Tariq Ameer

Tariq Ameer Named Lehigh’s New Director of Muslim Student Life/Imam

Ameer’s appointment marks a significant step forward in Lehigh’s commitment to inclusivity and the celebrations of diverse perspectives and traditions

To be a community of belonging – a place where every individual can be and bring their full selves to everything that they do – has been a central theme of President Joseph. J. Helble’s conversations with members of the Lehigh community this year and a foundational component of Lehigh’s Inspiring the Future Makers strategic plan.

The arrival of Tariq Ameer, Lehigh’s new director of Muslim student life/imam, on May 30 marks another step toward creating a campus climate that champions leaders who continue to work toward making Lehigh a campus for everyone.

“As we continue to advance our strategic plan and the foundational initiative of ‘A Lehigh for Everyone,’ we are delighted to welcome Tariq Ameer as the director of Muslim student life and the second-ever Muslim chaplain in the history of Lehigh University, “ says Donald Outing, vice president for equity and community. “Tariq's leadership and dedication to fostering a diverse and inclusive campus environment will be invaluable as we strive to create a community where all members feel respected, supported, and empowered.”

A Significant Step Forward

Ameer’s appointment marks a significant step forward in Lehigh’s commitment to inclusivity and the celebration of diverse perspectives and traditions. Joining the Chaplain’s Office as a teacher, counselor, spiritual resource and religious leader, Ameer will provide spiritual and emotional support to Lehigh’s Muslim community. As associate chaplain, he will serve the entire Lehigh community. Outing pointed out that for the first time at Lehigh, Ameer’s position officially holds an Associate Chaplain/Imam designation to elevate this role to a full-time position throughout the calendar year.

Ameer has expressed his own excitement to join the Lehigh family. “I am thrilled to be able to apply my skills and learnings to Lehigh’s foundational efforts to build an intentional community that can contribute to the healing of our world at every level,” says Ameer.

A Scholar’s Journey of Exploration and Study

Ameer’s journey began with the Muslim Students Association at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., where he graduated with honors and a degree in business administration. It was there he began to study with local Islamic teachers including Shaykh Muhammed Mendes, founding director of Sacred Service for Human Liberation, lead Arabic instructor for Fawakih Institute Atlanta, and lecturer and assistant imam at Madina Institute. As a scholar of Islam, Ameer continued his studies at the Badr Language Institute and eventually at Dar Al-Mustafa in Yemen.

Upon his return to the U.S., Ameer’s dedication to learning continued with other local teachers both in-person and online and, along the way, he was given permission to teach in various sciences including Fiqh, Aqīdah and Hadīth. In 2022, he also completed his master’s of divinity in Islamic chaplaincy from the Bayan Islamic Graduate School through the Chicago Theological Seminary.

Deep and Diverse Experience

“Ameer’s passion for supporting individuals of diverse backgrounds and beliefs was evident to the search committee,” explained Outing. For the past six years, Ameer has been serving as chaplain at the Northern State Prison in Newark, N.J., where he has provided pastoral care, religious education and interfaith leadership to prison inmates. His previous positions also include teaching at the MECCA Center in New York as well as the Islamic Center of Ewing and performing chaplaincy work at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J.

“We are pleased to have found a gifted, sensitive and unusually well-trained person to help us address the needs of Lehigh’s growing Muslim community,” says the Rev. Dr. Lloyd Steffen, search committee co-chair and university chaplain and professor of religious studies. “As a religious scholar and spiritual leader, Tariq’s experience, skills and communication abilities will benefit our entire community.”

Story by Amy Bilello

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