With the passing of the month of May our local universities are moving from Spring into Summer and the graduation season has begun. This month we share our joy with many in our community as some of our shining young brothers and sisters graduate from their institutions and begin the next stages of their lives.
At both USC and UCLA this month we continued our office hours and halaqas at the respective campuses. As always these are special times for us and the students as we connect and seek to support them on the wide variety of challenges they might be facing. In the course of the last several months we have individually met with over 50 students between the two campuses.
At USC the month began with Shaykha Muslema participating in a candlelight vigil on campus in remembrance of the Ethiopian Christians who were killed by ISIS recently. She was joined by members of the USC community who come from different faith traditions, but were united in remembrance of the lives lost. She also participated in two major events at USC commemorating the graduation of this year’s class. The first was the MSU’s End of the Year Banquet where the students were joined by their families and members of the community to celebrate the accomplishments of the Musilm students on campus throughout this year. The second was the Office of Religious Life’s Baccalaureate Ceremony. In this event the ORL recognizes and celebrates the graduating students from different faith traditions who are supported by the ORL during their time at USC. Shaykha Muslema attended as the Muslim Chaplain at USC and was among the University officials who were present on stage during the ceremony and for the dinner. The Muslim community of Southern California also had the unique honor of one of our own being chosen as the student keynote speaker of the night, Engie Salama from Irvine.
At UCLA the quarter continues as they will be finishing up in early June. Our halaqas and office hours there have continued. We were also both guest speakers at UCLA MSA’s College Day where the MSA hosts high school students from around the region to get to know the university and the work that the Muslim students do there. We have also aided in advising the old and new boards of the MSA as they transition into getting ready for another year of supporting the students on campus.
Outside of UCLA and USC Shaykh Jamaal also joined the MSA at CSULB this month as they held a series of events introducing Islam to their campus community. Shaykh Jamaal’s specific contribution was to give a lecture and question and answer session on the topic of “What is Jihad?” It was well received and the students there are doing a great job in serving their community.
We would personally like to congratulate the families of all the graduating students on their accomplishments and look forward to continuing to work with and support the students who remain.
Jamaal and Muslema
IOK University Chaplains