RIYADH: ARAB NEWS
Saturday 4 August 2012
Saudi students at Murray State University in Kentucky have received a license to establish an Islamic center where they can organize cultural and social programs along with observing religious rites.
Saudi students had been performing their prayers and Iftar in a rented building in which other Arab and Muslim students participated. The city’s mayor and university authorities have supported the move made by the 400 member Saudi Students Organization.
A recent statement from the university commended the Saudi students’ excellent performance, and mentioned the various programs the new center will undertake in the city, Al-Hayat daily reported on Friday.
The Saudi Arabia’s cultural attaché in the US, Muhammad Al-Eissa, said the conduct of the students at the Murray State University was a befitting reply to those who fear that students taking part in the Kingdom’s foreign scholarship programs would be negatively influenced during a stay in the US.
Al-Eissa added that his office offered all kinds of support to the Saudi students in the US.
“The Murray State University center is one of many centers that Saudi students in the US are striving to establish. The embassy and the attaché office offer materials and moral support to the students. It is not right to say that some students on scholarships are projecting a bad image of their country and religion,” he said.
However he did not rule out the possibility of some isolated instances, which he said “should not be generalized, especially when a large number of students are in the US.”
He added that the students are painting such a good picture of the Kingdom and Islam that some Americans have converted to Islam under their influence.
He said the reaction of the US government and society toward Saudi student’s activities were positive, especially during Ramadan.
“The American society respects Muslims and their religious practices. The US president invites Muslim ambassadors and others for an Iftar at the White House every year,” he said.