Columbia’s Muslim Students Demand Advisor And Prayer Space

REUTERS/Sandy Huffaker

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Complaining of “Islamophobia,” and President Donald Trump “legalizing racism,” Muslim students at Columbia University say they require a full-time religious “advisor” and prayer room that would be open during academic breaks, Campus Reform reports.

On Monday, the school’s Muslim Students Association (MSA) told the university’s student government that “hateful Islamophobic rhetoric directly leads to anti-Muslim violence and puts our entire community under enormous risk, stress, and insecurity” so an advisor and prayer room was an urgent necessity.

The student government representatives lent the MSA their support.

The imagined need for an “advisor” first hit the university in a petition from the MSA that begins with the dubious declaration, “President Trump’s recent executive order blatantly legalizes racism and Islamophobia and goes against everything that the United States and this University aspires to.” It demanded that Columbia “create a fully-funded, full-time position for a Muslim Religious Life Advisor in the Office of the University Chaplain,” noting that Columbia would not be alone in doing so as other Ivy League schools have apparently recognized the requirement due to the Trump executive order on immigration.

“The Muslim community is in need, now more than ever, of institutional support to help cope with the emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical toll these recent political events have on us as students of faith,” the MSA states. “Students who are visibly Muslim, such as women wearing hijab, are increasingly concerned for their safety as they publicly practice and express their faith.”

MSA President Faizan Kothari said it’s important for Muslim students to have “someone who can understand us on a religious, spiritual level…who personally knows what we’re going through.”

To make sure that happens, the MSA and “the broader Muslim community” wants a “leading role” in selecting and interviewing a candidate as well as the “final say” over who eventually gets the job.

For good measure, the MSA included a list of other essentials for Muslim students suffering from the Trump presidency, including subsidized summer housing, free legal advice and any other “additional demands” that might come up.

The demand for a prayer room on campus includes a caveat that it be open throughout the year and be accessible to people not attending the university.

Of course, Columbia already does offer a Muslim prayer space but the MSA says the location is not convenient and it closes when the university is not offering full-time enrollment.

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