"In the major cities like Boston or New York, there are resources,"Hassan said, "but it takes time in smaller cities. But it is happening."

Similar steps are being taken at other small schools withhistorically small Muslim populations. In Massachusetts, BabsonCollege's new chapel has made room for Islamic prayers. Students therewill be joining Muslim students in fasting for the holy month of Ramadanin December, said the school's chaplain, the Rev. Thomas Sullivan.

Some Muslim leaders say there is a lot to be gained for collegesthat can be accommodating to Muslim students. With somewhere between anestimated 5 million and 6 million Muslims now living in the U.S.,colleges are competing for their tuition dollars and trying to lurethose students into medical, science and engineering programs.

"I think lots of administrations have realized that Muslim studentsare an asset to the community and campus in terms of diversity," saidEl-Genk, the vice president of the Muslim Students' Association of theUSA and Canada, and a senior at the University of New Mexico. "Muslimgroups and facilities are now listed in college brochures. As the Muslimcommunity grows, they want to attract that segment of the population."

There are other ways that schools are trying to accommodate Muslimstudents. Several schools, including GWU and the University of Virginia,offer dining options featuring halal meats, which are similar to kosherin how they are killed and prepared. Other schools adjust their diningschedules during Ramadan to allow students to eat outside ofregularly-scheduled times.

Still, many Muslim students continue to face deep-seatedmisconceptions and stereotypes about their religion. El-Genk'sorganization spends a lot of time working with Muslim student groups whoare encountering discrimination on their campuses.

Recently, the umbrella group worked with Orange County CommunityCollege in California after the school's administration would not allowMuslim students to pray in an empty room in the student union, citingthe separation of church and state. School officials eventuallyapologized and offered the students a partitioned area to pray.

Despite lingering misunderstanding, Muslim leaders say accommodatingreligious diversity on college campuses is good for both the studentsand American religious pluralism.

"This is definitely a good thing," said Sayyid Sayeed, secretarygeneral of the Islamic Society of North America, which grew out of themuslim student association movements of the 1960s. "What would Americagain, what would Christianity gain, if these students' religious needswere not recognized?"

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