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McGill roommates — one Jewish, the other Palestinian — find friendship and common ground


When Lucas Fuhrman got to his dorm at McGill in 2021, he was nervous and excited about whom he would share a room with.

A few days later, Sameer Karam, a Palestinian from Jerusalem, walked in the door.

Fuhrman, who is Jewish, didn't think there would be any problems, but he wasn't sure how Karam would respond.

"We were both actually kind of interested, like to see how it would work and what's going to happen," said Karam.

They not only shared a room together but had a class together, too. However, their bond was formed through playing video games and other common interests.

It was during those times they talked a lot. Fuhrman, a political science student, was interested in what was happening in the Middle East. He says his conversations with Karam were eye-opening.

"Even in our first year, there were flare-ups happening and stuff and, you know, Sameer would tell me what was going on and how it's bothering him, because he has family in the West Bank," he said.

Karam said they didn't agree on everything but they found a way to talk about it respectfully.

It's a lesson that's happening on other university campuses, albeit in a smaller and quieter way.

York University Sociology Professor Randal Schnoor teaches a class on "Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in Canada".

He said the course attracted both Jewish and Muslim students and offered them a place to share their experiences.

"The climate on campuses is very polarized, there's lots of divisiveness, lots of chanting and slogans. Not a lot of listening," he said. "And this was a space for those who are interested, and there is an appetite for this among students to create a safe space, a brave space for discussion."

He said the class was so successful that some Jewish and Muslim students created a club called "Bridging the Gap." The group has since held talks on other campuses, including Queen's and University of Toronto.

Fuhrman, meanwhile, has been inspired by his experience living with Karam and says he wants to create a media platform for students to contribute their differing points of view. Karam, an engineering student, is also pleasantly surprised by his experience.

The two also ended up roommates in second year, this time by choice.

"You always have to give it a shot," Karam said. "See where it takes you and as you can see, we ended up being good friends". Top Stories

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