By JANE EL HORR and SANA SAEED
June 20, 2008; Page W11
The school year that just ended brought to the fore a couple of controversies over Muslim students on U.S. campuses. The University of Michigan announced in the fall that it would be spending $25,000 on footbaths for Muslim students. In the spring, Harvard’s decision to provide women-only gym hours to accommodate some members of the campus Islamic society sparked debate in the ivory tower and beyond. Yet away from the often-harsh media glare, a profound shift has begun across the country. Where dogma and conformity once defined the Muslim scene on campus, students with liberal outlooks are emerging to assert their voices on the quad. At some American colleges where the only official Muslim events used to feature gender-segregated seating, new programs are drawing diverse Muslim and non-Muslim participants to explore the complexity of the Muslim community.