May 08, 2006

A Muslim Sorority

From the Washington Post:

Greek letters gleamed from a satin banner hanging at the front of the room, sequins flashed on little purses, and one woman holding a gold brochure blushed crimson, trying to explain why she liked the idea of this new group. Another widened dark eyes lined with kohl, watching everyone closely.

Tasmim Anwar smiled and said, with a little gush, "I am such a sorority type of girl."

And -- long before the first Gamma Gamma Chi rush in Maryland was over -- a student had politely interrupted to ask if they could break for maghrib , a sunset prayer. The women, draped in dark scarves, knelt to praise Allah in a hallway at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Forget everything you thought you knew about Greek life. These women came curious about a new kind of sorority, one that could change stereotypes of Muslim women, one based on Islamic beliefs: no drinking, no socializing with men...

So they came to this new kind of rush, some covered head to toe in dark abayas , some with scarves pinned carefully around their heads and strappy four-inch heels, some with hair loose and jeans tight. Like so many Americans, most of these women don't fit into any easy cultural niche; they've been blending and balancing all their lives.

And some wondered aloud whether this most American of college traditions might be too tricky to pull off.

"I'm curious to see how that will be, that balance," Anwar said.

Like most Greek organizations, Gamma Gamma Chi wouldn't turn people away just because they're different -- it would be open to non-Muslims as well -- and it would have social events for women.

But no drinking, clubbing or hooking up.

Not sure how this will work. There are no Muslim fraternities and they are not allowed to socialize with men, so no exchanges would be possible. They do not drink, so no parties. Sounds like a real good, not. But, to each its own.
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