Friday, December 21, 2007

Normandale Community College's "embrace" of Islam. Where's the "respect for diversity"?

Katherine Kersten ran an interesting column earlier this week on Normandale Community College's turning over their "meditation room" to Moslem students who have turned it into a veritable mosque.

The response of the College's dean of students, Ralph Anderson, was your typical PC response:

Normandale's administration is facilitating the room's Islamization. The college's building crew erected the barrier separating men's and women's sections, according to Ralph Anderson, dean of student affairs. College officials also posted signs at the room's entrance asking students to remove shoes -- a Muslim custom before prayers. This was "basically a courtesy to Muslim students," Anderson said.

Despite the room's Islamic atmosphere, Anderson says it "is open to everyone."

Why is the meditation room segregated by sex? "Muslim students prefer that areas be divided into male and female," he said. "Other students don't care."

Doesn't sex-segregation present a constitutional problem in a public educational institution? "I don't want to comment on that," he said.

Personally, I think public institutions should accommodate religious expression. Modern attempts to sanitize our public institutions from religious expression or content are clearly wrong headed and undermine the important role religion plays in our society. However, Normandale's response goes far beyond accommodating the religious needs of Islamic students. It actually embraces Islam by allowing the "mediation room" to be turned into a mosque.

The College's response highlights the cultural Left's hypocritical treatment of different religious faiths. Let's say a group of fundamentalist Christian students want to take over the room for their religious services, would the school have stood by and let them do it - much less help them do it? No way. But because Islam isn't Christianity, it doesn't seem to be a problem.

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