Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Muslim Student Elected To Lead J Street U

The campus arm of left-wing pro-Israel group J Street elected a Muslim-American student to serve as president of its national student board.

At its “Summer Leadership Institute” in Washington this week, J Street U elected Amna Farooqi, a senior at the University of Maryland who is of Pakistani descent, Haaretz reported.

Approximately 120 J Street U student leaders attended the four-day gathering, according to Haaretz, and J Street U says it has 4,000 active participants on 75 college campuses in the United States.

A native of suburban Washington, D.C., Farooqi grew up in a “fairly religious Muslim home” with “a lot of Jewish friends,” Haaretz reported.

But “growing up in a household sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, the Palestine-Israel conflict was always the elephant in the room,” she said in a video filmed at the J Street conference last March. “This conflict evoked a level of anger and emotion in me, and I needed to learn more. Everything I was learning about the conflict made me not want to be pro-Israel. … As someone who wanted to contribute to ending this conflict I knew I needed to understand all sides.”

While taking a course about Israel in college, Farooqi said she “fell in love with Zionism, because Zionism became about taking ownership over the story of one’s people. If Zionism is about owning your future, how can I not respect that?”

She spent a semester at Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Rothberg International School in order to “meet people on the ground and understand the Israeli narrative from their perspective, and to put faces to things and see some of these issues up close,” she said, according to Haaretz.

Her extended family has been “confused but supportive” about Farooqi’s Israel activism, she said.

This summer she lived in Jerusalem as a J Street U intern, co-leading day trips, including a visit to Hebron, for American university students, Haaretz reported.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.