Sep 11, 2013 05:50 AM EDT
UT Dallas Muslim Fraternity Despise the Idea of Reckless Drinking
Police officials need not keep a watchful eye on 'Alif Laam Meem,' America's first all-Muslim frat house founded in February at the University of Texas, Dallas.
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The fraternity, unlike some of its peers discourages drinking culture and hosting wild parties. Instead, it attempts to focus on philanthropic activities, self-enhancement and mutual support.
The fraternity - called Alpha Lambda Mu in the traditional Greek letters, was established by Ali Mahmoud soon after his arrival as an undergraduate at UT Dallas. It has been created predominantly for Islamic male students to socialize together and enjoy college life.
"The primary purpose of a fraternity is to unite these men as brothers under a specific cause," Mahmoud said. "We're taking what's good from the fraternity model and leaving what's bad."
"The idea of a Muslim fraternity seemed heretical,' Mahmoud said. "Muslims have been having a hard time recently trying to understand what their role in society is, so to embrace this very traditional American organisation is a symbolic move."
So, what do frat members do during their social gatherings?
Instead of partying, the frat brothers, wearing their bright red kufi caps, discuss their faith, and distribute sandwiches to the destitute. They also participate in demonstrations against domestic assault, and fund raising efforts including monetary help for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
"We hope that after all is said and done, we will have a strong group of guys who will stand up for social justice, for the needy, and for their societies just as the religion calls them to do," said Mahmoud.
"I'm a proud American Muslim, and I see no contradiction of those two titles. Islam is my moral compass that guides every aspect of my life, but it also leaves room for our cultural experiences. Most of us have grown up in families where that atmosphere of partying and drinking is not the norm. And we think that behaviour of womanising and excessive drinking is ungentlemanlike."
Despite being a Muslim fraternity, non-Muslims are allowed to apply for the membership. To be accepted into the fraternity, prospective students are required to handover $100 during the initiation ceremony that will be donated for charity.