Skip to main content

Meet the Muslims

Muslim students at BYU share their stories in a panel co-hosted by the Office of Belonging and the College of Humanities.

The event opens—like many events at BYU—with a prayer. Or, rather, two prayers. One in English, familiar to any Latter-day Saint; and then one in Arabic from a verse in the Qur’an, offered by Muslim BYU student Abdullah Alsboul (Computer Software Engineer ’25).

Thus began the Muslim Siblings at BYU panel, hosted by the College of Humanities and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The panel featured four Muslim students at BYU, who shared their thoughts and experiences and answered common questions about mixing their faith with their studies. A moderator asked questions and facilitated discussion.

Students on stage speaking at the Muslim student panel
Photo by Simon Laraway

What does religious worship look like for you?

“For me, it’s like simply sitting at home reading the Qur’an or serving others,” said Hind Alsboul (Speech Therapy ’24). “Service and doing something to bless other peoples’ day—that’s how I interpret worship.”

Sama Salah (Business ’25) emphasized that service is also an important part of her approach to worship, particularly getting involved in humanitarian work. “One of the best ways to worship God and to show our faith to God is by serving those who He loves most. And who does God love more than the oppressed and those in poor conditions?”

Abdullah emphasized that praying five times a day is important to him. “Islam is not just a religion, it’s a way of life,” confirmed Noureen Salah (Genetics ’27). “Most of the things we do, they all have some aspect of God or religion in them. So when we go to school, when we sit in class and we learn, that’s a form of religious worship for us.”

How does your faith shape and influence your education?

The student panelists express that education is deeply tied with their religion. “We are asked as Muslims to constantly increase our knowledge and pursue greater understanding of things,” Hind said. Abdullah confirmed this, quoting a teaching that Muslims “seek knowledge, even if it’s in China”—meaning that they must pursue knowledge to the ends of the earth.

Sama expressed that the classes she takes—from language to sociology to business—continually reinforce her faith. “I just notice how God is so great,” she said. “For all the intricacies of the human race . . . I just think that there has to be some other force having a hand in this.”

What would you like others to understand and appreciate about your religion?

“There are over 1.9 billion Muslims in the world,” Hind said. “Just because one person interprets something some way, it doesn’t mean that another person does too.” Abdullah chimed in, “A lot of what has been said has been misinterpreted by others. We wish to change that.”

The panelists also mentioned that asking questions itself can be a meaningful gesture. Hind said, “Always ask, we’re happy to answer.” Sama added, “Just listen, and make some Muslim friends, cause we’re super cool.”

Noureen confirmed that asking questions is important, but said that the Muslim students at BYU don’t speak for the entire Muslim community—in fact, no one Muslim can answer comprehensively for all other Muslims. “I don’t represent the entire Muslim community,” she said. “A lot of times we get asked questions that kind of put us all into one category.”

What assumptions have you faced from non-Muslims, and have these resulted in difficult or painful experiences with other BYU students?

Hind dispelled a common and unfair stereotype. “People think that women are oppressed in Islam,” she said. “Women are very well respected, and again, because we are 1.9 billion people, even Muslims misinterpret that sometimes and don’t know how to treat others.”

Abdullah said, “A classmate thought I had four wives. So I had to explain to him that I don’t . . . . I don’t even have one.”

Sama shared a story about how a student thought she was related to Osama Bin Laden because of a perceived similarity in their names. She noted, “It’s just laughable . . . I wasn’t mad at him; I was just like ‘why would you think that?’”

The panelists agreed that dealing with these experiences requires a thick skin and a forgiving nature. Hind says, “I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I really don’t try to interpret any questions I receive as people trying to offend me.”

As Muslim students at BYU, what has made you feel part of the BYU community?

Hind expressed that friends that take interest in her and her religion and have participated in her traditions have helped her feel at home at BYU. Noureen also affirmed the importance of the friends she has made, expressing appreciation that her friends “are showing interest in participating in Ramadan with us, and that’s something we don’t really get that often . . . . People, when they show interest and support, it makes you feel welcome, and it makes you feel like you belong at BYU.”

Abdullah thanked a professor he worked with and students that he had helped teach as a TA. “I really felt like part of the community; I was thriving. I had a fun time doing it, and I even got paid doing so.”

Sama credited her involvement with the Office of Belonging as helping her find community at BYU—calling it a “safe haven.” She said, “This office has made me see BYU from a whole new view.”

Looking to meet and learn more about the Muslim students at BYU? The university has an Arab Student Association that holds frequent activities that are open to non-Muslim students, a number of Arabic courses, and study abroad programs that will immerse students in Middle Eastern culture.