May 19, 2005


Different faiths, same spirit (John Biemer, May 16, 2005, Chicago Tribune)

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.

"The people are very nice and the school is Catholic, but it's very, very accommodating and open-minded. Muslim kids feel very much at home over there," said Inamul Haq, who has taught an introductory course on Islam at the university for the last decade. [...]

Both students and faculty members point out that many students raised in Indo-Pakistani and Middle Eastern families are drawn to the sciences, particularly those who plan to become doctors, dentists or pharmacists. Benedictine emphasizes preparing students to enter those fields.

But students say they're also comfortable with the moral and theological aspect of Catholic teachings. Aisha Ahmed, 20, marvels at how people from vastly different backgrounds can sometimes arrive at the same conclusions.

"The religions may differ, but I think the essence is the same," she said. "Once they have a religious tradition they hold on to so strongly, they can understand why you feel so strongly about your own religion." [...]

Michael James, vice president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and a former faculty adviser to Muslims at Notre Dame, said Benedictine does not surprise him.

"I think as Muslims increase in their numbers in the United States, they are going to be looking for places where they can be fully American, but be able to practice their faith lives," James said.

We've more in common than we do that separates us.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 19, 2005 10:39 AM

Just keep telling yourself that.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at May 19, 2005 1:14 PM

Ditto Roberts post

Posted by: BJW at May 19, 2005 1:58 PM


We, too, have been partying wildly at the news that Anglicans and Catholics have worked out their differences over the Virgin Mary, but now it's time to get some sleep.

Posted by: Peter B at May 19, 2005 2:40 PM

Check out Little Green Footballs' link to the sermon on Palestinian TV for a different view.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at May 19, 2005 2:51 PM

> We've more in common than we do that separates us.

Not to put words in OJ's mouth, but I imagine his point is that the gap between believers in Christ and believers in the Koran is infinitely smaller than the gap between either group and believers in Nothing.

Posted by: Guy T. at May 20, 2005 12:35 AM


A view of such staggering idiocy which makes most of us very happy that OJ doesn't drive.

Posted by: bart at May 20, 2005 6:43 AM

Guy: There are no "believers in Nothing". That's the problem.

Posted by: David Cohen at May 20, 2005 8:10 AM