Muslim students hold a prayer before a rally against Islamophobia at San Diego State University in San Diego, California, November 23, 2015. REUTERS/Sandy Huffaker
McMurry University has its own Muslim prayer room — for Muslim students at a Christian university.
The College Fix reports that the Texas Methodist university recently dedicated one of its residential dorms for daily Muslim prayers. The solemn ceremony actually occurred a month ago, but McMurry has not heavily promoted the prayer room’s existence beyond the campus greens.
Before receiving their own special space, Muslim students had to get together in a local hotel, according to Muslim student Joe Yousef, who spoke to The Fix.
Yousef is president of McMurry’s Saudi Student Club. There are about 1,000 students at the university, with 60 of them being Muslims who largely come from Saudi Arabia. Now, reports Yousef, the new prayer room will make their lives so much easier as they blend academics with religious duties.
“On Friday, we get together and sometimes we have to go home to pray and we need to be in university so we don’t have time to go home,” Yousef said, adding that he concedes everyone at the college isn’t exactly happy with the idea of a Christian college having a Muslim prayer room.
But some students proclaimed their support.
“Being Christians, we should be open to free religion and letting everyone do what they want to do and I think the Muslim prayer room gives them that chance,” student Hector Flores told BigCountry.com.
McMurry’s chaplain, Jeff Lust, and Dr. Mark Waters, professor of religion and director of international education, were very helpful in getting the new room up and running according to unconfirmed reports — unconfirmed because neither have responded to queries about their involvement.
Lust did speak to local television station KTXS and issued the following diversity proclamation:
“We anticipate over time we’ll have students from a variety of countries and possibly different religions,” Lust said. “We need to learn to live and work together in this world that is increasingly diverse and then we can truly become better together.”