Muslim student speaks about experience at SNU

Photo by Stephany Reyes

By Brad Crofford, Editor-in-chief

While Southern Nazarene University is a Christian university, it also is host to students from a variety of faith backgrounds. Sophomore Nataniel Lucas spoke with The Echo in an interview about his experience as an SNU student with a different faith.

Lucas had already heard about and looked into attending SNU for basketball in 2008. He had learned about SNU through a basketball camp he attended in England.

When he converted to Islam in late 2008, he was unsure if he would still be welcome. He said international student adviser Lisa Williams reassured him that there would be other students of different faiths as well.

There are some aspects that were initially awkward.

“Going to chapel at first was weird. I sat in the back and watched,” Lucas said. “Now I am 24 and chapel is not mandatory anymore.”

Lucas said that professors have generally been understanding of the behaviors that come with his faith. Students eventually become accustomed to them as well.

“To pray, I excuse myself out of class briefly,” Lucas said. “I don’t really go around shaking hands with females…Sometimes people are weirded out, but eventually they get it.”

Lucas said there are some misconceptions in the broader community about Islam. For example, he said that some confuse Islam with a particular nationality or culture. They also have incorrect ideas regarding the religions beliefs.

“A lot of people think we worship Mohammed, peace be upon him, which is wrong,” Lucas said. “At the end of the day, Islam means a couple of things: submission and peace. A Muslim is someone who submits himself to the will of God…We believe in all the prophets from Adam through Mohammed, peace be upon him.”