First professional Muslim sorority, Mu Delta Alpha, brings chapter to UNT

First professional Muslim sorority, Mu Delta Alpha, brings chapter to UNT

First professional Muslim sorority, Mu Delta Alpha, brings chapter to UNT
September 13
23:21 2017

Mu Delta Alpha, an organization which calls itself the nation’s first professional Muslim sorority, is coming to UNT. The organization is establishing chapters at both UNT and the University of Texas at Austin this semester after being founded at the University of Texas at Dallas in fall 2016.

Mu Delta Alpha: Muslimahs For Change, was established so “Muslim women from all walks of life can benefit from a sisterhood where they are encouraged to reach their highest potential in whichever path they may choose,” according to the organization’s website.

Samira Maddox, the founder of MDA, said she first thought of the idea when she began attending UTD four years ago. Her initial attempt to get involved on campus was less than welcome, Maddox said.

“I thought, imagine if Muslim women had a group,” Maddox said. “We could build sisterhood, friendship for life and be a support to one another and maintain our values and our religion.”

To her, the Greek flags flowing on campus represented century-long traditions of unity.

“I want to have a legacy for my daughter and the other young Muslim women for many years to come,” Maddox said.  

Sisterhood is integral to the organization, as Uruba Ali, history junior and MDA’s treasurer, emphasized.

“A lot of girls have dealt with things that are taboo in society, let alone in Islam,” Ali said. “We kind of just want to give them the opportunity to be themselves, and say ‘we’re here for you.’”

MDA’s president Moniba Ijazi said it might seem strange to outsiders that both the first Muslim fraternity, Alpha Lambda Mu (ALM), and the first professional Muslim sorority in the U.S. were established in Texas and in the Bible Belt.

“From an outsider’s perspective, yes, it’s surprising, because you’re thinking Texas is very heavily Christian,” Ijazi said. “But if you’ve been to Dallas, you know we have all these Islamic programs that people come to internationally. We have more than 10-15 mosques. Living in the DFW area, where I’ve seen so many Muslims and been around so many Muslims, it’s not surprising to me.”

Much of North Texas’ Asian population doubled between 2000 to 2010 according to the last census, with many South Asians making their homes in Dallas suburbs. Muslim students who graduate from high schools in these communities often serve as a social link to one another. This helps creates the network of young college-going Muslims in North Texas which helped ALM, and now MDA, expand.

Officers hope the organization will help fill a space left by traditional sororities, which Muslim women may feel aren’t a good fit.

“A lot of what you see in the movies and TV about Greek life kind of goes against what Muslims believe in, the drinking and the partying,” Ali said. “We wanted to mesh the spiritual side and college side of it together. I know there are other Greek life organizations that do Christian stuff, so I think it’d be cool to say, ‘hey, Muslims can be a part of this too, we’re not just some conservative group that sticks to themselves.’”

Ijazi was drawn to the unique nature of MDA as a professional and social opportunity for Muslim women.

“Usually we join a specific pre-law or business fraternity, or it’s more social or service oriented, but not all in one,” Ijazi said. “I would love to create an environment where we can all change these stereotypes that people have about Muslim women. That they can’t be powerful, can’t be in leadership positions or they don’t have a voice. I want to use this platform as a way to tear it down.”

MDA will host its rush week during the week of Sept. 18 and hopes to send out bids by that Friday. Ijazi said her personal goal is to get 10 women to pledge. Five years down the road, she wants to see the organization have its own house.

“We have so many motivated individuals here, especially Muslim women, who want to do so much,” Ijazi said. “This will just help all of us that are heavily goal-oriented get together and find ways to reach our goals.”

The group hopes to expand to Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas at Arlington in the near future.

“We want to make sure that we are the narrators of our story,” Maddox said. “Next time someone Googles ‘Muslim women’ it will not be images of oppression, but it will be MDA making change and encouraging education and showing how amazing Muslim women are.”

Featured Image: Junior Uruba Ali, senior Maniba Ijazi and junior Abida Shoukat are three of the four founding members of Mu Delta Alpha: Muslimahs for Change. Mu Delta Alpha is the new Muslim sorority on campus. Cameron Roe

About Author

Sarah Sarder

Sarah Sarder

Sarah Sarder is the Senior News Writer for the North Texas Daily.

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2 Comments

  1. Hope
    Hope September 15, 20:30

    Wow!! How cool is that?!
    Congrats to all the ladies of our newest chapter at UNT!! 💚💚

    Reply to this comment
  2. Hope
    Hope September 15, 20:31

    Wow!! How cool is that?!!
    Congrats to the ladies of our newest chapter at UNT!! 💚💚

    Reply to this comment

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