Friday, 22 February 2013

A university locking a Muslim prayer room is discrimination

Amongst other things, the news today includes the story that City University London has begun locking the Muslim prayer room on Fridays.

The reason for this is that the students using it have refused to submit copies of the sermons to the university beforehand so that the "appropriateness" of them can be checked.

The Muslim students claim that they are being unjustly targeted while the university claims that it's necessary given the history on the university.

The history being that three years ago it was revealed that extremist sermons were being given on campus and it was claimed that hardline views were being encouraged.

So, even though there's no evidence that this is happening now, I can understand why the university is concerned.

But the fact is that the students are also completely justified in their complaints - they say the services are open and anyone can come along and listen to the sermons. So, in my opinion, they have every right to object to having their sermons checked by the university authorities beforehand.

Personally, I can see the argument that monitoring of the sermons is needed - but if that's the case then it should be extended to all religious denominations on campus rather than just used to single out one particular religion.

The issue here isn't, or shouldn't be, that sermons are required to be checked beforehand (even though I think that sending someone along to listen to the sermons is a much better approach) - the issue is that just one religious group is being subjected to the regime.

If this kind of monitoring is really necessary then the liberal thing, the right thing, the decent thing, to do is to enforce the monitoring without discrimination. But, sadly, this is something which appears to have escaped the authorities at City University.

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