Educating Muslims ...

LOS ANGELES TIMES, Nov. 28 — Rome’s Catholic universities and schools are helping to promote Muslim-Catholic dialogue, one student at a time.

The Los Angeles Times reported that students from Muslim countries are currently studying at pontifical universities and other Catholic educational institutions in the Eternal City.

“Officially, the Muslim students attend the Jesuit-run Gregorian Pontifical University and other Vatican schools to learn about Christianity,” the Times reported. “In reality, they have become mediators navigating the suddenly very tricky world of interfaith dialogue and understanding.”

Turkish student Mustafa Cenap Aydin, 28, said he has learned more about his own Muslim faith, as well as about Christianity, in his three years studying at the Gregorian. Until coming there, he was not aware of the many positive references to Christianity contained in the Koran.

Said Aydin, “I’m not the same Mustafa who came here.”

... and Some More

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Dec. 4 — Five American universities have set up satellite campuses in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar.

One of the five is Georgetown, which opened a branch of its elite School of Foreign Service in Qatar in 2005.

The others are Virginia Commonwealth University, Cornell, Texas A&M and Carnegie Mellon University.

Jesuit-run Georgetown has posted its crest — an American eagle with talons grasping the Cross of Christ — on its offices in Qatar, the Associated Press reported.

Said Georgetown spokesman Charles Nailen, “Here we are, in a fairly conservative Islamic state that said, ‘Hey, we want this Catholic Jesuit institution to come and educate our students.’”

Xavier Can File Claim

CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Nov. 29 — A federal ruled Nov. 28 that Xavier University and several other plaintiffs can seek compensation from insurance companies for water damage that occurred last year in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Insurance companies maintain that their Katrina-related policies do not cover flooding in New Orleans not caused directly by the storm, but instead by the subsequent failure of the city’s levees.

But Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. of U.S. District Court in New Orleans said that the language in the insurance policies on flood coverage was ambiguous because it did not “clearly exclude man-made” flood disasters.

Lawyers for more than a dozen homeowners and Xavier University, which had business insurance, told the Tribune that Duval’s decision was a victory for their clients.

Xavier was forced to cancel its fall 2006 semester after Katrina struck in September 2006, deluging the Catholic university’s campus with floodwater.

Pollster Joins CUA

THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA, Nov. 28 — The Life Cycle Institute of The Catholic University of America has named John Zogby as its first senior fellow.

Zogby, the president and CEO of Zogby International, will deliver lectures, sponsor events and assist the institute in pursuing major grants, said Stephen Schneck, institute director and chairman of CUA’s Department of Politics.

In addition, Schneck said, Zogby “will deposit at Catholic University the tremendous resource of his study of American ethnicity and values — an astonishing collection of polling data for the institute.”