Muslim Students at Catholic University of America Used as Pawns
In late October, I saw an article that indicated that a group of Muslims at private Catholic University demanded an investigation because the rooms they use for prayer have crosses and other Catholic symbols and artifacts, and they found it disturbing. I will say that bothered me a bit - at a private Catholic institution, school, hospital, whatever, one will find Catholic symbols, well, all over the place.
The Muslim students enrolled at this particular University in the first place because the general religious atmosphere is one they find attractive.
I had a brief discussion with Curious Lurker about this article, trying to see if my perspective was skewed in some way. The complaint against the school charged, in part:
The 60-page formal legal complaint filed with the D.C. Office of Human Rights by Banzhaf claims that the university was illegally denying equal access to facilities and services for Muslim students on the basis of their religion.
The complaint charged that ‘usually, or at least frequently, these Muslim students at CUA find that they must perform their prayers surrounded by symbols of Catholicism.’
The presence of a crucifix, image of Jesus or picture of the Pope is something ‘which many Muslim students find inappropriate and not especially conducive to praying according to their very different religious beliefs,’ the complaint says.
The complaint also says that some Muslim students must pray in the ‘school’s chapels and at the cathedral that looms over the entire campus - the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception,’ which is ‘hardly a place where students of a very different religion are likely to feel very comfortable.’
And, well, my perspective was indeed skewed, mainly because the article was FALSE.
As it turns out, the lawsuit was not filed by any of the Muslim Students at Catholic University of America - not one of the students filed a complaint, or was involved in the lawsuit in any way. Oh, the lawsuit exists and it was filed. But not on the basis of any complaints by Muslim Students at the University. From this article:
The complaint against the university was filed by legal activist Professor John Banzhaf, known in recent years for his multiple ‘fat lawsuits’ against fast food restaurants, including McDonald’s and KFC.
A law professor at George Washington University’s Law School, Banzhaf teaches a unique ‘Legal Activism’ course that has been dubbed ‘suing for credit.’
Students in the course ‘become public interest lawyers by bringing their own legal actions.’
University Muslim students have announced their opposition to the recent lawsuit against the University proposed by George Washington University professor John F. Banzhaf, who claims that the University is discriminating against Muslim students by not offering them a separate place to pray on campus.
The University has not received any official statement from the Office of Human Rights in regard to the lawsuit.
“Neither me nor any Muslim student I know has ever filed a complaint against CUA for any reason,” said sophomore biomedical engineering major Alawiyah Al Hashem. “I haven’t seen any actions taken by the university or any of its students that would justify doing so.”
Al Hashem is an international Muslim student from Saudi Arabia who plans to return to Saudi Arabia upon graduation.
In my opinion, this time, he has stepped WAY over the line. Many thanks to CL for sending me the updated information.