"If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?" Will Rogers
Question #30246 posted on 11/07/2006 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I was wondering (half for a research project and half for myself and half for the sake of other BYU students) about Muslim students at Brigham Young University. I know about the Muslim Students Association and am vaguely aware of the Arabic Club, but there has to be something more. Why do they choose to come to BYU of all places? Where do they come from? How many Muslims are there at BYU? I have great respect for these students and the leap they take in coming to an American university in a foreign country sponsored by a foreign church. In fact, I almost like BYU more because they've chosen to come here as well. In short, what can you give me and who can I talk to about Muslim students at BYU? Thanks

- Spoon Jackson

A: Dear Jackspoon,

According to the demographics page on the BYU website, 7% of the international students at BYU are from the Middle East. I think we can safely assume that a lot of these are Muslims. Of course, the international students only make up 6% of the total student body. So the Middle Easterners are 7% of that 6%.

From talking with the Muslim students that I know, they come here because we're a "dry" school. Our standards are high and so are those of Muslims. No alcohol. No pre-marital sexual relations. No drugs. That right there would be enough for any Muslim parent to send their children here!

They also like how religious everyone is here. Because everyone else is religious, they feel like they can be religious too. Some of them convert, which is good. Others become more dedicated to their own religion, which is also good.

BYU also has pretty low tuition rates, even for non-members. So, that's another perk.

Where do they come from? All over the place: Jordan, Egypt, Palestine, Morocco, Syria, Iran, and Israel (if you want to count that as "Middle Eastern).

The Kennedy Center lists quite a few Middle Eastern countries and gives some information on each of them. You might want to contact them, or International Services.

I think the best thing to do would be to start going to the Arabic Club parties.