Minute with a Muslim #284 – My Two Observations As a Muslim Chaplain

Tom Facchine

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Channel: Tom Facchine

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The speaker discusses the challenges faced by Muslim youth in college, including the lack of graduation, graduation being a poor plan, and the lack of aspiration. They also mention the need for better message space and the need for graduation to thrive in the college environment.

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Being a chaplain and I'm only do part time Chaplain work in a, in a small liberal arts college, I guess I have two observations about from my experience as a chaplain, and one of them has to do with the kind of leadership models that I think Muslim youth are used to, I think Muslim youth are really starved for a leadership model within the Muslim community that they can relate to. And I don't know how what's the best way to fill this gap, it probably is a case by case basis, it might be youth director, in some communities, it might just be hiring more culturally astute Imams, that might be the solution and other situations, there might be other, you know, solutions outside of that. But

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you can tell that many, many Muslims when they reach college, they do not have any adult mentors that they really, really look up to, or they have very few. And if they have few, they're usually like a family member are like a random person. So I think that that is a huge loss. Because if people are coming into college already at a deficit, college is difficult, you know, you're being exposed, you've got you're handling your first big dose of freedom, your first big dose of adulthood. And there's tons of temptations, and there's lots of ideologies, and that competing for space in your head and in your heart. And then on top of that if you come in without a strong

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relationship with mentors, then you know, it's a, it's a little bit worrisome. The other observation I have is that sometimes there's a population of Muslim college students who are only concerned about progressing when in the dunya, right and progressing with their in terms of their livelihood. And this definitely isn't every place, right? I've been to other to lots of colleges and universities, and I've seen different mshs. And you know, it's very, very different case by case. But um, I'll say that another problem that we have among the Muslim youth is a lack of aspiration, many of them are only thinking about worldly aspirations. Okay, I want to be a doctor, why? Why do

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you want to be a doctor? Well, it's the most respected and most lucrative job? Well, yes, that's true. What are you gonna do for your afterlife? Well, I'll figure that out. When I get when I get my job, when I get my livelihood. This is a poor plan, right? I don't meet a ton of Muslims who are really, really thinking about how to balance these things. Right from the get go, right. And I find that the priorities usually align with career advancement, much more than they aligned with spiritual advancement. And a corollary of this is that, you know, regrettably, sometimes I find that non Muslims are more interested in in Islamic offerings than the Muslim students on a particular

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campus. So if we give a lesson about theology, or we give a lesson about something, you know, anything to do with Islam, I'll have a roomful of non Muslims that are really interested in what what does Islam have to say about this sort of thing. And the Muslim students from the MSA or the Muslim students that are kind of in the milieu they're poorly represented, and that I think goes back to priorities and aspirations and things like that. So those are my two big observations. And there's many more, but I think that for people who aren't youth, it should tell us that we need to be doing a better job of structuring the message space. If people are coming to college and

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university in a compromised spiritual state, then it's it can only really get worse except for a handful of places and institutions in the country. We want the masjid and the local Islamic community to be a greenhouse right where we are, you know, growing the strong seeds and saplings of tomorrow so that when we put them outside, then they're going to be able to be hardy and put them in the college atmosphere. They're going to be able to not just barely survive, but also to thrive.