The Muslim Students Association (MSA) provides Yale students with the opportunity to come together in a supportive Muslim environment and seeks to educate and raise awareness about Islam in the Yale and New Haven communities. All students and community members are welcome to MSA activities and events. We recognize that students come from different backgrounds and are at varied levels in their own faith, and we welcome all.
Regular activities organized by the MSA include weekly halal dinners in Commons Dining Hall, jumu’ah prayer services and halal lunches on Fridays, halaqas (discussion circle) every week, and congregational prayers five times a day. In addition, each semester features several social gatherings such as study breaks, retreats, and movie and game nights. We also have an annual “Mango Madness” night (with mango lassi, mango shakes, and dried mangoes!) to introduce prospective students to Muslim life at Yale.
Ramadan is one of the most exciting and inspiring times of the year: the MSA organizes daily iftaar dinners, suhoors, and Taraweeh prayers as well as the annual grand Eid Banquet!
Other annual events include a halal BBQ to welcome our freshmen and their families and the traditional hike to East Rock. Every year, the MSA holds Islamic Awareness Week with the purpose of better acquainting the campus community with the faith of its members. Also in the Spring every year the Critical Islamic Reflections (CIR) conference, organized by the MSA in sponsorship with other organizations. Now in its eleventh year, CIR aims to pursue critical academic scholarship on issues relating to Islam and Muslim society.
The MSA believes in active involvement on campus, and works to participate in organizing many events sponsored by other associations such as the AASA-affiliated groups, the Arab Students Association, JAM (Jews and Muslims), the Multifaith Council, the Yale Hillel, the Afro-American, Asian-American and Latino Cultural centers, and others.
Coordinator of Muslim Life at Yale: Omer Bajwa
Omer Bajwa is the “Coordinator of Muslim Life” in the Chaplain’s Office at Yale. Born in Pakistan, Omer emigrated to the United States at the age of three, growing up in Upstate New York. He earned his Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy from Hartford Seminary, and he has been engaged in religious service, social activism, and educational outreach since 2000.
He received his MA in Near Eastern Studies, with a
specialization in Islamic Studies, from Cornell University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies, where he also served as the Outreach Coordinator. He also earned an MS in Communication from Cornell, and a BA in English Literature and Rhetoric from Binghamton University. In addition to his academic training in Islamic studies, Omer has also studied Islam from a traditional, normative perspective. He spent considerable time throughout his undergraduate and graduate career studying several classical Islamic sciences with traditional ulama from Pakistan, Turkey, and the United States.
His interests include Islam in the United States, interfaith engagement, Islam and the global media, and transnational religious and intellectual networks. He regularly lectures about these topics and others at campuses, congregations, and communities across the country.
I hold regular Office Hours on Tuesdays (1 – 3 pm) and Wednesdays (11 am – 1 pm). I’m also easily available to meet by appointment. My office is room 21B in the Chaplain’s Office in Bingham Hall. Please feel free to stop by to share concerns, to ask questions, or to just chat!