University of Canterbury appoints first Muslim Chaplain

The University of Canterbury (UC) has announced the appointment of Ibrahim Abdelhalim as its first Muslim Chaplain.

Ibrahim is a former Imam of the Christchurch Linwood Mosque, former Vice President of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, former New Zealand Ambassador for Peace, current Vice Chair of Christchurch Interfaith Council, and has guest-lectured at UC’s School of Health Sciences.

Ibrahim received the 2019 Spirit of Anne Frank Interfaith Unity Award in recognition of his spiritual leadership in the aftermath of the March 15 attacks and the Unit of Religions 2019 award by the United Nations.

Similar to other chaplaincy roles at UC, the Muslim Chaplain will work to provide pastoral and spiritual support for UC students and staff on campus, advise the University on matters related to faith, and promote links and relationships with other faiths and the wider Canterbury community.

“We’re pleased to welcome Ibrahim to the UC Chaplaincy, to help us nurture that spiritual side of campus life at Canterbury,” UC’s Senior Ecumenical Chaplain, Reverend Spanky Moore, says.

“We want all our staff and students at UC to be aware that they have someone to understand who they are and where they come from. All our Chaplains are great listeners and expert problem solvers. They’re the safe people you can talk to, bounce questions off, and pray with at UC. ”

The search for a potential candidate to fill the role of a UC Muslim Chaplain began in late 2018, but the tragic events of 15 March 2019 put the search on hold so the more immediate needs of UC’s Muslim community could be prioritised.

Ibrahim Abdelhalim talked with Stuff reporter Jody O’Callaghan about the importance of his role as UC’s first Muslim Chaplain, saying that he was excited about the new responsibility. Read the article here>

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