On November 26, 2017, AMFA Interfaith hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for club members, Andrews' international students, and even some visitors from Kalamazoo and surrounding areas. The dinner was a celebration of the semester coming to a close and an opportunity to introduce the American traditional holiday to students who were not familiar with it. Participants included Libyans, Jordanians, Saudi Arabians, Americans, Caribbean students, and some Philipino and African participants as well. Paul-Anthony Turner, a club member of AMFA, gave some history as to the origins of Thanksgiving and some of the original foods that were part of the celebration. Bill and Rahel Wills, the AMFA coordinators, led the group in singing some of the original hymns and songs associated with the holiday. Participants were asked to introduce themselves, talk about what they did for work, and share (if they felt so moved) something they were thankful for over the closing semester.
On September 24, 2017, AU's AMFA: Interfaith chapter held a celebration for Saudi National Day, in honor of the increasing Saudi Arabian students in both the Physical Therapy and Education programs on the Andrews campus. With help from La Pita restaurant, there were refreshments of grape leave wraps, spinach fatayer, pita, hummus, and almond bread desserts, as well as various kinds of teas and juices. After a brief introduction of AMFA: Interfaith by Bill Wells, and an icebreaker by Rebecca Murdock, Alya Suliman, one of the Saudi education students, gave a presentation on the importance and history of Saudi National Day. At the end, several of the students from Saudi Arabia led out in some cultural dances, while the Jordanian participants taught some dabke dance as well.
Andrews University held their annual Social Consciousness Summit this year during the weekend of April 6-8, 2017 on the subject of Refugees and Immigration.
The AMR Forum was responsible for the programming on April 6, hosting an interview with Imam Moustafa Elsayed from the Masjid in Benton Harbor, MI and interviews with AU Students Salman Alqahtani, Alya Suliman, and Mohammad Talafha. The panel concluded with a Q&A session from the audience and the event was sponsored by La Pita Lebanese Restaurant which provided a delicious meal and refreshments.
On the afternoon of April 7, participants watched the NYTimes documentary "4.1 Miles," following one man from Lesvos, Greece who made it his mission to rescue sinking refugees in the Mediterranean with his personal fishing boat.
Sabbath afternoon, April 8, the Social Consciousness Summit presented The Agora - a forum for discussing issues of race, religion, politics, and culture. In accordance with the weekend's theme, The Agora participants discussed immigration via the Mexican border, with representatives supporting and refuting the idea of a border wall between the United States and Mexico.
To hear a podcast by the Adventist Peace Fellowship summarizing the event, click the button below and select "Episode 9: AU Social Consciousness Summit."
To watch the full April 6 event, please click on the video below.
On March 9, 2017 the AMR Forum hosted an Arabic Art Class where Alya Suliman and Mohammad Talafha discussed some of the history and importance of Arabic artistic traditions. Participants learned to write their names in Arabic calligraphy along with some of the letters of the Arabic alphabet. Several students stayed after to learn about the celebratory tradition of henna art for weddings, holidays, or other special occasions.
Sabbath morning, January 28, Alya Suliman was interviewed by Chaplain Michael Polite at the New Life Fellowship service on Andrews' campus. Alya is a student in the Education Department on campus and is sponsored by the government of Saudi Arabia. Alya spoke about similarities and differences between Adventism and Islam, and she told several stories about experiences on campus that were both negative and positive. The New Life community pledged to support continued dialogue and growth regarding Adventist Muslim Relations on campus.
For a small sample of the interview, click on the video clip below.
On January 28, 2017, a movie night was hosted in Andrews University's Campus Center featuring the Bollywood hit, "My Name is Khan." The film features an Indian Muslim who comes to San Francisco and ends up falling in love. Despite being a comedy, the film deals with underlying issues of racism, islamophobia, and cross-cultural relationships.
During December Finals Week at Andrews University, the team set up an "Ask a Muslim" booth with tea and donuts in the hallway of the Campus Center. The booth was intended for students who may have always wanted to ask about things they heard in the media, but never had someone to discuss their questions with. Several Muslim students from Andrews took shifts answering questions about why they were Muslim, the difference between Islam and ISIS, and their experiences both in America and on an Adventist campus. (Above logo created by Greg Church. He features each prominent building on the Andrews campus in his design. )
On November 5, 2016, team members made homemade food to sell at the Andrews University Soccer Tournament for club funds. The Forum sold falafel, pita, hummus, fattoush salad and a specialty Saudi Arabian potato salad.
On October 15, 2016, Andrews University students and guests enjoyed a night of games, treats, and conversation. The night began with food and a listening session of the podcast "Invisibilia - Flip the Script" discussing international cases where respect has engendered respect in tricky situations. The listening session was followed by conversation, icebreaker games, and then a variety of board games. The night ended with an impromptu lesson of the Jordanian wedding dance, the Dabke, amongst many laughs and Dabke attempts.
On September 27, 2016, the AU Chapter of AMFA Interfaith became an official student group on campus, registered at the office of Campus and Student Life with it's original name, the Adventist Muslim Relations Forum. Members promoted the Forum at the annual Ice Cream Scoop club rush event on campus, encouraging passersby to write down any questions they might have about Islam or Adventism. The AMR Forum booth also featured a game where students were invited to pull a verse from a bowl and guess its origins as being either from the Bible or the Qur'an. Students were asked to provide their name, email address, and reason of interest to become part of the Forum.