Muslim students at Yale have hosted religious activities on campus since the early 1990s, mainly focusing on daily prayers and weekly Jummah prayers. The Muslim Students Association (MSA) organized various social and religious activities, and they worked alongside part-time ”graduate chaplaincy fellows” for several years. Past fellows included Sohaib Sultan, Mahan Mirza and Homayra Ziad. More formal and institutional affiliation with the Chaplain’s Office began in 2008 with the historic appointment of Omer Bajwa as Yale’s first full-time “Coordinator of Muslim Life” (later promoted to “Director of Muslim Life”) by the University Chaplain Sharon Kugler.
Programming was expanded to include: weekly Halaqas (study circles), weekly Halal Dinners, Jummah prayers, Chaplain’s Chats, Nasheed Nights, guest speakers, and regular office hours for pastoral care and mentoring. Chaplain Bajwa also dramatically expanded the annual Eid Banquet and inaugurated the ”Ivy Muslims Conference,” both of which are marquee events for Muslim Life at Yale. Additionally, he co-leads the annual ICNYU Umrah Trip, for which he established the “Yale Umrah Fund” which sponsors Yale Muslim undergraduates to join the Spring Break Umrah trip.
Overall, Chaplain Bajwa’s work encompasses:
Spiritual Care & Mentoring
Educational Outreach & Teaching
Student Advising & Advocacy
Programming continues to evolve with the addition of text study, an interfaith book club, and more guest speakers for special lectures.