Are Michigan Muslims Cheap, and Biased?
The facts for this blog, but not the conclusions, come from an article in the Detroit News on 18 June. The University of Michigan at Dearborn proposed to spend $25,000 on footbaths at the local campus, for Muslim students to use before their five-times-daily prayers. The reason for that was that “students might injure themselves, washing their feet in bathroom sinks.”
There was significant local opposition to this proposal, on the grounds that a public university shouldn’t be spending money for the benefit of one religion only. The Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said that the money for this would have to be raised privately if the ACLU filed suit to stop the project. (CAIR did not flat-out offer to raise or provide the money.)
The ACLU, however, gave the project a clean bill of health, if you’ll pardon the pun. The Detroit branch of the ACLU (perhaps the most compliant branch that CAIR could find) issued a statement that this was a “cleanliness issue” and that there was “no intent to promote religion.”
Unless some organization which understands the First Amendment better than the ACLU stops this project with a law suit, $25,000 of the tax-payers’ money will be used to build these footbaths. At least, since they belong to the public, anyone should be able to use them, even students who wear classy, pigskin shoes.