A Christian school in Britain is under fire for not providing adequate prayer facilities for Muslim students, but the school is standing its ground.
Mirfield Free Grammar School in West Yorkshire received complaints recently from parents of Muslim students in which they expressed outrage when their children were not given sufficient space to conduct their prayer activities during school hours.The children were reportedly forced by the circumstances to pray outside in the rain and snow.
According to the U.K. Daily Mail, however, the predominantly Christian academy has never provided space within the school for students to practice religious rituals, Christian or otherwise.
“We are a broadly Christian academy and have never had a prayer room,” Mirfield Executive Principal Lorraine Barker stated. “Before students join the sixth form, we make them aware of the facilities we have on site and we are clear that we have no prayer room.”
Barker held firm in the school’s position, stating that they have made arrangements at a local monastery for students to visit and pray there. This however has not satisfied the local Muslim community, as visiting the monastery takes too much time according to them — an hour that the parents apparently felt could be better spent in the classroom.
The families of the children are considering legal action and attorney Yunus Lunat has taken up the case. According to Lunat, the situation has escalated unnecessarily.
“The students are not asking for anything that is outside the scope of the law,” Lunat said. “The parents and students are keen to stress that they wish to act within the law and are anxious to avoid any negative ramifications or reporting.”
Might be a little late for that.
The school maintained that it was in compliance with Britain’s Equality Act by providing the opportunity to pray at the designated location.
Clearly this group of parents need to be educated on the definition of discrimination: the unfair treatment or judgment of different people on the grounds of race, sex or religious background. It is clear there is no discrimination here against the Muslim students as not one student is given preferential treatment so they can practice their religion. Why would this change now?
This school is not and should not be required to provide space for Muslim students to practice their religion. These minority students were offered a far more humane option than would have been offered to a Christian or Jewish student in the Middle East. It is their choice to accept — or reject — the olive branch that has been offered.
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H/T Mad World News