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.