What is it like to be Muslim at Elon?

There isn’t a monolithic, standard Muslim experience at Elon University. “Each of us will encounter our own unique challenges. Since we’re such a small community, I do not always engage with other Muslim students on a day to day basis. In the three years that I’ve been here, I’ve noticed that Elon is continuously making efforts to expose Islam to the student body and create an inclusive, interfaith community. Although I practice my faith privately, reaching out to surrounding Islamic communities can be helpful and comforting” N., ‘16.

What are food options for observant Muslims?

Green World Café, in the Colonnades Dining Center, is a vegan/kosher style option that offers flexible dietary options. Also, the local restaurant Taaza Fresh uses halal meat in their preparations. “The chef asked if there were enough food options for me and if I would be interested in some tofu steaks. He had made them separately for anyone who would not be able to eat the meat. This showed that he had knowledge, respect and awareness for different needs and that he was enthusiastic to make accommodations to insure everyone could enjoy” A., staff member. N. ’16 adds, “I’ve had to ask dining hall employees to use different utensils, clean cooking surfaces, change gloves and other requests to avoid cross-contamination.”

What are prayer options for Muslims at Elon?

A prayer room equipped with prayer rugs is located on the second floor of the Numen Lumen Pavilion and is open to all for daily prayers. The Sacred Space is also available for larger prayer functions. Fridays we offer community prayers (Jummah) and a small group will gather. Please follow the Muslim Life at Elon Facebook page for updates!

Burlington Masjid is located 4 miles from campus at 1908 S Mebane St in Burlington.  Visit their website or call (919) 998-9078 for information about ongoing programs.

Is it ok to wear hijab at Elon?

Some Muslim faculty and students are covered, and some are not. “From my personal experience, wearing a hijab at Elon hasn’t been an issue. There might be occasional stares but overall, it’s safe and okay to wear a hijab around campus” N., ’16.

Who supports Muslim students at Elon?

Associate Chaplain Imam Shane Atkinson’s primary goal is to support Muslim students at Elon. Imam Shane works with the student organization Elon Muslim Society to provide social, spiritual and educational programming. Contact him directly at satkinson2@elon.edu.

University Chaplain Jan Fuller grew up in the Middle East and has a place in her heart for her Muslim sisters and brothers. There are a number of educational and celebratory programs about Islam and Islamic holidays each year that are produced by the Chaplain’s staff. The Religious Studies Department offers Islamic Studies courses taught by Dr. Ariela Marcus-Sells. Kiah Glenn, Assistant Director in the Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity Education (the CREDE), is also an important resource for the Muslim community at Elon.

Additionally, the Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society under the leadership of Dr. Brian Pennington is very directly committed to Muslim students’ experience and education. Muslim life initiatives have the full support of university administration and student life staff.

Are there any Muslim faculty and staff at Elon?

There are around 10-15 Muslim faculty and staff on campus. Some are obvious by their dress or name; others may be less obvious.

Can I have fun and fit in at Elon if I don’t drink alcohol?

Alcohol certainly isn’t ever a prerequisite to have fun or fit in at Elon. There are plenty of enjoyable activities and events on campus that don’t involve drinking. Be sure to bring a friend or two to one of these events or activities — including Bingo night, Midnight meals, Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life events, and the Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity Education (the CREDE) events, just to name a few — or go by yourself to meet new people.

Is there pluralism among the Muslim community at Elon?

Some of our community is very observant, other members express their faith and identity in different ways; some Muslims are from international countries, and some are US residents. We find, in the Elon community, some of the same plurality as exists in many other Muslim communities within the United States.

Might I choose to celebrate a holiday at home with my family?

Elon supports the religious diversity of our student body and their plural needs for observance of holidays. The religious observance notification form, by which a student indicates the intention to miss class or other campus duties for religious reasons, must be filled out in the first three weeks of the semester. All academic work due to that absence needs to be negotiated with faculty directly.

What opportunities will I have to celebrate holidays with other Muslims?

Elon hosts an annual Eid al Adha celebration, as well as Eid al Fitr when it falls during the academic year. We gather several times a year with the local community for holidays, celebrations, and educational events. During Ramadan many of our students choose to gather with local families for weekend Iftar dinners, and Muslim Life works with Elon Dining to provide suitable food options for Muslim students observing Ramadan.

Where are the nearest mosques or Islamic communities?

The Burlington Masjid is located 4 miles from campus at 1908 S Mebane St in Burlington.  For more information, contact them at (919) 998-9078 or burlingtonmasjid.com.  There are also Islamic Centers in Greensboro, Reidsville, Chapel Hill, Durham and Cary.

Are there housing opportunities that will be appropriate for me?

There are numerous opportunities for single sex housing, especially during your first two years at Elon. Other residences have apartment style housing, where students choose their apartment mates. There is a substance-free Living and Learning Community in the Colonnades.

Which are the related student organizations to Islam?

Elon has a small but growing Elon Muslim Society. The Arabic Language Organization provides support and programs on Arab language and culture, which on occasion includes religion. The Elon International Society produces programming on parts of the Muslim world, and many of our Muslim students have been leaders in the EIS. Elon offers a Middle East Studies minor, classes in Arabic, Islam, and in other subjects related to Islam, its history, practice, and political implications.

What are upcoming programs of interest to me?

Connect with our Muslim Life at Elon Facebook page for news of upcoming events or follow us on Phoenix Connect.  Also, consult the Truitt Center Facebook page and Event Calendar.  For full listing of upcoming events at Elon University, consult the cultural calendar at www.elon.edu/culturalcalendar.

Are there Muslim student organizations nearby to Elon?

UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University have strong Muslim student groups. During the year, we expect to arrange or co-host some events or social activities with the larger community.

Are their interfaith opportunities for Muslims?

Elon’s interfaith commitment begins with helping students understand their own spiritual identities, while offering many opportunities to learn about the commitments of others who are different in faith or practice. Each year the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life hosts numerous annual festivals, one of which is Eid al Adha.  These events are open to the community and provide an opportunity for Elon students to interact with people of all ages while enjoying fun, food, education, and inspiration.

The Truitt Center often leads an interfaith spring break trip that is designed to provide a fun, supportive, and inspiring interfaith experience for Elon students.