Alpha Lambda Mu at the University of San Diego is the first Muslim fraternity in the U.S.
The fraternity was founded by Muslim students to offer fellow believers a way to express both their American and Islamic identities. While the fraternity is similar to its secular counterparts in that it offers members a menu of social activities and volunteer work, it does so in a Muslim context that avoids the heavy alcohol use and hazing rituals, not to mention non-halal food such as pork.
With 24 members, the fraternity is planning to have its own house next fall and there are already several other chapters in the planning at Penn State, San Diego State and the University of Florida. Scholars say that the Muslim interest in a fraternal identity on campuses is not unexpected from a generation that sees itself straddling American and Muslim cultures, and is taking on a more public face after a period of introspection following 9/11.
The chapter has close ties to the Muslim Student Association (MSA) on campus, although it stresses that the fraternity is not political — a charge often made about the MSA.
(Source: New York Times Education Life, Feb. 9.)