

That’s why, at the mosque, I am keen to organise activities which will help get young Muslim girls out and about and broaden their horizons. A few weeks ago, I held a meeting and asked the girls what kind of activities they’d like to do. They came with the usual ideas, cooking, sewing etc. I told them they could learn those things at home. What about camping, canoeing or first aid? I told them these activities would not only be fun, but teach them important life skills such as team building. The girls were really responsive to the ideas, which was great.

Tod is a stunning place with great people and groups like Integrate Todmorden are really helping bring the community together. After all, we all live in the same town, so why shouldn’t we just get along and make Tod an even better place to live in?