Muslims Make Significant Contributions at Benedictine College

May 16, 2005

Source: Chicago Tribune,1,999096.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

On May 16, 2005 the Chicago Tribune reported, "Mohammed Ahmed and Abrar Anwar draw curtains to cover the wooden altar, the pulpit and stained-glass images of St. Benedict and Jesus carrying the cross. Faruk Rahmanovic helps them move plastic chairs to the sides of the room and unroll colorful prayer rugs stashed in a cabinet. Minutes later, about 50 young men and women drop their backpacks near the bookcase full of hymnals, slip off their sneakers and flip-flops and kneel on the rugs. Bader Almoshelli, a sophomore wearing wire-rim glasses and a blue-striped Polo shirt, stands before them to lead Friday prayers that, in part, beseech Allah to help them through exams. At most Catholic universities, this would be an unusual sight, but it's an everyday occurrence in the student center chapel at Benedictine University in west suburban Lisle. The school's location, science-heavy curriculum and moral foundation have attracted one of the largest Muslim student bodies of any Catholic university in the nation. In a survey of 250 members of this year's freshman class at Benedictine, 13.5 percent of the students identified themselves as Muslim--almost 17 times the national average at Catholic universities and colleges nationwide. The 118-year-old college, which has about 3,000 students, has conducted the survey since 1999, when just 6 percent of the freshmen identified themselves as Muslim."