Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Ron Hirschbein


Anti-Muslim prejudice has increased precipitously since the attacks of September 11, 2001, including prejudicial effects related to socio-cultural differences on college campuses. The purpose of this quasi-experimental exploratory research was to understand the effectiveness of multicultural education programs (MEPs) in reducing anti-Muslim prejudice in higher education. Grounded in intergroup threat theory and frame analysis, it was hypothesized that students who are not engaged in multicultural affairs will perceive Muslims as more threatening and will therefore hold more prejudiced views than would students who active in multicultural affairs. The sample consisted of 125 respondents (N = 51 from a group participating in an MEP; and N = 74 from a control group of students who did not participate in an MEP) from a large research university in the Southeastern United States. Data were collected through a survey to measure symbolic threat, realistic threat, and Islamophobia. An independent group-posttest design was used to explore the effectiveness of MEPs and the independent groups' t test was performed to examine differences in the respondents' attitudes toward Muslims. Moderate yet significant differences were present between groups, suggesting that the effects of the MEP were positive. Respondents engaged in multicultural programs were less likely to perceive Muslims as threats and were less likely to hold Islamophobic views of Muslims than were their peers from the control group. Results indicate positive social change implications for the integration of American Muslims as well as the development of more comprehensive programs for educators and policy makers.