READ ABOUT JAMS IN THE NEWS!
The Daily Herald, April 6, 2006
JAMS board members. Standing, from left to right:
Samer Yassine, Mohammed Siddiqui,
Sharif Murphy, Jacob Katz,
Julia Geynisman, Liat Shetret, Suhail Khan
Seated: Hana Koussa, Professor Rachel Havrelock, Jorge Egal
JAMS (Jewish-Arab-Muslim Students) formed in Fall 2005 inspired by the launch of the UIC
Jewish-Muslim Initiative. Because the Jewish-Muslim Initiative has brought students from
diverse communities into contact and conversation, an interfaith student group (JAMS) formed
in order to sponsor cultural events on the UIC campus and to train students in new paradigms of
community leadership. In early 2006 JAMS created a student board, wrote a mission statement
and constitution and reached out to a range of student groups already existing on campus.
The members of the Jewish-Arab-Muslim Society envision a campus community in which students of all religious and national
backgrounds can maintain their individuality and belief structure without sacrificing tolerance and understanding.
In the spirit of achieving our vision, the mission of JAMS is to organize events that encourage interfaith student
dialogue and foster understanding, trust and friendship. We hope to connect the students of the University of Illinois
at Chicago to the cultures, politics, religions and ideas of the Middle East and Muslim World by sparking awareness
and furthering knowledge. As members of JAMS, we aim to set an example of tolerance, curiosity, civic
engagement and leadership without restricting the religious beliefs or political views of our members and
The student board members are active leaders of other campus and civic organizations. As active members of
other religious and cultural organizations as well as JAMS board members, these students signal to their peers
the importance of building relationships across communities and bringing their activism into a cross-cultural context.
During the 2006 spring semester, JAMS will present a Middle East film night; a public dialogue between an Imam
and a Rabbi; a public production of "From Tel Aviv to Ramallah," a hip-hop play about the daily lives of young
people in the Middle East. The JAMS events are open to all members of the campus community and to the Chicago
public and offer those in attendance valued and necessary opportunities to familiarize themselves with Islam,
Judaism and the cultures of the Middle East. The events are attended by students of diverse religious backgrounds
pleased to have a neutral space where they can discover interfaith similarities and differences and community
members who see hope incarnate in the Jewish, Arab Muslim Student group.
JAMS endeavors to become a model in Chicago and on American campuses of an interfaith group that tackles the
most pressing contemporary issues in an environment of respect and tolerance. This will be achieved through the
continuation of JAMS activities such as film nights, theatrical productions and student-organized dialogues
with other campus and city organizations. Since nothing quite like JAMS exists on any other American campus,
the group plans to build an internet site and to create educational materials for other American campuses. JAMS
offers a vision of interfaith activity at the cultural crossroads of Chicago's West Loop.