Brown University Names First Muslim Chaplain
Brown University’s Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life has appointed its first Muslim chaplain. Rumee Ahmed, an associate university chaplain, arrived at Brown in January to take up his duties supporting the spiritual life of the Muslim student community. He is one of only a handful of Muslim chaplains beginning to populate university and college campuses across the country. Among New England Muslim chaplaincies, his position is one of only a few that is a university appointment.
The Rev. Janet Cooper Nelson, chaplain of the university, stressed the importance of Ahmed’s appointment, saying Brown recognizes and supports its multicultural qualities.
“The commitment to create the position for and to hire a Muslim chaplain truly brings greater wholeness not only to the chaplaincy itself, but also to Brown’s religious life,” she says. “We are very fortunate to have someone of Rumee’s experience with Muslim student communities, his excellence in scholarship and his infectious enthusiasm for Brown.”
Besides his chaplaincy, Ahmed is teaching an Islamic studies course and is leading an initiative to network all the Muslim chaplains in New England institutions of higher education. His wife, Ayesha Ahmed, is the incoming Muslim chaplain at Connecticut College.
The nationwide search for a new chaplain began more than a year ago, but the idea of having a Muslim chaplain at Brown dates to 1998, according to search committee member Fatima Quraishi. The committee included eight or nine students, representing each undergraduate class, along with Nelson, anthropology professor Dr. William O. Beeman and history professor Dr. Engin D. Akarli.
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