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University Appoints First Muslim Chaplain

colour portrait photograph of Javed Kachhalia, university of reading muslim chaplain

Following a recruitment process led by Prof Ellie Highwood, the then Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, supported by our Anglican Chaplain Mark Laynesmith and by RUSU’s Islamic Society and Diversity Officer, we are delighted to welcome Javed Kachhalia (pictured), Head Imam at the Abu Bakr Islamic Centre in Reading, as the University’s first Muslim Chaplain.

Javed has been appointed in a part-time role (approximately 7 hours per week) from 1 September to provide faith-based guidance and pastoral care to students and staff across the university, particularly of course our many Muslim colleagues and students. (At least 8% of our current students identify as Muslim, see section 5.2. of our 2017-18 Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report.)

“I’m delighted to be joining the University as its first Muslim chaplain” said Javed. “I’ve worked previously as a Muslim Chaplain or Outreach Chaplain in many sectors, and am currently a student myself, studying part-time for a Masters in Islamic Education at Warwick University. I am sure, with the experience I have gained working to a variety of sectors, I will be able to contribute to chaplaincy work at the University of Reading, and make the University a better place of education while providing spiritual and pastoral care.

I am a very friendly and easy-going person and I love working across faiths and with individuals from diverse backgrounds. Please don't hesitate to come and say “Hi” to me; and not just Muslims but anyone associated with the University of Reading.”

“I’m really pleased that we have recruited Javed as our first Muslim chaplain to provide faith-based support to the very many Muslim students and staff that we have on campus, complementing the existing team of chaplains, many part-time like Javed, that we already have in place through our existing Christian-focussed Chaplaincy”, said Simon Chandler-Wilde, Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. “Our chaplains do a great job of supporting our community, working with people of a variety of faiths or no faith at all, adding hugely to University life and to pastoral and spiritual care across the University. I am sure that Javed will make a large and distinctive contribution.”

Anglian Chaplain and Chaplaincy Coordinator Mark Laynesmith said:

"On behalf of the existing Chaplaincy team, I'm delighted to welcome Javed as a new colleague to the University. I very much look forward to working together with him in this exciting new phase in University Chaplaincy. Chaplains support both staff and students in teaching situations, pastoral care and in general hospitality. In particular, they are trusted to work closely with the University and RUSU to support students at times of vulnerability and need. Javed will be an excellent addition to our team."

Javed can be contacted via email.

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