Sulaiman Ahmad

  • Major: Politics & International Affairs
  • Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina
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A bright achiever following in the footsteps of sister Ayesha ’03 and brother Amer ’06 as the third member of the family to attend their hometown school, Sulaiman Ahmad couldn’t be a more typical Furman student in most ways. There were times, however, the son of Pakistani immigrants was acutely aware of one thing that made him different—especially after the burst of rhetoric swirling around his religion leading up to the 2016 election.

Sulaiman, a Muslim, heard and saw things he found offensive and at one time doubted his direction until the Washington, D.C., Internship Experience study away program charted a new course. “The way that D.C. built me up was you can’t do anything without action,” he says. “And from there on I came back to Furman and said ‘let’s do it.’”

“It” was spearheading two major initiatives to increase voting participation by Furman students, including being the lead plaintiff in a successful lawsuit against Greenville County that challenged handling of voter registration for college students. “I wanted to say that Muslims aren’t terrorists,” he says. “They aren’t unpatriotic, if you want to believe that.”

Sulaiman has received a scholarship from the U.S. Department of State to spend the summer in Lucknow, India, studying Urdu, his parents’ native language. After that, could be law school. Could be politics. Could be intelligence.

“That concept of taking a second and realizing that your perspective is not the only perspective that matters is what Furman really taught me in the long run,” he says.