Religious club hopes for coexistence

The solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict starts at the University of Miami for members of the emerging student organization JAM (Jews and Muslims).

JAM is an unofficial club–it has not been recognized by the Committee of Student Organizations–that was formed last year. While it is not a religious organization, it hopes to foster understanding between Jews and Muslims and coexistence for all human beings.

According to founding member Farah Dosani,  JAM was created to fill a gap.

“There was no coexistence program or organization on campus harboring the idea of living together in peace,” she said.

The club hosted a lecture Thursday night entitled “Bridging the Divide.”

The guest lecturers Kobi Skolnick, an Israeli-born Jew, and Aziz Abu Sarah, a Muslim born in Jerusalem, recounted their lives beginning with their childhoods that were rooted in radicalism and violence.

They then spoke of their transition to secularism and peace-making.

“When someone punches you in the face, you want to hit them back. It doesn’t mean if we don’t agree we need to be so quick to pull the trigger,” Sarah said.

By telling their stories, the two men, who now work together at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, hope to foster understanding through conversation.

Nasser Al-Awadhi, a sophomore and member of the current affairs committee for JAM, agreed with the duo’s peaceful message.

“I think attempting to solve the conflict by force is just going to cause more problems,” he said.

Although JAM’s goals are ambitious for a 30-member organization, Sarah sees this as no reason for discouragement.

“If you want to put out a fire you fill a bucket with water. If you don’t have a bucket you grab a cup and if you don’t have a cup you grab a spoon,” Sarah said.

“This is the type of lecture that more people need to hear… After hearing this lecture you will want to do whatever you can to help spread peace both in the US and abroad,” Caitlin Liston, a senior, said.