Is it always right to be totally secular?

At my university in England there’s a debate about the provision of a prayer room for muslim students. The university consists of one main campus and 3 satellite campuses, 2 of which are due to be closed soon and their resources moved onto the main campus. The one that will remain open is around 3 miles away from the main campus and has a certain degree of autonomy in its management.

Around 20% of the students at the university are muslim (compared to 16% of the local population) and the main campus already provides a prayer room for its students to use. There’s now a campaign to have a room provided at the satellite campus, however, the management there have denied the request, saying that they are a ‘secular institution’.

Neither campus currently has prayer facilities for non-muslim students but there are a number of faith advisors employed by the university for Christian and muslim students, and most religions are represented through student societies. The university’s equal opportunities policy prohibits discrimination against students or staff based on their religion or race.

So, my post is basically: who is right? Should the university be serving the needs of a good proportion of its students by offering prayer facilities, or should it stand by its secular stance? I’d be interested to hear your comments.

19 thoughts on “Is it always right to be totally secular?

  1. Cant they bloody pray in thier car or under a tree in a park? I mean come on! This is a big failing of religion with me; theres more damn rules than the highway code! Yeah bureaucracy must be the path to spirituality I think.

    In short; If there really was a god i’m sure he wouldn’t mind if you prayed on the crapper!

  2. Imagine for a moment that we are talking about any other minority.

    Then remember that this particular minority (the non religious) chose this particular school because it was secular.

    Religion is like gay sex. I could give a shit less if you want to do it, but I don’t want you doing it in front of me.

    I wouldn’t want to attend a secular school that allows prostrate muslims in the halls, nor would I want to attend a secular school that allows christeopaths to speak in tongues next to me during an important lecture.

  3. If you are solid in your faith to whatever you don’t need special trappings, a building or a book.

    Then again I don’t worry about how other people choose to believe, or what medical procedures they might want to have or what kind of sex they are having and with whom. As long as I am left alone regarding all of the above in turn, of course.

    I feel when dealing with public places (or places where there is a diverse selection of people with different faiths) you can’t start making special corners for religions. You give a group a special room then suddenly another group wants something special and so on. It gets pretty cluttered after a while, not to mention the atheists and agnostics getting lost in the shuffle.

  4. Originally posted by Neil T.:
    There’s now a campaign to have a room provided at the satellite campus, however, the management there have denied the request, saying that they are a ‘secular institution’.

    What do you mean by provided?  The room in the university actually has marked on the door “Muslim Prayer Room”?  Or is a group of Muslim students allowed to as a student organization reserve a room to meet in for the purpose they choose to use as prayer during a certain time of the day?  I would not support the former, but I would support the latter.  At least that’s what happens in the US.

  5. Frumpa, stop fucking using underscores to seperate words. I fucking hate horizontal scrollbars.

    As for the whole issue, I think that having a prayer room for Muslims is catering to a specific religion. They should cater to all or none.

  6. Cant help it. I pounded my keyboard and broke the spacebar In response to something you wrote.

    Actually, It was WoW. Damn game.

     

     

    wink

  7. I think they should be allowed to get a room in the same way a student organization gets one. Or students who want a room for some kind of activity not related to studying.

  8. Isn’t a daily routine part of being Muslim the multiply “prayer” times during the day which include the kneeling, facing the sun and bowing to the ground actions?  So, prayer on the crapper isn’t really an option, I suppose, for that sort of prayer.  If you follow those sort of ritual, traditional beliefs.  rolleyes

    I agree with the idea that this specific group of student (the Muslim Students) should be allowed to get a room in the same way all other student organizations reserve one.  Why not?  As long as the opportunity exists for all student groups. 

    Religion is like gay sex. I could give a shit less if you want to do it, but I don’t want you doing it in front of me.

    There is, also, the possibility of viewing the prayer activities of various Muslim students conducting their prayers out of doors or in front of large, whole wall windows on any and all secular campuses. 

    Their beliefs require them to pray kneeling, bowing, facing the sun. If we don’t care about their beliefs and practices as long as they don’t involve (persecute) us then there is some measure of tolerance we need to practice. Simply being unwilling to view any and all activities we dislike or disagree with equates to becoming a shut in.  Or equates to the Evangelicals line of thinking that they NEED to convert all nonbelievers as opposed to just leaving all of us the fuck alone to believe in and practice (or not practice) our own spirituality as we see fit.

    So,the possibity of viewing an event as we walk across campus of a few Muslim students (or group of) conducting Noon (or whenever) Time Prayers is not an intolerable happenstance. My thoughts would be, “whatever” and no more note would be taken in passing with the exception of NOT walking thru the middle of the prostrate prayers, lol.  I don’t believe that ritual is evangical. It would be more pure practice as far as the Muslim students were concerned. 

    Now, do they need a special room to conduct this activity?  No. Just like Baptist Prayer Meetings or Wiccan Coven Circles can be conducted just about anywhere a group of believers choose to gather.  There is no NEED here.  Should these student groups be allowed to reseve a room for these sort of group activities for privacy? 

    In my opinion, Sure.. Why not?  In my mind’s eye; it’s similar to a Sorority “Round-Up” (member drive) or NHS Tea or Young Republicans/Young Democrats (strictly US student groups) Societie(s) mock voting event or a Rainbow Coalition “Meet and Greet”.  oh oh

    Get thee to a new keyboard Frumpa! LOL!!! How could you possibly stand WOW without a fully functional one?  Well, there is the not play option, I suppose. But that’s not really and option for us WOW addicts now is it!?!  LOL!! 

    FYI for WOWers
    My Dwarvin Paly is 60 with 300 professions (Herbalist/Alchemist, Cook, Fisherwoman, First Aid) since 41. My Elvin Warrior is 29 and a purely raw-materials gatherer at the moment (herbing-115/mining-100, First Aid-125). I stopped playing my Warlock (lvl 20…half way thru the succibus quest) and use her as a mule now.  I’m loving my Human Priestess who is 26 with Tailor-150/Skinning-125 and Dwarvin Huntress who is lvl 14 with Skinning over 100 and Leatherworking around 85 at the moment. 

    Of course, I’ve only just begun playing my Huntress and Priestess. tongue wink  

    The SEB family has spent WAY too much time away from home this holiday weekend (Friday thru Memorial Day Monday). I’m having withdrawl pains, to the extreme, as I sit here in THE MOMMA’s home and type a response this morning to this entry, lol!

  9. The campus should have an open-reservation system for all classrooms.  When a room is not in use by a particular course, faculty member, or staff then it should be open to reservation.  The reservation system could even be web based.

    The uni shouldn’t care in the least what the room is being used for, unless its for illegal activities or against a student/school code.

    It’s an issue of a space’s availability, and nothing else.

    rob@egoz.org

  10. I think that Theo’s idea makes sense.  Allow people to use the room by reserving it as opposed to making a *special* Muslim prayer room.  Anne is correct that their faith has very certain requirements regarding proper prayer procedure. 
      Heh, the one time I went to Morocco was during Ramadan.  Trying to find any food during daylight hours was an adventure.  I think that we ended up living on bread and pastries that we bought before the sun came up and then chowed down extensively at night

  11. Rob is not only “right” as in …having a logical, sound idea about reservations.  But, he is most likely RIGHT as in … the campus most likley already has a reservation system similar to what he mentioned. Which means why the F? do they have a prayer room set aside on the main campus in the first place?  That seems ridiculous… and possibly asking for trouble.  Trouble in the manner Cyn6 mentions:

    …you can’t start making special corners for religions. You give a group a special room then suddenly another group wants something special and so on. It gets pretty cluttered after a while, not to mention the atheists and agnostics getting lost in the shuffle.

  12. Sorry for my pressence (& underscores!) but you can face any direction on the loo… If flexable enough!

    See you all later!..No more posts till new keyboard I promise!

  13. I agree they should be able to reserve a room…though I don’t think that giving them a special room is necessarily bad, so long as that option is available to all and it’s made clear the uni is not endorsing one religion over another.

    I mean, athiests wouldn’t really be left out unless they asked for a room and were specifically denied, right?

  14. Religion has no place in higher education. Keep that superstitious nonsense in the home or at church (if it needs to be kept at all). It would be one thing for the university to discriminate on the basis of religion, but not providing a prayer room hardly constitutes discrimination.

  15. Religion is like gay sex. I could give a shit less if you want to do it, but I don’t want you doing it in front of me.

    That’s what I think when straight people make out in front of me at bus stops, in restaurants, at the movies … and they say we flaunt our sexuality.

    —Joe

  16. U GUYS ARE GAY MUSLIMS UR GOOD PEOPLE STOP TALKING ABOUT RETARDED FUCK U FUCKEN BLOODY BITCH U BASTERD

  17. I always wonder what makes someone waste time to register an account only to post incomprehensible shit on a thread that died almost a year ago.

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