Muhammad Xhemali has joined the University’s Multifaith Chaplaincy as the new Muslim chaplain, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life Rabbi Elisabeth Stern and Chief Diversity Officer Mark Brimhall-Vargas wrote in an email to the University community. This board applauds the University on its appointment of Xhemali to the position, which marks a step toward a more inclusive Brandeis.

Xhemali will be the first official Muslim Chaplain since 2015, when the position was held by Dr. Imam Talal Eid. Since Eid‘s departure, the position has been filled by an interim Muslim chaplain, Maryam Sharrieff. 

The University’s mission statement notes that, as a nonsectarian institution, Brandeis “welcomes students, teachers and staff of every nationality, religion and orientation [and] renews the American heritage of cultural diversity, equal access to opportunity and freedom of expression.” In hiring a new full-time chaplain, the University is demonstrating commitment to its Muslim community and recognizing the importance of spiritual and religious resources for a variety of students.

This board further commends the University on its choice of Xhemali, a strong candidate with impressive experience providing spiritual guidance. Xhemali served on the board of his university’s Muslim Student Association and has worked in a wide variety of settings, including universities, a community mosque and prison chaplaincy, according to the email. Stern and Brimhall-Vargas described Xhemali as a man who is “passionate about his tradition and its deep teaching, and loves to share its wisdom.”

We commend the University on this step to provide proper resources to its Muslim constituents and encourage our administration to continue to take such measures to make Brandeis as inclusive as possible.