Muslim sorority launches first semester at UT-Austin

University of Texas Austin campus at sunset-dusk - aerial view. Courtesy of

While the University of Texas at Austin has long been known for its active Greek like, the Mu Delta Alpha sorority will bring a unique aspect to the campus social scene as the school’s first Muslim sorority. The chapter held its membership drive (or “rush week”) in September and had its first chapter meeting earlier in October.

Samira Maddox founded the sorority at UT-Dallas in 2014. She told a Dallas TV station that she faced numerous challenges while creating the group, both from students and from faculty members. One of the biggest challenges she encountered was from women who wanted to join a sorority, until they found out about the group’s strict adherence to Muslim traditions, including abstaining from alcohol.

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“Everybody who thinks of sororities, they have the idea of the movies. You know, all those parties, in the houses, or whatever they have,” Maddox said. “That’s what people were thinking initially we were going to do. To them it’s like, ‘Why would you wanna do that?’”

She also encountered resistance from faculty members when she was looking for faculty advisers…

“We could tell that people were scared. They’ve never had anything like this,” Maddox said. “Muslim people coming out of nowhere, and saying, ‘Hey! Do you want to be our adviser? You would be responsible for any event that we do. You would be the one who advocate for us at the school.’ There was a lot of pushback on that.”

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Despite the adversity, Maddox persevered and made the sorority a reality.

“I felt like there wasn’t a place of belonging for me, being a Muslim woman, African-American,” she said. “I was like, maybe if we could have something for women only, in a university … what could that be? It happens to be a sorority. ”

The sorority also has a joint chapter at the University of North Texas and Texas Women’s University, both in the Dallas suburb of Denton. No word yet on if or when the sorority plans to open other chapters at other Texas universities.

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