By Jo Barrow

When someone mentions college fraternities, a group of devout, celibate young men is not the first image that springs to mind. Thanks to endless gross-out Hollywood comedies, people are bombarded by images of privileged men drinking away their degrees at parties with the ubiquitous red and blue Solo cups, but something different is happening.

In February this year, America’s first Muslim Fraternity was established at the University of Texas; Ali Mahmoud is the President of Alpha Lambda Mu (or Alif Laam Meem) and its founder.

Although fraternities are seen as little more than glorified residential drinking clubs, it was not always that way.

Ali explains: “The primary purpose of a fraternity is to unite these men as brothers under a specific cause.” However, the reputation of fraternities changed in the 20th century, when fraternities became known for their party culture more than anything else. [Read more…]