Benedictine University: A College With Religious DiversityBy Chris Brandt, UniversityHerald Reporter
Benedictine University is a Catholic College in Chicago which was founded in 1887. It has been consistently on the list of Forbes' top universities in the United States. Aside from this, Benedictine is also known as being one of the most attractive colleges among Muslim and Hindu students.
Benedictine University is located in a county where the majority is white and Catholic or Protestant. However, recent statistics reveal that it might be the Catholic university across the United States with the highest Muslim students, which fluctuates between 20 and 30 percent and still rising.
There are two main reasons why Benedictine is attracting Muslims. First, it is located from two Islamics schools not far from the area. These students, on the other hand, are attracted to the science curriculum that Benedictine offers. Second, DuPage county where Benedictine is located has a lot of tech and science jobs which are attractive to Muslim and Hindu students.
Aside from this, Benedictine has adopted a policy that is favorable for its Muslim students. That includes having meals that is halal-approved and allowing Muslim students to leave class during prayer times. They are also allowed to be absent during Muslim holy days, such as Ramadan.
Benedictine showed its commitment to its Muslim students by hiring Ali Yurtsever, a math professor and the president of American Islamic College in Chicago, to be its Muslim adviser. Benedictine President Michael S. Brophy said that Yurtsever has been very helpful in serving these students. He added that these students are devout not only in their faith but also in their studies as well.
To further encourage the safe and welcoming atmosphere, the college has an interfaith group made up of Christian and Muslim students where they have religious discussions over meals twice a month.