U.S. Life From Muslim Students' Viewpoints
Nearly 300 teenagers from predominantly Muslim countries toured Washington last month for a week. The time spent in Washington concluded a yearlong stay in the United States, during which they lived with American families and attended U.S. high schools.
The students took part in the Youth Exchange and Study program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's bureau of educational and cultural affairs. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Sen. Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind., sponsored legislation to establish the program in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as a means to promote mutual understanding between the United States and the Muslim world.
This year marks the fifth year of the program. Students were from 18 countries, including Bangladesh, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, and Tunisia. It is not a requirement that participants be Muslim, but most are, according to program staff members.