Abdul-Malik Merchant serves as the Muslim Chaplain at Tufts University. After his family converted to Islam when he was 8-years old, he was immediately embedded between a multitude of ethnic groups within the Muslim community. Before he turned 18 Abdul-Malik was accepted into Umm al-Qura University in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, where he spent the next decade studying traditional Islamic studies in the religion's birthplace. It was after returning home that Abdul-Malik found his passion in serving others pastorally, but also in the academy. Last semester he completed his Masters in Theological Studies, from Boston University's School of Theology, concentrating on practical theology. The nexus of his interests fall at the intersection of spirituality and emotional well-being. These experiences provided him with a cultural reflexivity that he brings to his chaplaincy and academic work.
While the effects of COVID-19 and the subsequent quarantine are yet to be quantified, Abdul-Malik's Tisch Fellowship project seeks to explore the unique spiritual care and counseling needs of students of color have, especially during times of crisis and challenge. The outcomes for this proposed project will be a formal evaluation and assessment of interfaith spiritual care circles for students of color and others at Tufts University. This proposed project anticipates a peer review paper and submission of an abstract to the American Academy of Religion.