HARTFORD, CONN. – When Trinity College students return to their snow-bitten
campus next week, for the first time they will discover a Muslim chaplain
Sohaib Nazeer Sultan is one of only a handful of Muslim chaplains at
colleges and universities across the country.
But as the number of Muslim college students continues to grow – along with
the desire to understand religious and cultural complexities at play in a
post-9/11 world – more schools are hiring Muslim chaplains.
Mr. Sultan is a slight man with a soothing demeanor. In khaki pants, a navy
tunic, and square, dark-rimmed glasses he could easily pass for a young
In many ways, he seems older and wiser than his 24 years. He has already
written a book – “The Koran for Dummies” – published last year. He speaks
of the need to create a culture not just of tolerance, but of acceptance.
He sees his job as a Muslim chaplain as a divine calling.
Yet he’s also down-to-earth, self-deprecating, and compassionate when he
discusses the many obstacles – both spiritual and secular – that young
Muslims on their own for the first time are likely to encounter.
In 1999 Georgetown University hired Yahya Hendi – the first full-time
Muslim chaplain at an American university. Today, the Muslim Students
Association (MSA) estimates that 14 institutions of higher education
provide for a Muslim chaplain