Cornell University has introduced it’s first Muslim-interest fraternity at the school.
Three years after a group of Muslim American students decided they wanted to join a fraternity based on shared values and common interests, the Cornell Interfraternity Council welcomed Alpha Lambda Mu as the council’s first Muslim-interest fraternity.
Today, three years after students began the process, Alpha Lambda Mu has grown into a brotherhood of nearly 25 members, and on May 15, was officially recognized by the university.
Alpha Lambda Mu’s admission to IFC capped a seven-month process that Emad Piracha ’17, former president of ALM and the architect of the IFC push, called “very long, very capital-intensive.”
IFC membership will bolster the chapter’s presence on campus by including it in the rush process, Piracha explained. Before IFC status, ALM recruited new members only through word-of-mouth. In fact, many students are surprised to learn there is a Muslim-interest fraternity at Cornell, said Jibran Gilani ’20, vice president of ALM.
Although ALM characterizes itself as a Muslim-interest fraternity, the chapter’s religious and ethnic makeup is “very diverse,” Piracha said. “I’m Muslim — I’ve been Muslim my entire life, I’ve associated myself with a lot of Muslim organizations, but I wanted to separate the religious aspect from the social aspect of things. It doesn’t matter if you’re Muslim or not — we take anyone.”
Current president Rashaad Ahmad ’18 said this close community is important at a school as large as Cornell, where cavernous lecture halls and a vast campus can swallow an individual student. Many of ALM’s members are first-generation Americans, and joining a fraternity was a tough sell for some of their parents, Ahmad said, given the stigmas associated with Greek life.
With ALM’s entry into IFC, the fraternity’s leadership is hopeful that will start to change. Ahmad and Gilani are pressing to put ALM on a waitlist for a house, which Ahmad conceded is a long process. As membership swells with the rush process, the two are confident that the chapter’s on-campus presence will grow as well, and Ahmad foresees ALM organizing service events for both the Cornell and Ithaca community.
Before Cornell, Alpha Lambada Mu had five other chapters: the Grand Alpha chapter at the University of Texas – Dallas, the Beta chapter at the University of California – San Diego, the Delta chapter at San Diego State University, the Epsilon chapter at the University of Texas – Arlington, and the Zeta colony at George Mason University.
About Alpha Lambda Mu
Alpha Lambda Mu (Alif Laam Meem in Arabic) is the first national Muslim fraternity in America. Alpha Lambda Mu was named for three letters that start several chapters of the Quran: Alif Laam Meem. The Fraternity was created by co-founders Araf Hossain and Ali Mahmoud. The fraternities founding chapter was founded at the University of Texas at Dallas in 2013. Today, the fraternity has five chapters and several colonies.
The Fraternity is the subject of the documentary “Brotherhood: America’s Favorite Muslim Fraternity”