No Favors For Muslim Students
May 14, 2007 2:04 PM
by The Washington DC Examiner Newspaper
|An automatic wudu washer,
shown here on a promotional
brochure manufactured by
Worldwide, has come under
scrutiny as many public
institutions have approved
their use paying for their
installation through tax-
funded dollars while turning
down other religious groups
to install equipment to follow
their own faith and
“The principle of separation of church and state in tax-funded institutions has been upheld in more than a dozen Supreme Court rulings. As a result, overtly religious symbols of mainstream religions such as Nativity scenes, the Ten Commandments and menorahs have largely been banished from the public square on the grounds that they offend unbelievers.
But many public colleges and universities have been quietly accommodating some students’ religious activities while ignoring or even trampling on the First Amendment rights of other students.
For example, last year administrators at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College banned a coffee cart operator from playing music “tied to Christmas,” but approved the use of tax dollars to install special basins for Wudu so that Muslims could ritually wash their feet before prayer. College President Phil Davis defended this glaring double standard by absurdly insisting that “the foot-washing facilities are not about religion, they are about customer service and public safety.” At least a dozen other public colleges and universities in the nation have also installed Wudu facilities, including George Mason University in Fairfax.
A GMU spokesman said there were no complaints from other student religious groups when the Muslim Student Association was given permission by administrators to convert a common third-floor meditation room into a makeshift mosque. Would Campus Crusade for Christ be allowed to turn the facility into a makeshift Resurrection scene? The spokesman acknowledged that the other student religious groups have to reserve rooms or meet off campus when they want to pray together. At another state-supported school in Virginia, The College of William & Mary President Gene Nichol recently agreed to return the cross he had removed last year from the college’s historically Christian chapel only after angry alumni threatened to withhold millions in donations.
The paradox strains logic. Church and state remain firmly separated on campuses where the majority of students are Christian, Jewish or of no faith, but administrators toss the principle right out the window to satisfy a minority of Muslim students. Many college officials are granting prerogatives to Muslim students in the United States and Canada that are not permitted to other groups. For instance, the Ontario Human Rights Commission regards failure to make special accommodations for Muslim students, including inserting “Islamic perspectives” into secular curriculums like nursing and finance, as a form of “Islamophobia.”
Expect similar political correct demands soon on American campuses. This Orwellian, some-religions-are-more-equal-than-others approach is both hypocritical and discriminatory. The Constitution, to say nothing of basic fairness, demands that the same rules regarding the public expression of religious faith be applied equally to everybody. And for once wouldn’t it be refreshing to see a college president show some real backbone when faced with unreasonable demands from activist minority students seeking exclusive privileges?”
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