On July 5th, Khalil Abdur-Rashid will become Harvard’s first Muslim chaplain. Previous to this, he was an adjunct professor of Islamic studies at Southern Methodist University, and also served as a special adviser to the New York City Police Department on Muslim affairs. Ousmane Kane, Harvard Divinity School professor of Islamic studies, commended the new hire, citing Abdur-Rashid’s depth of Islamic knowledge, experience, and strength of character.
Halah Ahmad, who is the former president of the Harvard Islamic Society, says she views the appointment as “a huge equalizer on this campus, where there has been really an utter dearth of resources for all students—especially Muslim students—on Islam. I have really huge hopes for how it will better inform Muslim students and non-Muslim students on how to be better people, more conscientious people in general,”
Imam Abdul-Rashid said in a statement that he was “deeply humbled and excited” to begin his new role. “These are challenging times that require us to commit ourselves to public service and mutual support, to cultivate a deeper understanding of who we are and where we are ultimately going, and to being the best of who we are while remembering the divine in each other, thereby taking us one step closer to turning hate into hope.”