SJU student to speak on faith and experience of St. Cloud-area Muslims

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February 14, 2017

Abdirizak Jama  '18

Saint John’s University student Abdirizak Jama will present “The Faith and Experience of Our Muslim Neighbors” at 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, at the First United Methodist Church of the St. Cloud Region, 1107 Pine Cone Road S., Sartell. 

The presentation will be followed by a Somali dinner at 6:30 p.m. Both the presentation and the dinner are free and open to the public, but an RSVP is requested to [email protected] or 320-251-0804 for the dinner.  

This program is jointly sponsored by the First United Methodist of the St. Cloud Region and Saint John University’s Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning.   

“In this presentation, I will speak about my own experience as a refugee and the experiences of other Muslims in the St. Cloud community,” said Jama, a junior majoring in chemistry and a pre-med student at SJU. 

“I also want to share something about the beauty and inspiration of the Islam that I and so many others grew up with and continue to practice, and how Islam guides and enriches our daily living,” Jama added.  

Born in Somalia, Jama and his family fled the country due to the civil war and settled in a refugee camp in Kenya for six years before resettling in the United States in 2010.

Jama attended St. Cloud Technical High School, where he became actively involved in community service. After graduating from high school, he helped to create a conflict resolution program, which later won the Partners in Education Award from School District 742. 

Jama has continued his community service during his time at Saint John's, where in April 2016 he was presented with a Caritas Man of Extraordinary Service award. He also has been actively involved in interfaith programs sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center.

“Abdirizak is a remarkable person,” said John Merkle, director of the Jay Phillips Center. “He a bright and diligent student who serves our community in exemplary ways.” 

Jama, who also works as a patient care extender at St. Cloud Hospital, is “deeply learned about Islam and is an ideal participant in interfaith dialogue,” Merkle said.