Muslims from abroad are thriving in Catholic colleges

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 4 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

From left, Hadil Issa and Nada and Marwa Alsaif at the University of Dayton, a Roman Catholic university.

Ty William Wright for The New York Times

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Our take: Muslims from the United States and abroad are flocking to Catholic universities. Here, students say, they find acceptance of their religiosity despite differences in faith.

DAYTON, Ohio — Arriving from Kuwait to attend college here, Mai Alhamad wondered how Americans would receive a Muslim, especially one whose head scarf broadcasts her religious identity.

At any of the countless secular universities she might have chosen, religion — at least in theory — would be beside the point. But she picked one that would seem to underline her status as a member of a religious minority. She enrolled at the University of Dayton, a Roman Catholic school, and she says it suits her well.

"Here, people are more religious, even if they're not Muslim, and I am comfortable with that," said Ms. Alhamad, an undergraduate in civil engineering, as several other Muslim women gathered in the student center nodded in agreement. "I'm more comfortable talking to a Christian than an atheist."

Read more about Muslims attending Catholic colleges on The New York Times.

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