Muslims at Catholic University complain about crosses
I don't know what's sillier; Muslims attending a Christian university expecting to find space in the school's public areas without Christian symbols, or the DC Commission on Human Rights taking this complaint seriously.
The complaint was filed by John Banzhaf, an attorney and professor at George Washington University Law School. Banzhaf has been involved in previous litigation against the school involving the same-sex residence halls. He also alleged in his complaint involving Muslim students that women at the university were being discriminated against. You can read more on those allegations by clicking here.
Banzhaf said some Muslim students were particularly offended because they had to meditate 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."
"It shouldn't be too difficult somewhere on the campus for the university to set aside a small room where Muslims can pray without having to stare up and be looked down upon by a cross of Jesus," he told Fox News.
A spokesman for Catholic University released a statement to Fox News indicating they had not seen any legal filings - but would respond once they do.
"Our faithfulness to our Catholic tradition has also made us a welcome home to students of other religions," said Victor Nakas, associate vice president for public affairs. "No students have registered complaints about the exercise of their religions on our campus."
In a 2010 interview with National Public Radio, university president John Garvey acknowledged that they don't set aside prayer rooms for Muslim students.
"We make classrooms available, or our chapels are places where they can pray," he told NPR. "We don't offer Halal meat, although there are always meals that conform to Halal regulations, that allow students to do what they want."
Banzhaf said that it is technically not illegal for Catholic University to refuse to provide rooms devoid of religious icons.
Of course it is "technically not illegal." Catholic University is a private school and can make its own rules regarding the spaces offered to groups representing other religions. It can also refuse to accept Muslim students and be well within their rights.
For the Muslim students, I would suggest a transfer. The symbol of the cross should be meaningless to them. As should pictures of saints and other Christian icons. And as for pictures of theologians and the like, are they trying to say that ordinary people of the Catholic faith offends them, or distracts them from their prayers? Pretty darn sensitive Muslims, if you ask me.
Why it bothers them speaks more to their own intolerance and hate than any "human rights violation" of the school or its administration.