Ferguson in Tunisia
to go abroad on Fulbright scholarships
Ferguson a fervant scholar of Muslim faith
archaeological dig in Carthage, Tunisia, in 1999, opened Christy
Fergusons eyes to the Muslim world in all its beauty, mystery
and contradictions. Since then, the young woman from Franklin,
a little town in the peanut country of Southside Virginia where
her family has lived for more than 300 years, has sought to understand
that world and its diverse people.
quest has shaped her studies at U.Va. and abroad. She addressed
the Muslim identity in America in her fourth-year distinguished
major thesis in anthropology.
summer, she interviewed Muslim immigrants while an intern with
the Islamic Institute, a political lobbying group in Washington.
And this summer, she will travel to Jordan as a Fulbright scholar
to study Arabics.
completing her Fulbright studies, Ferguson will choose between
joining the Peace Corps in Morocco to work with a maternal-child
health program or pursuing a masters degree in anthropology
at American University in Cairo or in the states at Michigan or
is still important for Muslims who come to the United States,
Ferguson said. Recent immigrants dont see themselves
as American Muslims, but as Pakistanis or Syrians or whatever.
They hyphenate and modify their ideas of themselves as they assemble
a new identity in America.
also redefine their religion in terms that American Protestants,
Catholics and Jews can understand, Ferguson said. Christianity,
Judaism and Islam all begin with Adam and Eve, and Muslims believe
Abraham, Moses and Jesus laid the foundation of their faith. It
is the teachings of the seventh-century prophet Mohammed, she
said, that remain the cornerstone of their religion, no matter
where in the world they settle.