BCS3115 | SPRING 2017

Community Organizing as Spiritual Practice

Taught by Dr. Rami Nashashibi

Community organizing is a method of civic engagement and grassroots democracy building that has grown into a formalized field informing campaigns, coalitions and movements across the world. The tactics, experience and insights of good community organizing is credited, in part, to the historic election of the country’s first African American President Over the last two decade a new sense of awareness and appreciation for the power of community organizing and an ongoing role that a particular type of engagement with faith has also grown. The larger tradition and legacy of community organizing remains an important and very relevant part of how faith communities and leaders collectively move our societies closer to the world as we would like to see it. This course examines community organizing within the context of the American Muslim experience, providing students with the opportunity to directly engage its strategies through an explicitly spiritual framework.

Upon completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Explore how versions of community organizing have evolved through different faith institutions, spiritual convictions and strong religious leadership, and how faith has more broadly informed different iterations of community organizing as we know it today.
  2. Participate in various aspects of community organizing training and think through the faith considerations and dynamics of traditional community organizing tools and methods.
  3. Engage contemporary campaigns, issues and organizing challenges and use some of the insight and collective wisdom generated through the course to present a substantive faith-informed intervention.


Required Course Readings

(Click on titles to purchase required books from online vendors)


More About the Instructor

Dr. Rami Nashashibi has served as the Executive Director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) since its incorporation as a nonprofit in January 1997. He has a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago and has been an adjunct professor at various colleges and universities across the Chicagoland area, teaching Sociology, Anthropology, and other Social Science courses.

Rami has lectured across the United States, Europe, and Asia on a range of topics related to American Muslim identity, community activism and social justice issues, and is a recipient of several prestigious community service and organizing honors. Rami and his work with IMAN have been featured on many national and international media outlets including the BBC, PBS and a front page story in the Chicago Tribune. In 2007 Islamica Magazine profiled Rami as being among the “10 Young Muslim Visionaries Shaping Islam in America” and in 2009, Chicago Public Radio selected Rami Nashashibi as one of the city’s Top Ten Chicago Global Visionaries.

Rami was named one of the “500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in concert with Georgetown’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. He was named a White House “Champion of Change” in 2011, and was also invited by the governor of Illinois to serve on the Commission for the Elimination of Poverty and as a member of the Governor’s Muslim Advisory Council.

  • Traditional (On-Campus)
  • Hybrid Intensive
  • Fully Online


Course Start Jan. 17
Pre-Reading Jan. 17 – Feb. 3
In-Person Meetings Feb. 8-10 (Wed-Fri)
8:00AM – 8:00PM
Online Meetings none for this course
Assignments Feb. 20 – May 5
Course End May 5
Final Paper Due May 10


In person class sessions take place on the campus of Claremont School of Theology, unless otherwise noted. Complete details regarding course materials, assignments, resources and required meeting times and locations provided to registered participants.


Islamic Leadership
Elective (Recommended)
Islamic Education
Islamic Chaplaincy

Registration Options

Bayan Claremont and CST students should register for credit using the registration PIN in the Empower Student Portal. Students at AJRCA, UWest, and CGU should register through their school’s registrar.

If you are not a student at one of the above institutions, you can enroll for Continuing Education as a community member (no academic credit is given). Click below for the registration form and payment instructions.

There is no “live stream” for remote access to this academic course. Furthermore, no admission will be granted to individuals who are not enrolled through the available registration options.

Master’s Students at Bayan and CST $2,325 ($775/unit for 3 units)
Ph.D. Students at CST $3,100 ($775/unit for 4 units)
Continuing Education (Community Members) $1,000 (flat rate)


  • If you are thinking about enrolling in a degree program at Bayan in the future and want to take a course that will count for the program at that time, you should take the course for credit instead of continuing education, at the full tuition rate. To do so, you must be admitted to the school as a non-degree-seeking student through an application process before the start of the semester. Contact admissions@cst.edu for further information and application deadlines.