Muslim chaplains forge a new way of thinking about Islam in secular places

Imam Omer Bajwa

(RNS) — Years before he became Yale’s first full-time Muslim chaplain, Imam Omer Bajwa was a graduate student and aspiring journalist who had little idea of what a chaplain does.

Then came September 2001.

“Our phones started ringing off the hook,” said Bajwa, who was involved with Cornell’s Muslim Student Association at the time. “We’re in Ithaca. There’s no mosque, no local Muslim leadership. All these high schools and public libraries and radio stations and college campuses are calling for panels on Islam and understanding 9/11… that was a pivotal moment.”

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