Friday, March 24, 2006

Quebec orders prayer site for Muslims

Mar. 23, 2006. 01:00 AM

MONTREAL—The Quebec Human Rights Commission says a university-affiliated institution should try to find reasonable accommodation where its Muslim students can pray.
Some students at the Ecole de technologie supérieure, affiliated with the Université du Québec, complained they had to pray in the stairwell.
The students want the school to build a separate prayer room because they are tired of kneeling on prayer mats.
A commission spokesman says the college has a responsibility to offer reasonable prayer accommodation to the Muslim students but is not obliged to offer space that is exclusive to them.
Marc-André Dowd, the commission's interim president, said a multi-faith chapel or classrooms are possibilities.
The school's "secular format doesn't exempt it from its obligation to reasonably accommodate its Muslim students," he told a news conference.
The complaint was launched on behalf of 113 students.
The commission also ruled that pictograph signs prohibiting the washing of feet in the school's sinks wasn't discriminatory against Muslims, who must perform the ritual. Witnesses testified that it's acceptable for a person to simply pass his wet hands over his feet.
Canadian Press

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