By Mary Nersessian
Ryerson administrators have given three options to Muslim students who are upset they’re forced to pray in a cramped room at mandatory Friday prayer sessions.
Hold more than one gathering, find separate rooms or go elsewhere, the students were told at a Monday meeting with Linda Grayson, the university’s v.p. administration and student affairs.
None of those options are good enough, the students say.
“This is cultural insensitivity,” says RMSA member Kashif Shaikh. “We should be treated the same as any other club and be able to book the gym.”
Students had planned to pray in protest in the lower gym — the location they want for one hour Friday afternoons — but backed off because some students were worried about repercussions.
According to the Koran, Muslim males must congregate every Friday.
For more than a year, RMSA has been requesting more space to hold the approximately 200 students who wish to congregate.
Apart from requests to use the lower gym, students have suggested renovations to the Multifaith Centre in the basement of the business building — a space with a 50-person capacity.
Director of student services Marion Creery, who was also present at Monday’s meeting, says the lower gym must be left free for athletics. RMSA’s proposed renovations were also rejected because they would cost about $15,000.
Grayson listed a number of nearby mosques, including one on Bond Street, as alternative locations.
Alex Lisman, RyeSAC’s v.p. education, said he’s concerned students will be forced to miss class if they have to travel to pray on Friday’s.
RMSA plans to arrange a meeting with Grayson to discuss the three proposed options.