Greek Life and the Muslim Girl
It's not just for do-gooders or party girls anymore. America's Greek sisterhood is gaining a new group--a Muslim sorority.
When Imani Abdul-Haqq converted to Islam in November 1999, she knew her life as a Muslim would make her an outsider. She decided that though she would have to give up some things, she would figure out a way to live an American life within her faith.
Six years later her mettle was put to the test: As a Guilford (North Carolina) College student, Abdul-Haqq was unwilling to forgo one crucial element of college--a chance at experiencing Greek life.
Her determination to meld faith with sorority life led her to co-found the first ever Greek-Muslim sorority--Gamma Gamma Chi, a haven for young women looking for sorority sisterhood minus the co-ed parties and other haram (forbidden) activities.
That first Muslim-Greek sorority was the realization of a cherished goal for Abdul-Haqq. But the story doesn’t end there. As word continues to spread of Gamma Gamma Chi, Muslim sisters in Kentucky, Maryland, Georgia, and other states are clamoring for chapters at their own universities.
Abdul-Haqq’s journey to Greek life is indicative of the modern Muslim-American woman--respectful of her faith and determined to partake inhalal
(permissible) aspects of American life. If there’s a way to make it work, then women like Abdul-Haqq will make it happen.
In the Beginning
After converting to Islam, Abdul-Haqq’s problems began immediately. At her first college, North Carolina’s Bennett College for Women, she tried to join an established, historically Black sorority and was rejected because of the image associated with her beliefs. “Even though these girls knew who I was, I was perceived as an outsider because of my obviously Muslim appearance,” says Abdul-Haqq, referring to her hijab (headscarf) and conservative clothes.
Like other Muslim women, she realized that becoming a sorority sister could mean compromising her beliefs. “In searching for the close bond of sisterhood that a sorority offers I felt that my beliefs and lifestyle conflicted with the activities and whole pledging process of most sororities,” she says.