12/2/2022
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American founder of Abaarso school in Hargeisa becomes Muslim


Monday September 26, 2022



Jonathan Starr taking the Shahada, or Islamic profession of fatih, at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury, MA. SCREENGRAB/ TWITTER

Hargeisa (HOL)  - The founder and former headmaster of the Abaarso School of Science and Technology, a non-profit educational organization in Hargeisa, Somaliland, became a Muslim this week in Boston.

Jonathan Starr, a former hedge fund manager and Massachusetts native, took his Shahada - or profession of faith - at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury. 

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A Twitter video posted on Sunday shows Starr at the front of the mosque with the Imam. 

"Yesterday, we had a meeting at a restaurant, and he (Starr) asked said that he wanted to ask me questions about Islam," said Imam Abdullahi, "and then he said, I want to be a Muslim, and today he wants all of you to bear witness."

Starr then took the Shahada, first in Arabic and then in English, before dozens of congregants.

Starr founded Abaarso in 2009 when he was fed up with his job and set upon a mission of purpose. 

He soon visited Hargeisa and decided that an American-style boarding school would give its youth the best opportunity to break free from their cycle of poverty and drought.

Starr, who lives in Westborough with his family, spent four years in Somaliland building a high school campus on a remote hilltop.

Abaarso has become the best high school in Somalia, and its graduates consistently place in elite post-secondary institutions around the world, including Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Brown, and MIT.

The Abaarso story is told in his 2016 book, It Takes a School.

 


 



 





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