This semester marks a big change on the University of Texas, Austin campus as they welcomed Mu Delta Alpha, the school’s first Muslim sorority. Sorority President Maria Haseem says she was nervous and excited at the first sorority meeting held this month. “This is my first time doing it, but inshallah (“God willing”), I’ll start doing it and I know each semester I’ll get better.”
The sorority started three years ago at University of Texas at Dallas where student (and founder) Samira Maddox says she wanted to have the full college experience but was also yearning for a place she could be with people of her own faith. “I was like, maybe if we could have something for women only, in a university … what could that be? It happens to be a sorority.”
Ms. Haseem says that connection to identity is what drew her to become so active in the sorority that she decided to run to be its first president. “My identity means everything to me, not just as a Muslim, but as an American-Pakistani, as a first-generation immigrant. All these things mean a lot to me, in that they shape my perspective in how I think, but also in the way that I move about the world, and … the way the world responds to me.”
This semester the sorority has launched two new chapters (one at UT-Austin and a joint chapter at the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University). Currently over 60 young women are calling themselves sisters of Mu Delta Alpha.