Aug 29 2009
MICHIGAN: Univ. of Michigan decision to install foot-washing stations ignites arguments over issues of separation of church and state, funding.
The University of Michigan-Dearborn recently unveiled plans to build foot-washing stations in two bathrooms on its campus, initiating a war over whether or not the stations breach the separation of church and state. The oft-stated figure for the cost of the stations has been $25,000 but, along with the necessary renovations made to the bathrooms, the cost will total $100,000 – a figure that has many steaming.
The university and proponents of the new structures claim that the stations are necessary for the Muslim students on campus who must wash their feet and hands before praying – something they do five times daily. Previously, Muslim students were seen in bathrooms propping up their feet into bathroom sinks to perform the ritual, though others simply wiped their feet with wet paper towels. “It was just an issue of logistics and maintenance,” said Bazzy, “as opposed to this huge religious accommodation.” (Yeah, sure it was) THE MICHIGAN JOURNAL
MINNESOTA College to Install Muslim Foot Bath
Minneapolis Community and Technical College has a policy that “strictly prohibits religious displays.” For example, this past Christmas season a memo from Dianna Cusick, director of legal affairs and President Phil Davis, warned against any public display of holiday cheer: “As we head into the holiday season, all public offices and areas should refrain from displays that may represent to our students, employees or the public that the college is promoting any particular religion.”
Nevertheless, the college is planning to use taxpayer funds to install facilities for Muslim ritual foot-washing. School officials are going on a junket to visit a community college in Illinois to view similar facilities there.
Davis justified the disparate treatment by pointing out the differences between Muslims and those of other faiths. “The foot-washing facilities are not about religion, they are about public safety,” Davis said. “Christians and Jews aren’t going to kill anyone over this issue. Muslims are different. We’ve already received threats saying the college will be bombed if we refuse to build this facility. So, as anyone can see, we’re not promoting the Muslim religion. We’re saving the lives of our students and faculty.”AZ CONSERVATIVE
KANSAS: Airport adds foot basins for Muslim cabbies. Police worry about Kansas City “catering” to Islamic religious rituals.
The Kansas City International Airport has added several foot-washing basins in restrooms to accommodate a growing number of Muslim taxicab drivers who requested the facilities to prepare for daily Islamic prayer. The move concerns airport police who worry about Middle Eastern men loitering inside the building. After 9/11, the airport beefed up its police force to help prevent terrorist attacks.
“Why are we constructing places of worship for them inside our airports?” said an airport official who requested anonymity. “Why are we catering to their rituals? We don’t do it for any other religion.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has pressed government agencies and businesses to install the foot basins in restrooms. The controversial Muslim lobby group advises employersto allow Muslim workers time to perform both the washing ritual and prayer, which “is usually about 15 minutes,” according to a pamphlet CAIR publishes called, “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices.” WND
INDIANIA: Muslim footbaths spark controversy as Indianapolis pastor warns trend is first step in Islamic goal of imposing Shari’a Law in the U.S.
Indianapolis airport officials have announced plans to add footbaths for Muslims who wish to wash before their five-times-daily prayer rituals, and that’s just too much for one pastor, who has called for residents to organize and protest.
The issue has been appearing in more and more airports and other public facilities in recent weeks, where Muslim immigrants are a growing segment of cab drivers, who spend hours waiting on arriving passengers for their fares.
“The cab drivers were asking for more washroom facilities as a group, and a majority of them wanted some place to wash before they pray,” Deborah Ostreicher, public information officer, told the Arizona Republic. “This is a way we thought we could reach out as a customer service.” One editorial writer called it “creeping dhimmitude,” where America is joining the “global community of nations dominated by Islam.” WND
ILLINOIS: College installs footbaths for Muslim students.
Harper Community College in Palatine, IL installed footbaths in bathrooms at the student center for Muslim students. Footbaths, which are used to cleanse the feet of Muslims before the beginning of their daily prayers, were installed as a matter of health and safety. Bob Getz, physical plant director for the college, stated: “Our custodians would walk in and see [students] with one foot on the ground and one foot on the facial sink…It was kind of a dangerous situation.” Charles Brown, faculty advisor to the Muslim Students Association, stated that there were 15 to 20 Muslims last year. PLURALISM
NEW YORK: Islam gains a ‘foothold’ at NYU.
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. 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. Having other students “just walking in and seeing us have our feet in the sink – it’s awkward,” she added. NY POST