Beginning Sept. 20, Imam Adeel Zeb will take on the role of Muslim chaplain and director of the Center for Muslim Life at Duke.
Zeb will be replacing Imam Abdullah Antepli, an adjunct faculty member of Islamic Studies. Zeb has worked as a Muslim chaplain at Trinity College and Wesleyan University, both in Connecticut, as well as American University in Washington, D.C. He has also served as a chaplain nationally, delivering the Friday Khutba prayer on Capitol Hill and visiting several hospitals across the United States.
Zeb's background makes him perfect for the role at hand, Antepli said.
"Quite honestly, I'd be worried if someone without college chaplaincy [experience] came to work here," Antepli said. "He has wealth of knowledge, incredible background, warm personality and is an outgoing person. Knowing that he's coming, I have absolute confidence."
Zeb received his master's degree in Islamic Chaplaincy at Hartford Seminary, and has taken on chaplain roles in a number of different settings outside of universities including at the Children's Medical Center of Dallas.
Antepli also has an extensive background in Muslim studies. He completed his basic education in Turkey and then served as a missionary in Burma and Malaysia. He will continue to teach and be a part of the Muslim Students Association at Duke.
Antepli's role as chaplain has laid the groundwork for Zeb tremendously, said Abdul Rahman Latif, a junior and MSA member.
"I haven't met Imam Zeb yet, but I've only heard good things about him," Latif said. "I'm really excited for his arrival."
The chaplain role at any university is three-pronged and deals with many different aspects of Muslim college life, Antepli said.
"The first goal is, obviously, to hold religious leadership for your own community—including teaching the Quran and giving sermons," Antepli said. "[Chaplains] also have to provide personal care and mentorship and make sure a student's Muslim identity is a helpful companion to college education."
Antepli added that in addition to his formal education, Zeb's personal background makes him an excellent candidate in forging bonds with Muslim students.
"[Zeb] was born and raised American, went through college education and comes from a similar background as other students," he said. "He's much younger and can relate to difficulties of college students nowadays. I have full confidence in his abilities as chaplain."