By Siddiq Ather
The 2010 fall quarter at Northwestern University started with a string of wonder and excitement. Freshmen and upperclassmen alike stand and sit readying themselves for a year of academic and social growth. In the background the Muslim Cultural Students Association holds a belated Eid event for new, transfer, and returning students to reconvene after a halcyon summer vacation. It is in this event where Tahera Ahmad officially introduced herself to the students at Northwestern as their first Muslim Chaplain.
She was born and raised in the suburb of Morton Grove in Illinois, and played high school basketball. She has experience working with a great variety of communities throughout the Chicago-land area, ranging from big organizations like the Council of Islamic Organizations of greater Chicago (CIOGC) to local youth groups. Her advising and chaplaincy role at Mount Holyoke College as well as her graduate studies on Muslim chaplaincy in Connecticut with help her greatly in her new position. In addition her teaching experience at the Islamic Foundation School in Villa Park in the subjects of Arabic, Quran, and Islamic Studies further enhance her ability to connect with students. The Muslim Cultural Student Association student staff, with students with various ethnic backgrounds, some local and some international, are thrilled to work with her.
Last year the Northwestern University Muslim Cultural Students Association made a big push for help and donations for the victims in Haiti with their Hoops for Haiti event, among others. This year there is much planning and action going on to help the flood victims in Pakistan. Whether it is humanitarian, spiritual, interfaith, or otherwise, a Muslim chaplain on the university is a monumental help and an integral step forward. May the Muslim Cultural Students Association as well as their new Muslim chaplain be endowed a with a multitude of blessings, the ability and initiative to show the core qualities of Islam like love, empathy, community, and progress. For the many students whose universities who do not as of yet have a Muslim chaplain, stay consistent in your endeavor and continue to work towards the many goals a university Muslim student group holds with the myriad of faculties that are available on and around campus.