At Brown University, a Muslim Chaplain to Build Sense of Community

February 27, 2006

Source: Eyewitness News TV

Wire Service: AP

On February 27, 2006 the Associated Press reported, "[Rumee] Ahmed is Brown [University's] first Muslim chaplain and joined four other associate chaplains at the school when he started last month. Many universities have Muslim chaplains, but Ahmed is among just a handful that are paid, said Janet Cooper Nelson, chaplain at Brown. School officials realized that adding a Muslim chaplain was essential to serving their students, and bringing the school credentials in the Muslim community as well as a voice in the Muslim world, Nelson said... Ahmed is not ordained and comes from an academic background... But Nelson said Brown was not looking for an imam. There is no place to study to become an imam in the United States—and Brown wanted someone who had studied at an American university. Further, some students worried that an imam would be divisive. The priority was to find a person who knows Islamics, understands the different strains of the religion and shows pastoral leadership, Nelson said. Brown found those qualities in Ahmed, 26, who says one of his most important jobs is to help Muslim students build a sense of community at Brown. About four percent of Brown’s undergraduates are Muslim, Nelson said."

See also: Islam, Campus, Statistics