Muslims in American Universities

Muslims in American Universities September 6, 2012

From NYTimes:

The issue is between supernatural vs. anti-supernatural, believer vs. anti-believer, and faith vs. anti-faith.

The flow of students from the Muslim world into American colleges and universities has grown sharply in recent years, and women, though still far outnumbered by men, account for a rising share.

No definitive figures are available, but interviews with students and administrators at several Catholic institutions indicate an even faster rate of growth there, with the Muslim student population generally doubling over the past decade, and the number of Muslim women tripling or more.

At those schools, Muslim students, from the United States or abroad, say they prefer a place where talk of religious beliefs and adherence to a religious code are accepted and even encouraged, socially and academically. Correctly or not, many of them say they believe that they are more accepted than they would be at secular schools.

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  • Yes! This is such an interesting trend; there was quite a noticeable increase in students from the Middle East during my time at the University of North Dakota. More interesting was the cultural differences amongst groups of Muslims; there were some very conservative families who I got to know a little bit, even getting to eat with the women in the back room of a Middle Eastern restaurant, where they could take off their outer garments and relax. But there were other groups of Middle Eastern men who had quite a poor reputation on campus for being rather ungentlemanly towards women. During a womens’ studies conference, a speaker came to discuss the conflict between womens’ rights in Europe and religious freedoms for Muslims, and almost started a riot. Yes, a very interesting trend.

  • Sorry, I have more to say about this: many of the Muslim women who attended the University had been very highly educated in Middle Eastern Universities where they were interacted with their male professors – who were in a different room – by microphones. In the non-gender-segregated ESL classroom where my mother-in-law did substitute teaching, it was difficult to get many students to cooperate with certain lesson plans because of their discomfort with the inclusive classroom environment. It will be interesting to see how universities deal with this in the future.

  • Percival

    Funny the article didn’t mention the really interesting thing. Most of this growth comes from Saudi Arabia as a direct result of their government policy attempting to bring some moderation to their educated class. Unfortunately, if the students are exposed only to secularism and don’t find hospitality, they often return more radicalized and anti-western than when they came.

  • Patrick



    That’s what happened to Qutb( father of the Muslim brotherhood). Americans are so secularized, we simply do not have a clue how the average Muslim sees us, plus they have a “female doctine” that cannot accept our paradigm. Qutb came here fascinated in 1948 and left disgusted and determined to save Egypt from America.

    Imagine what he’d do now?? It wasn’t because we mistreated him, it was because our culture and his were light years apart even in 1948. Bush thought letting these Saudi students come here would help them learn to love US culture, it will not. It might make them hate us way more than they currently do.

  • Amanda B.

    Re: Percival’s comment – I met a young man who is Saudi, ex-Muslim and currently agnostic. He is in a Western country on a state-sponsored scholarship. He claims that he is being carefully monitored, and if he lets slip around the wrong people that he is agnostic, or if he says anything against Saudi Arabia (a country he admitted hatred for), he is afraid he will be killed.

    I don’t know how much is reality, and how much is paranoia, but it would seem that the Saudi-awarded scholarships are taking great pains not to lose their students to Western thought.

  • Ben Thorp

    Here in the UK my wife worked for a few years at a Christian private school. There were an increasing number of Muslim children there, because their parents were happier with them going to a Christian school, with a defined set of Christian beliefs and a Christian ethos, than going to a state school.