Back during the whole controversy over John Banzhaf, the DC lawyer — a non-Muslim gadfly — who filed a formal legal complaint against the Catholic University of America over its alleged bad treatment of Muslims, some folks wondered why the university’s Muslim students weren’t speaking out to distance themselves from the whining lawyer. A friend just e-mailed this story from the CUA newspaper a week ago, in which Muslim CUA students do that. Look:

Junior electrical engineering major Wiaam Al Salmi said that she has not encountered anything that could be defined as discrimination during her time at the University.

“I have found that my closest American friends are the more religious Catholics; those who pray before they eat, or who are shocked to see a person cheat,” she said. “They are the ones that allow me to listen to them pray the Rosary or attend Renew with them. These friends not only shared their religious beliefs with me, but they also allowed me to do the same, which then created a sense of respect for one another’s religion.”


Al Hashem denied Banzhaf’s claim that Muslim students were complaining because they could not pray in places that displayed Catholic symbols, such as the crucifixes which are affixed to the walls of all University classrooms.

“It is obvious that Banzhaf has no idea what Muslim students are experiencing here on campus and I would not want to be represented by a person like Banzhaf,” she said. “He is claiming that we as Muslims can’t pray in a room that displays Catholic symbols. I’m not sure where he got that idea from, but I’m certain that it is not true. It is perfectly fine to pray in a place like that. I’ve prayed in many rooms that had crosses and pictures of Jesus, and there was no problem doing so.”

Al Hashem said that part of her decision to attend the University was because she had a strong desire to be at a place that took religion seriously, no matter which religion that was.

“I chose to attend CUA because it is a religious school,” she said.  “I didn’t really care what religion it belonged to. As long as God is present in their everyday life, then it is fine with me.”

Love it. That’s the kind of ecumenism that resonates with me.