Naijla Faizi

Associate Chaplain for Muslim Life

Naijla speaks at the 2018 Commencement

Naijla (she/her/hers) is passionate about the development of Muslim youth and cultivating them into advocates for the Muslim community by equipping them with the language, tools, knowledge, and confidence to navigate a society that privileges non-Muslim communities. She particularly enjoys doing this work on a college campus because she believes that our success as a democratic polity, with the potential for progress, rests upon the effectiveness of higher education institutions in developing the capacity of our young people, especially those whose identities and circumstances are most marginalized. Muslim college students not only grapple with their own marginalization on a regular basis but their very presence in unrepresented settings often forces them to carry the burden of becoming educational tools for others. Naijla is committed to lifting this burden by educating communities about Islam in an effort to develop institutional change that proactively supports underrepresented identities.

Naijla is an alumna of Wake Forest, class of 2014, at which time she was a leader in the Muslim Students Association and Interfaith Council. These were formative years for her in which she was able to gain tools to academically analyze her own faith tradition while growing in her religiosity. After graduation, Naijla pursued her interest in education justice work as an AmeriCorps VISTA for Education with the Office of Civic and Community Engagement at Wake Forest. She followed this passion to Washington, D.C. where she was the Middle and High School Program Coordinator at Asian American LEAD, a nonprofit that serves low-income Asian American youth. While in D.C. Naijla also worked at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and New Baptist Covenant exploring further the intersection of religion and social justice advocacy.

Prior to this position, Naijla served as the Director of Muslim Life Programming here at Wake Forest. She completed her Masters of Science in Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania in May 2020. Naijla plans to continue her education to better equip her to serve the Muslim community at Wake Forest. In her free time, Naijla enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, enjoying the outdoors, traveling, and trying new foods.