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Muslim Footbaths Coming to NYU

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The New York Post reports that Islamic footbaths are coming to New York University: Islam Gains a ‘Foothold’ at NYU.

October 3, 2007 — New York University wants to make its sinks foot-free.

As more than a dozen universities and colleges across the country have done, the school is looking to install foot baths for ritualistic cleansing in a new Islamic center proposed for its more-than-1,500 Muslim students.

“It’s something that’s being looked at as part of the new interfaith center,” said university spokeswoman Kelly Franklin. While a home for the center has yet to be secured, NYU is in talks with the Archdiocese of New York about buying its building at 238 Thompson St., where the student Catholic and Islamic centers are currently housed. In a bathroom there by the Muslim prayer room - as well as in more-visible university bathrooms - Muslim students wash before each of five daily prayers, a task they precariously conclude by rinsing their feet in hip-high sinks.

Although students haven’t been clamoring for foot baths, according to leaders and members of NYU’s Muslim community, they would prefer them to standard sinks where washing leads to wet floors, dirty conditions and, at times, uncomfortable moments. …

Non-Muslim students interviewed at the campus suggested yesterday that even if foot baths were installed in a public place like the student library, they would not likely create a stir on the liberal campus.

“I think most people would really approve of that,” said senior Pia Clive, 20. “It’s NYU. If we were at Alabama State, it would be a different story.

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