Prior to Wharton, I had the privilege of sharing my story as a Western-born Muslim with friends, co-workers, and acquaintances. But here, I feel that a big part of my life as a practicing Muslim is often shut out.
At Wharton, casual conversation topics run from where I am from, where I worked, and where I plan to work before moving into more personal topics. Yet religion was almost never a part of these conversations, as if there is a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Don’t get me wrong, I respect and agree that religion is a private matter. But let’s tackle the elephant in the room: Islam has attracted a lot of attention. Innocent lives have been lost as some individuals, with limited knowledge of the religion, have carried out violent acts in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Lebanon, Indonesia, France, the US, and the list goes on. Tragedies explicitly linked to Islam have led to misconceptions, fears, and ultimately a wall of incomprehension between Muslims and non-Muslims.
As a community of aspiring global leaders, Wharton is a place where I feel anything can be discussed and no walls should exist regardless of religion, race, or nationality. I would like for Wharton to be a place where religion, and Islam in my case, can be a part of everyone’s learning experience. Religion will always be part of our lives, either through our own beliefs or the beliefs of those around us. By addressing common misconceptions around Islam and religion in general, we can learn to accept each other, coexist peacefully, and we stand better prepared to become the modern world leaders we hope to be.
Muslim Students Association
My faith has ebbed and flowed throughout my life, but has always been a part of me. As my grandparents liked to say, “there are two things no one can ever take away from you: your faith and your education.”
Right now, I’m trying to define what my faith means to me on a daily basis at Wharton and ultimately in my life – including my career. But religion isn’t something we talk about a lot at Wharton, especially not when thinking about our careers. A quick search of the first year resume book shows only two of us out of 813 with the word “Jesus” in our resume (for me, it’s in the title of my senior thesis: “How Would Jesus Invest?”).
There are a myriad of reasons why I’m seeking a job related to social impact, but one reason is my religion. Although it’s something I tend to keep to myself, I do believe one way to live my Christian faith is by making a positive impact, not only through my personal life, but also through my career. Some may argue that religion and business have no place together, but all leaders should have some sense of personal ethics (at least after LGST611). Balancing personal ethics with public persona is hard, and is something I’m still figuring out – and it is something we could all benefit from talking about more at Wharton.