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Published On:02 December 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

US University installs Foot Baths For Muslims

Boston University Acknowledges Growing Population

Boston: As the nation's Muslim population grows, so does debate over religious accommodation.

In Boston, one university has taken steps to help Muslim students maintain an important ritual: bathing before prayer.

At the center for English Language and Orientation at Boston University students come from all over the world to master English. The largest group is Muslims.

"We have to pray five times, and every five times we have to wash," said student Reeema Alashgar.

It's a ritual that includes washing the feet.

"Using our bathroom ended up being a messy situation with a lot of water on the floor," said Center director Margot Veldivia.

So when the center upgraded the bathrooms they installed ritual foot baths.

"The students have been very grateful. They didn't ask for this but rather we understood the tradition and how necessary it was in their daily lives," she said.

"I was amazed. Before we used to have to use the sink" said student Omar Biyari.

Across the country a number of universities, including the University of Michigan in Dearborn and George Washington University in Washington D.C., have installed foot baths.

So have two airports, the Indianapolis Airport and KCI Airport in Kansas City, Missouri. In each case the move came with some degree of resistance.

Former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called the foot baths at the University of Michigan an "accommodation we're making to one religion at the expense of the others." He called it "un-American."

Muslim prayer rooms and foot baths are also inside B.U.'s student union. Most students we spoke to welcomed the extra effort. Others questioned sharing a religious ritual in a public bathroom.

"In a public place, not everyone shares the same religions and beliefs," said one student.

"We don't look at it like that. This is a large population," said Veldivia. "We are dedicated to the students in global harmony. They count. That's what we're here for," she said.

Some of the foot baths in other states were built using public funds. The American Civil Liberties Union generally objects to public money being used for religious structures. But they don't take issue with the foot baths because, they say, anyone can use them.

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on December 02, 2011. Filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on December 02, 2011. Filed under , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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