Thursday, February 23, 2017

USA: Burrell Ahmadi students learn life lessons on 'Horse Soldiers' set


“Because of our religious beliefs, members of our community have been persecuted by the Taliban in the Middle East. We did not feel comfortable portraying people who have killed members of our community.”

Photo: Las Cruces Sun-News
Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: Las Cruces Sun-News
By Jessica Salopek | February

LAS CRUCES - When a classmate at the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine in Las Cruces sent Humza Ahmed, Haris Ahmed, and Harris Ahmed a casting call for movie extras, they took it as more of a joke than anything. Thinking nothing would come of it, they sent an email to the casting director and were almost immediately offered roles that would require them to be on set for four months. That offer didn’t fit into the demanding schedule of first-year medical students, but they managed to negotiate their participation down to two weekends filming in Socorro and Laguna Pueblo.

The movie, "Horse Soldiers," stars Chris Hemsworth and is based on the 2010 book of the same name. It recounts the true story of U.S. Special Forces operatives fighting the Taliban in post 9/11 Afghanistan. The Ahmeds were originally asked to portray Taliban soldiers, roles they refused based on their religious beliefs. Brothers Haris and Humza, and Harris (who met the other two at BCOM and is no relation) are of Pakistani heritage and were all born into the revivalist Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

“Because of our religious beliefs, members of our community have been persecuted by the Taliban in the Middle East. We did not feel comfortable portraying people who have killed members of our community,” Humza said.

Instead, the Ahmeds took on roles as Afghani villagers and members of the Northern Alliance who worked with American soldiers to combat the Taliban. The three said they agreed to participate to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see what really goes on behind the scenes of a major Hollywood production. Ultimately, however, they said they gained insight into their futures as physicians and got a firsthand introduction to the healthcare issues New Mexico is facing.

“When the director, producers, and actors realized we were medical students, they started saying ‘the doctors are here,’ and people would start asking us questions about their own medical conditions. Right away, they were sharing very personal information with us.” Harris said. “It was eye-opening to realize that, even in a setting completely divorced from healthcare, we are still held to a certain standard.”

On set, the students said they conversed about the core values of a physician, the current issues surrounding the over-prescription of medications, and trust issues between patients and physicians. Harris adds that profound themes of faith and cultural awareness in medicine arose.

“We’re not qualified to give medical advice at this point, but we were surprised that we could answer some of their questions based on the material we’ve already covered this year, like the difference between an expectorant and a decongestant. It was a good reminder about focusing on our studies and mastering the material because you never know when you’ll be asked about it,” Humza said.

The Ahmeds were introduced on set to several Native American tribal members who were also cast as Afghani villagers. One of BCOM’s primary missions is to address the health needs of Native Americans in the Southwest.

“We just recently moved to New Mexico, so we haven’t had much opportunity to actually interact with the Native American populations yet,” Haris said. “In speaking with them, we found that Native Americans do feel under-served in terms of healthcare and that they’ve had issues connecting with physicians and building that necessary bond. It was very interesting to hear their concerns firsthand and literally talk with them about how we can help. It certainly reinforced why we decided to come to BCOM.”

While the trio won’t be giving up medical school for a career in Hollywood, they have agreed to participate in a documentary series titled "The Long Road Home" which will be filming this summer. Humza said, “Just being in medical school has already given us so many memories and stories to tell, but adding on opportunities like these really enhances our experience of living in New Mexico.”


______________
Jessica Salopek is a staff writer for the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine.


Read original post here: USA: Burrell students learn life lessons on 'Horse Soldiers' set


This content-post is archived for backup and to keep archived records of any news Islam Ahmadiyya. The views expressed by the author and source of this news archive do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Times of Ahmad. Times of Ahmad is not an organ of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, nor in any way associated with any of the community's official websites.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments. Any comments irrelevant to the post's subject matter, containing abuses, and/or vulgar language will not be approved.

Top read stories during last 7 days

Disclaimer!

THE TIMES OF AHMAD is not an organ of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, nor in any way associated with any of the community's official websites. Times of Ahmad is an independently run and privately managed news / contents archival website; and does not claim to speak for or represent the official views of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The Times of Ahmad assumes full responsibility for the contents of its web pages. The views expressed by the authors and sources of the news archives do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Times of Ahmad. All rights associated with any contents archived / stored on this website remain the property of the original owners.