Friday, July 27, 2007

Where's the Oft-Lauded Separation?

The University of Michigan at Dearborn: Planning to build foot baths for Muslim students who wash their feet before prayer.

An elementary school in San Diego: Created an extra recess period for Muslim pupils to pray.

George Mason University in Fairfax, Va: Muslim students using a "meditation space" laid out Muslim prayer rugs and separated men and women in accordance with their Islamic beliefs.

All public schools.

"...At the forefront of the movement is the Muslim Students' Association, which has formed a Muslim Accommodations Task Force to push for foot baths and prayer rooms. At least 17 universities have foot baths built or under construction, including Boston University, George Washington University and Temple University, and at least nine universities have prayer rooms for "Muslim students only," including Stanford, Emory and the University of Virginia, according to the MSA's website. The association did not return calls seeking comment.

Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim and chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, which promotes separation of mosque and state, says he is concerned about the accommodations. "Unusual accommodations for one faith at the cost of everybody else doesn't fall on the side of pluralism," he said.

At George Mason University, non-Muslim students were asked to observe Muslim rules in the prayer area, such as keeping men on one side and women on the other and removing their shoes, according to Broadside, the school newspaper. Alissa Karton, assistant to the vice president for student life, said the article prompted the school to order students to roll up prayer rugs when not in use and move the dividers..." (source)

Didn't the ACLU represent someone that was objecting to after school prayer groups? Yet they were quoted as saying this situation was "murky" and may rest just inside what is legal...

No comments: