Chapel Newsletter Editorial
C H A P E L N E W S
Welcoming our First Muslim Chaplain in 150 Years
In the College’s sesquicentennial and the Chapel’s centennial year, I am very pleased to announce that Ailya Vajid will join us part time in spring term as our first Associate Chaplain for Muslim and Interfaith Life. Ailya comes to us from working at Swarthmore College as the Muslim Student Advisor, having received an MA from Harvard Divinity School and a BA from Swarthmore. She is commuting from St. Peter, MN, where she lives with her family. Through her weekly visits to campus this fall and winter, she has already proven her abilities to connect well with students, faculty, and staff of all backgrounds and perspectives. It is a true joy to have Ailya on the “Chapel team.”
Ailya’s presence here comes at an important time. Some of our Muslim students report receiving more anti-Muslim comments on campus than has been the case in past years. No doubt, a few attitudes have been influenced by national and international rhetoric. Supporting our Muslim community and helping the campus to learn more about Islam will be part of Ailya’s work.
We continue also to try to improve the campus climate for people of all religious or spiritual identities. Although about 50% of the student body claims a religious perspective, many students feel that they need to hide their religious identity because someone may assume that they are not very smart. But faith and learning should not be “either/or” propositions—they are “both/and.” Learning can inform faith, and faith can deepen reason. Together, the head and the heart help us find meaning in our lives.
Please join me in welcoming Ailya to Carleton as we strive to build an inclusive community for all.
Carolyn Fure-Slocum, College Chaplain