Bilal Kareem

Bilal Kareem

A grassroots organization opened New England’s largest mosque last fall led by Bilal Kaleem ’03, MNG ’03, executive director of the Muslim American Society (MAS) of Boston. In a Boston Globe Magazine article, Kaleem talks about the legal dustup that accompanied the project, but he’s focused mostly on the group’s goal—to help the 60,000+ local Muslim community play a positive local role in their own spiritual growth and the community’s social change.

Kaleem, who has worked in MAS youth programs and as a mentor and teacher at a local Somalia center for immigrants, brings his own international past to this endeavor. Although his parents came from India, he grew up in Zambia, Nigeria, and New York, according to media reports. After he earned his MIT degrees in computer science and electrical engineering, he worked for Oracle and Goldman Sachs briefly before becoming involved with MAS. He is also pursuing graduate study in sociology and religion at Boston University, with a focus on the American Muslim community and their role as positive citizens in society.

“Boston is a cradle of a lot of religions….The first church of almost every sect is here,” says Kaleem. “So it’s significant that Muslims have such a beautiful mosque, the first in this historic city, that’s built in a grand scale, with full Islamic architecture in mind.”