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Simmons College Muslim Chaplain Named to Executive Board of Interfaith Center

BOSTON (September 24, 2009) — Mary Lahaj, the Simmons College Muslim chaplain, was recently appointed to the executive board of the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations at Merrimack College in North Andover, MA. Her appointment is effective immediately.

The center promotes understanding and reverence for the richness of Judaism, Christianity and Islam; the history together; and the imperatives of ongoing relations, while breaking down and healing all stereotypes and prejudices directed at members of these communities. The center encourages joining together to act more effectively for justice and peace.

Lahaj is the first Muslim chaplain at Simmons College in Boston, where she has worked to implement accommodations such as providing halal meat and a dedicated prayer space on campus. Prior to her arrival at Simmons, she was a founding member of the University Muslim Chaplains, an organization where Muslim chaplains advise, teach, and counsel students. Lahaj is also in her fifth year as Muslim advisor to the Groton School in Groton, MA, and is at work developing continuing education courses for medical professionals on caring for the Muslim patient.

Lahaj has a master's degree in Islam and Christian/Muslim relations from the Hartford Seminary and a certificate in clinical pastoral education from the chaplaincy residence program at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Lahaj received the Promoting Peace Through Dialogue Award from the Boston Dialogue Foundation in 2005, and has been featured in magazines and newspapers worldwide.

Simmons College is a nationally recognized private university located in the heart of Boston.  It offers an undergraduate education for women, and renowned coeducational graduate programs in health sciences, education, liberal arts, social work, library and information science, and communications management, as well as the nation's first MBA program designed specifically for women.