In the Heart of Islam, American Muslims Mix Academics and Faith

Over roast lamb, stuffed zucchini, and the tasty, small dishes known as mezze, Safir Rabb II and his fellow American students banter in classical Arabic with their Syrian host.

They are African-American Muslims -- 17 in all -- who are here on a two-year odyssey to study Islam and Arabic in the heart of the Islamic world. They are taking time off from their studies at various American universities to learn not just the theology of Islam, but what it means to be Muslim. Sheikh Ahmad