Muslims and Jews sitting down together and talking? Even becoming friends?
Sound like a fantasy? Well, it’s not.
The University’s Muslim Jewish Dialogue Group, formed in spring 2003, is
one of only a few such organizations in the nation.
Composed of Muslim and Jewish students, the group provides a means for
biweekly formal dialogue sessions and educational programs. It allows
Jewish and Muslim students to learn about each other’s religion and to
become friends in the process”¦
The group was founded by Pamela Barmash, Ph.D., assistant professor of
Hebrew bible and biblical literature in Arts & Sciences, along with several
students. The group has grown to include 15 members who meet often to
discuss issues, have dinner and listen to speakers.
“We are completely apolitical and intentionally include students of a wide
array of political beliefs and theological ideas,” Barmash said. “Other
campuses may have a group of politically left-wing students who pursue a
political left-wing Middle Eastern agenda, but we do not deal with
“Rather, we deal with issues of common concern, the issues that young
adults growing up in America face, both as Americans and as Muslims or
Jews. The members of the group are genuinely eager to listen to each other
and to learn together in an honest and sympathetic way.”
The group has fostered positive relations between Muslim and Jewish
students, a very rare situation on American university campuses