When Zeina Abusoud began as director of residence life at Benedictine University a decade ago, the number of Muslim students attending the Catholic institution in Illinois was scant.

But accommodations in academic policy and an inclusive religious environment have helped transform the university into a popular hub for Muslim college students.

“Benedictine is guided by the Roman Catholic tradition and also Benedictine values,” says Abusoud. “St. Benedict’s rules emphasize the tradition of respect and hospitality and appreciation for living and working together in a community. These values are universal and make it very comfortable for the Muslim students to be part of the Benedictine community.”

Since providing information on religious affiliation is optional for students, there are no official statistics on the exact number of Muslim students attending the university. But based on the number of students who responded to a survey conducted by the university last year, an estimated 13 percent of Benedictine’s 3,200 undergraduate students are Muslim. (MORE)


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