At the beginning of this month Shaykha Muslema joined a number of scholars, teachers, and leaders of the Muslim community at the ISNA Convention in Chicago. She spoke on topics like Islam and Homosexuality, Crises in American Muslim communities, and having a high opinion of God. She shared the stage with scholars like Dr. Umar Faruq Abdallah and others.
School went into full swing this month at USC and began at UCLA and UCI. At USC the weekly halaqas began and we started by reflecting on themes that are raised in Surah al-Fatiha. Thus far we have covered: “On Beginnings,” about Bismillah; “Having a Grateful Mindset,” on Alhamdulillah; “Knowing God;” “Compassionate Living,” on al-Rahman and al-Rahim; and “Worshiping and Serving,” from Iyyaka Na’bud. For one the sessions we also had a number of guests from the USC Student Interfaith Council join us, which was a nice opportunity to connect and get to know one another.
At UCI the new quarter started at the end of this month and we worked with the MSU to be around campus to meet the new students and get to know them. Both Shaykha Muslema and Shaykh Jamaal joined the students during their New Student Orientation during Zero Week. Shaykh Jamaal also joined the students that week for an informal chai and discussion session where he had the chance to meet some of the new students and share space with them. We also began our weekly halaqas with an open discussion with Shaykha Muslema and commentary on some current issues in the community.
At UCLA Shaykh Jamaal held his first set of office hours of the year and also his first halaqa. For the halaqa he was joined by two older UCLA students and they discussed being a Muslim on campus and shared advice for the newer students. Shaykh Jamaal also met earlier in the month with Rabbi Aaron Lerner at UCLA to talk about student life and begin to discuss ways to increase Halal and Kosher food options on campus.
Shaykh Jamaal also attended two other major events this month. One of them was a Berkeley Forum event at UC Berkeley. The Berkeley Forum is an independent student-run organization on their campus that hosts guests for lectures and conversations on all kinds of topics throughout the year. For this event they held a discussion on “What Does it Mean to Be A Muslim American?” Shaykh Jamaal joined Jabir Faqir of Muslim Advocates and Hoda Hawa of Muslim Public Affairs Council. It was a nice discussion and it was well attended by a variety of students from the campus. Shaykh Jamaal also attended Islah LA’s Luncheon Banquet. It was a beautiful event that was truly inspirational.
Yours in service,
IOK University Chaplains serving UCLA, USC and UCI