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Religious Communities in College: A Home Away from Home by Adèle Keim, Legal Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

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by Adèle Keim, Legal Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

This week was special for three different religious communities – Catholics welcoming Pope Francis to U.S. soil, Jews celebrating Yom Kippur, and Muslims observing Eid Al-Adha. For many, these events could only be fully experienced in community with others. Although far from home, religious college students share this longing.

In a recent series on Muslim college students, Huffington Post reported that the importance of having a supportive religious community was a key theme. “Many students told us that while they have friends who practice other religions, they find a particular kind of comfort in being among fellow Muslim students. They spoke about how the togetherness helps them to maintain their cultural identity and not feel isolated by their religion.”

Universities ought to be attentive to the importance of religious communities in the lives of their students, but too often universities relegate student religious groups to second class status or impose conditions that are flatly contradictory to their faith. During a week when so many religious communities have gathered, let’s remember – and support – the religious communities formed by college students gathering far from home.