Fardosa Hassan rarely lingers at her bare Augsburg College campus ministry desk.
In the chapel of the Evangelical Lutheran Church-affiliated school, she hosts regular Friday prayer for Muslim students and faculty. In the campus wellness center, she brings in a therapist and imam to undercut the idea that seeking treatment for depression is un-Islamic. She takes Religion 100 students to mosques in the college’s Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.
“Islam has called me to serve my community,” Hassan said.
A growing number of Minnesota private campuses are enlisting Muslim student advisers as their Muslim enrollment has sometimes doubled or tripled in recent years. The new hires help students find internships, fit prayer into busy class schedules and process anger at the extremists behind the recent Paris attacks. They’ve also reached out to broader campus communities in hopes of challenging the heated political discourse about Islam.
The job title is spreading nationally, where several campuses have faced backlash over their choice of Muslim chaplains. Off-campus, Augsburg’s pastor Sonja Hagander has had to explain why a Lutheran college’s campus ministry would hire a practicing Muslim.
“With the growing number of Muslim students, it was really key to have a Muslim student adviser,” Hagander said. “We can’t help but do what we’re doing.”