Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn
What's the Latest Development?
More Muslims are attending American universities in general, with Catholic schools seeing marked increases, especially in the number of women. In response, colleges such as the University of Dayton have made accommodations for them, such as creating prayer spaces and hiring halal meat suppliers for special religious events. For their part, Catholic institutions aren't specifically recruiting Muslims; according to one Villanova University administrator, "[The increase] is basically something that happened through word of mouth and reputation."
What's the Big Idea?
Students listed a variety of reasons for attending, including a belief that Catholic schools provide conservative education environments that may resemble those of schools in their home countries. Like most students regardless of faith or origin, they usually experience some form of culture shock upon arrival, with some admitting their nervousness about attending an explicitly Christian university. One student says, "I thought it was going to be compulsory to take Catholic courses." However, in answer to the inevitable question of why a Muslim would choose to attend a Catholic institution, another student says, "I tell people the atmosphere is very warm and supportive...I feel accepted here, and that's what matters."
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