Imam Adeel Zeb was recently elected president of the National Association of College and University Chaplains, making him the first Muslim to be granted the one-year position.
According to Huffington Post, “college chaplaincy has traditionally been dominated by Christians. And it still is, with the exception of a handful of non-Christian deans of religious life and top university chaplains around the country.”
There are approximately thirteen full-time Muslim chaplains serving colleges in the U.S. and Canada, but none hold their campus’ top spiritual leadership position. Imam Zeb says he hopes the appointment would encourage other non-Christians to enter into chaplaincy. “When we were being sworn into our new positions, it felt like a civil rights moment.”
“Adeel is also a trailblazer,” says Varun Soni, a Hindu scholar who heads the office of religious life at USC. “I consider him to be a pioneer, and his appointment is significant. He will inspire other Muslim leaders to think about university chaplaincy.”