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International artist Salma Zulfiqar outlined her work among immigrant and refugee communities at a meeting of campaigners against hate crime.

Members of the campaign group West Midlands Together heard how her workshops used artworks and installations to promote harmony and integration.

Hailing from Smethwick, Birmingham, she worked for the United Nations Organisation with female refugees in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Sudan before setting up the Migration Project back in Birmingham.

She said: "Art has an important role to play in promoting peace as it helps  women open up to discuss things they never have before. Religion does not come into it and I have no political affiliations - it's about people feeling comfortable and having a frank conversation."

Anthea McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands and founder of West Midlands Together, said: "It was fascinating to hear how Salma uses her artistic talent and creativity to engage with women who might otherwise feel isolated.

"The art work provides the perfect safe space for people to start to reach out beyond their immediate families and community.

"The goals of Salma's Migration Project chime perfectly with our own and I hope we can continue to work together."

West Midlands Together was founded by Miss McIntyre and her Labour colleague Neena Gill as a cross-party initiative following a spike in hate crime after the 2016 referendum.

 

 

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