Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Muslim Women at Catholic Universities?

Muslim women are a minority within a minority, especially when to comes to education. 

Ten years ago, according to the New York Times, Dayton University in Ohio - a Catholic university - had only 12 Muslim students – all of which were male. Today they have 78 Muslim students of which about 26 are women.

Muslim students, whether from the United States or abroad, say they prefer a school where religious practice is accepted. They feel more comfortable in an environment where there is faith, although it’s not their own faith. Muslim women in particular like the conservative nature of Catholic schooling. They like the less liberal and more traditional mentality on campus.

In fact, many Catholic Universities try to accommodate Muslim students the best they can. Dayton University helps Muslim students plan for religious events and has set aside a room for their daily prayer routines. Muslim students felt more respected at Catholic universities than they would a secular college.

With the respect, however, come a lot of questions and glances. Muslim women are not able to blend in because of their head scarves and oftentimes what some would consider overly conservative dress. Students around campus are intrigued by them and can’t help asking why they chose a Catholic university. 

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