At Harvard, Students’ Muslim Traditions Are a Topic of Debate

Two issues of Muslim practice ”” whether the call to prayer should ring out across Harvard Yard and whether the university should grant women separate gym hours ”” have unleashed small waves of controversy over how Harvard practices tolerance.

Heated discussions have erupted on dormitory chat rooms, students said, while various opinion articles in the student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, have denounced both practices.

“I think that because Harvard is a secular campus, there is a fear among some students that religious beliefs or practices might be imposed on people who don’t want anything to do with them,” said Jessa Birdsall, a 20-year-old sophomore who said she thought the university should accommodate the beliefs of all students.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

5 comments on “At Harvard, Students’ Muslim Traditions Are a Topic of Debate

  1. Mike Bertaut says:

    My friends at Harvard do run the risk, in this embrace of accomadation for Muslims, of being “hoist on their own petard!”


  2. WanderingTexan says:

    First Oxford, and now this.
    I can understand the request for separate gym hours, but having the phrase, “There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his prophet” brodcast over the campus three times a day is asking too much (even if it is in Arabic). I don’t think the powers that be even realize what they’re getting themselves into. Would they let a preacher broadcast his “hell and damnation” sermon over loudspeakers? That’s exactly what will start happening on Fridays, and with no government to keep the imam in check, things will take a nasty turn in a short period of time when he starts spouting his anti-American propaganda.

  3. BCP28 says:

    I had a muslim room mate at Ohio U years ago; the muslim community there was neither small nor insignificant. I don’t think anyone would have thought of broadcasting a call to prayer across the main quad, though.


  4. justme says:

    If God can be kept out of our school, then Mohammad should be too

  5. Rocks says:

    The gym is one matter and should be worked out but I would say that numbers count. If a small number of people want the women only rule then it is they who should accept odds hours. Peak times should be used for the peak number of people.

    The call to prayer is another thing entirely. Whether it’s at Harvard or a Michigan suburb. Muslims are entitled to free speech as much as anyone and if a Muslim wants to pray out loud all day it’s his business. Artificially enhancing the volume is another matter.
    There is nothing in the Koran that says an amplifier or public address system need be used and the constitution doesn’t guarantee you a right to “pump up the volume” when it mentions free speech.
    Why a university would use it’s PUBLIC address system for this I have no clue. Do they announce the times of Christian Services?
    I don’t think so.