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.
On July 8, 2016, the Andrews University chapter of AMFA-Interfaith hosted an Eid al-Fitr Celebration in a Berrien park, marking the end of Ramadan for our Muslim neighbors at the Kalamazoo and South Bend mosques. The Eid Celebration, considered as momentous as Christmas is for members of Christianity, included potluck dishes, desserts, and tea contributed by guests from Dearborn, South Bend, Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor, and Berrien, itself. Guests exchanged stories, numbers, and played games on the park benches and tables.
A group of six, Muslim, physical therapy students from Saudi Arabia and Jordan were featured in a panel discussion on the campus of Andrews University on April 21, 2016. The event was hosted by the Physical Therapy Department, in partnership with AMFA - Interfaith, and was held in Chan Shun Hall's Garber Auditorium. The event had an unexpected attendance of 250 people, with organizers originally expecting 100-150 in attendance. The event was set up for Andrews' Muslim students to have an opportunity to speak out against Islamophobic messages in American media and represent themselves more accurately. They condemned violent measures being taken by radical members of ISIS, and underscored true Islam as being a religion of peace, submission, and benevolence. The students spoke about their culture, faith, and hopes for fostering better understanding between Christians, Muslims, Americans, and citizens of the Middle East. The event concluded with a mediated Q & A session with the audience and refreshments of pita, hummus, mint lemonade, Saudi tea, and baklava. (The full event can be watched below.)