Matthew Naughton

Staff Writer

BenTalks is hosting a dialogue on Xenophobia and Islamophobia this Wednesday at 12:15pm in Goodwin 411.

BenTalks invites both students and faculty to bring a lunch and come together for thoughtful, responsible, civil conversation on this topic. Photo Credit:

Having a BenTalk focus on Islamophobia is important for the Benedictine community because of the vast amount of Muslim students. 540 students, or about 24 percent of 2,250 undergraduate students in the spring of 2016 identified as Muslim, according to the Chicago Tribune covering the rise in Muslim enrollment at Benedictine University. Other school officials quoted in the article however, believe the level of Muslim students fluctuates between 20-30 percent.

The general attitude towards Muslim students in Benedictine isn’t one of hostility, but rather a general interest about the religion.  

“A lot of other students want to know more about it,” said Muzammil Chaudhry about his interactions with non-Muslim students at Benedictine, “I’ve never had problems come up due to Islamophobia.”

With the various student groups and strives to be inclusive, Benedictine has created a community that welcomes people of all faiths.

“Islamophobia isn’t really an issue here because I feel like everyone is very accepting [not only] because so many Muslims are here, but because there are also so many other religions here as well,” said Fareeha Moiz, a student at Benedictine University, “I feel like that’s because of the environment we’re in. Benedictine has established itself as an ‘everyone is welcome’ kind of place.”

Striving to create a welcoming community at Benedictine isn’t enough and the school knows it. The BenTalks aim to inspire others to change the world around them.

“It’s not just a problem in the United States, it’s a problem all around the world. That’s not right,” said Moiz.

The BenTalk on Xenophobia and Islamophobia is being facilitated by Students Organize for Syria and the Political Science Student Organization and sponsored by Intercultural Education, Student Life, Public Health, and Campus Ministry. Both students and faculty are invited to bring a lunch and join the conversation.