A new Muslim student groups tries to rouse the moderates

The Wall Street Journal explores the changing ways in which Muslims university students in the US are seeking to express their religiosity on campus. This past spring, Harvard University decided to provide women-only hours at athletic facilities at the request of a few Muslim women, which subsequently sparked some controversy at the school. The University of Michigan announced recently that it would spend $25,000 to build footbaths for Muslim students for prayer ablutions. At these and other American colleges, features like gender-segregated seating are drawing both Muslim and non-Muslim students to explore further complexities of university life and religion. The Muslim Students Association (MSA) was launched in the 1960’s as a Saudi-funded establishment to support Da’wah on campuses across the country. Critics of MSA groups – both Muslim and non-Muslim – have challenged the organization as associating with Wahhabism, conservatism, and even radicalism. These concerns inspired a group of Washington-area students to establish a new campus initiative last fall. Project Nur, created by young Muslim women and men, grew out of a desire to provide an ambiance of promoting civic liberty, interfaith dialogue, and addressing identity issues. Project Nur now spans at least 7 chapters, and has even launched a first-ever Muslim Film Festival in Boston and Washington, and is a developing initiative hoping to serve as a positive organization for contemporary Muslim young people.