About 40 alumni and students gathered Saturday, April 1, at the Carl A. Fields Center to celebrate 50 YEARS OF MUSLIM LIFE AT PRINCETON. In what organizers called the first event of its kind on campus, the Muslim Alumni Conference drew alumni and students together to reflect on the history of Muslims at Princeton.
“We envisioned this event as a way to … build a sense of how much history our little community has and to strengthen [our] connections,” said Anhar Karim ’18. Muslims attended Princeton before 1967, but that is when organized activity began, Karim said.
In 1995, Rizwan Arastu ’98 and a handful of other students founded the Princeton Muslim Students Association (MSA) to unite through prayer, learning, and social activities. Now the MSA offers programs ranging from public lectures to weekly “Salam Saturdays” and attracts more than 200 people to its largest events.
Another milestone came in 2008 when Imam Sohaib Sultan became the University’s first full-time Muslim life coordinator and chaplain. “Before I came to Princeton, Muslim [student] life was very much dependent on student leaders, who are, by the very nature of a college campus, in transition,” Sultan said. “Now we have the ability to sustain our community for each year and each new generation.”