Get to know Jusuf Salih

Jusuf SalihDr. Jusuf Salih is a living example of his own educational mission. He was born into a family of multicultural and multiethnic Balkans. From an early age, growing up in a communist country made Jusuf very aware of how important his faith is to him. 

"I struggled to deal with the atheist mindset in my life, when I had such a faithful mindset in contrast," Jusuf tells me, explaining how he felt being religious in a world against religion. "Religion is not a problem, it is the solution," he says. His experiences with faith are why he was drawn to study religion. He earned both his B.A. and M.A. at Marmara University, before moving on to the University of Virginia where he earned a second M.A. and his Ph.D. in Religious Studies. 

He then came to the University of Dayton to join the Department of Religious Studies. Some of the courses he has taught include Introduction to Religion, Introduction to Islam, World Religions, Islam in the Modern World, Islam in Europe and North America, and Comparative Mysticism. "Teaching is the only career that I have found true joy in," Jusuf gives as his reason for becoming an educator.

Jusuf likes to spend time with nature. When he is not teaching, he finds that water and lush green environments bring him a great deal of peace. This love of nature results in his spending a great deal of time walking in parks and through his neighborhood. Watching the birds and animals makes him feel connected to the world.

Jusuf is also involved here on campus, and in the community, whenever and wherever he can find interfaith dialogue happening. One of his great passions is to be involved in the connections between faiths.  He naturally loves to spend time with his wife and teenage son as well. “I am married to my best friend in the world,” he says lovingly of his wife.

Some of his favorite hobbies include reading constantly and watching documentaries on religion, history, and culture. Jusuf also enjoys bold coffee. His favorite is Turkish coffee but he will settle for a strong espresso. Throughout his life he has traveled through most of Europe, but in an ideal world he would be able to take time to travel around the world exploring religious beliefs and observing their rituals. "Traveling makes the world open to you," Jusuf explains of the value he finds in travel. A few of his favorite things include, The Godfather, which is his favorite movie, and the writing of Daniel Defoe, of which Robinson Crusoe is one of his favorite books.

Jusuf Salih is a faithful, determined, honest, and compassionate person who strives to be open-minded. To Jusuf, one of the greatest faults a person can have is to close their mind to learning. His aim is to be always open to the absorption of new knowledge. "There is always more to be learned," Jusuf says with a smile. His advice to students is, "Be an example of your beliefs; your actions are more powerful than simple words, and you can learn and grow by being authentic in your life.