A footbath has been installed in a corner of a unisex restroom at the student center at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. The University of Michigan-Dearborn, right, is planning to install footbaths in an effort to accommodate Muslim students.
Try to see your way clear of the Times taqiya.
Universities Install Footbaths to Benefit Muslims, and Not Everyone Is Pleased NY Times hat tip Michael
When pools of water began accumulating on the floor in some restrooms at the University
of Michigan-Dearborn, and the sinks pulling away from the walls, the problem
was easy to pinpoint. On this campus, more than 10 percent of the students are
Muslims, and as part of ritual ablutions required before their five-times-a-day
prayers, some were washing their feet in the sinks.
The solution seemed straightforward. After discussions with the Muslim
Students’ Association, the university announced that it would install $25,000
foot-washing stations in several restrooms.
But as a legal and political matter, that solution has not been quite so
simple. When word of the plan got out this spring, it created instant
controversy, with bloggers going on about the Islamification of the university,
students divided on the use of their building-maintenance fees, and tricky legal
questions about whether the plan is a legitimate accommodation of students’
right to practice their religion — or unconstitutional government support for
Tricky? Separation of church and state is tricky?
As the nation’s Muslim population grows, issues of religious accommodation
are becoming more common, and more complicated. Many public school districts are
grappling with questions about prayer rooms for Muslim students, halal food in
cafeterias and scheduling around important Muslim holidays. As Muslim students
point out, the school calendar already accommodates Christians, with Sundays off
and vacations around Christmas and Easter.
“Starting about two years ago, school attorneys have been asking more and
more questions about accommodations for Muslim students,” said Lisa Soronen, a
National School Boards Association lawyer. “These issues don’t get litigated
very often; they’re usually worked out one by one.”
One by one? WTF? Exception makes bad law.
Nationwide, more than a dozen universities have footbaths, many installed in
new buildings. On some campuses, like George Mason University in Virginia, and
Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich., there was no outcry. At Eastern
Michigan, even some Muslim students were surprised by the appearance of the
footbath — a single spigot delivering 45 seconds of water — in a partitioned
corner of the restroom in the new student union.
No outcry? There should have been a tsunami of outrage.
“My sister told me about it, and I didn’t believe it,” said Najla Malaibari,
a graduate student at Eastern Michigan. “I was, ‘No way,’ and she said, ‘Yeah,
go crazy.’ It really is convenient.”
But after a Muslim student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College
slipped and hurt herself last fall while washing her feet in a sink, word got
out there that the college was considering installing a footbath, and a local
columnist accused the college of a double standard — stopping a campus coffee
cart from playing Christmas music but taking a different attitude toward Islam.
Read it all at the dhimmi Times.
UPDATE: Atlas reader HR writes, "Good Lord, I didn’t know these things are foot baths:
I’ve been peeing in them!"
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