In the News: Father Chris Collins on Interfaith Support Services for Muslim Students

Father Chris Collins, vice president for mission at the University of St. Thomas, recently spoke with OSV News about how the university embraces diversity and supports its Muslim students during Ramadan, promoting interreligious dialogue and understanding as part of its Catholic mission.

Lisan Hasnain also shared his experience from a student perspective.

From the story:

During the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the cafeteria at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, accommodates Muslim students who observe fasting from dawn to sunset. ...

“We’re trying to live out the Church’s mission that way to be in dialogue and support in living a life of faith in an increasingly secularized world,” Father Collins said. “It’s about meeting people where they are and trying to support them. When you enter into those places of dialogue, that also helps Catholics and other Christians to appreciate their own faith, as well. ...”

Lisan Hasnain of India is a senior studying entrepreneurship and communications. After a year as a general member of the Muslim Students Association, he took a leadership role on the board and is now vice president. He attends Friday prayer services hosted by the campus ministry and also sits on the interfaith council that addresses the needs of students, staff and faculty with different faith backgrounds.

Finding common ground

“The main common ground stems from the basic concept of humanity,” he said. “I think it starts with respecting and showing kindness to everyone regardless of religious background. Another common ground at St. Thomas is that everyone wants to build community. I also find common ground through dialogue with others about Islam, which allows me to reflect about my own practices and belief.”