It with great pleasure and excitement that I write to share the good news that Imam Dr. Amir Toft accepted our invitation to join the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life as Associate Chaplain for the Muslim community effective July 1, 2020. I am deeply indebted to everyone who assisted in the process and most especially to all of the members of the search committee for their extraordinary service and patience with a long but rewarding process.
In December of 2019 Amir completed his doctorate in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago where he also earned an MA in Legal Studies. In addition, he holds a Divinity degree (Alimiyya) from the Institute of Islamic Education and a BA from Northwestern University in Economics.
Amir's extensive study and leadership in the Muslim community equip him beautifully for the Brown post. He has preached extensively, led multiple long-term projects including conferences and professional search processes. Beyond his work in Chicago he spent a year at Yale Law School as a research fellow and scholar at the Abdallah S. Kamel Center for Islamic Law where he organized multiple programs while pursuing his own scholarship.
In his letter of application Amir wrote: As an imam, I ... led Ramadan and Jumu’ah prayers in mixed university communities, predominantly South Asian and Arab suburban communities, and predominantly African-American urban communities. Each of these.... settings required me to take up a pastoral role (grounded in) my own mixed heritage—and strengthened my ability to connect with Muslims whose experiences and perspectives differ greatly from my own.
The Brown University Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life and the Brown Muslim community are eager to welcome Amir and his family to the University as well as to introducing him to the Brown University family and Rhode Island interfaith community. He will be visiting campus occasionally this Spring, and plans to move to Rhode Island early this summer.
The Reverend Janet M. Cooper Nelson
Chaplain of the University