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Religious freedom FOR ALL - Christian University does the 'unthinkable' to promote respect

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2/16/2017 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (

'On Friday, we get together and sometimes we have to go home to pray...'

Christians at Methodist-affiliated McMurry University created a special prayer room in one of the school's residential dorms in an act of respect for religious freedom.

Controversy at McMurry University as students pick sides - should freedom of religion be limited to Christians only?

Controversy at McMurry University as students pick sides - should freedom of religion be limited to Christians only?


Catholic Online (
2/16/2017 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Christian, Muslim, prayer, McMurry University

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Muslim students at the University didn't have a place to pray, which is mandated by their religion.

Each day, Muslims must pray five times a day - at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and nightfall.

Many students felt at a loss as they were forced to travel to a nearby hotel to meet and pray. Some didn't have time to travel that far between classes.

Student Jo Yousef, the president of McMurry's Saudi Student club, explained: "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.

Their time of prayer is as important to Muslims as time to pray or fast is to a Christian. Recognizing this, and knowing Muslim students didn't have a place on campus to pray, the school decided to step in.

McMurry's chaplain, Jeff Lust, explained the room is "a step in the right direction," adding: "We anticipate over time we'll have students from a variety of countries and possibly different religions. We need to learn to live and work together in this world that is increasingly diverse and then we can truly become better together."

The room, which opened in a school dorm, also serves as a meeting place for a new interfaith club, which will meet for the first time on February 21.

Yousef said the club would allow students "to talk about faith and belief. Some people have their own bias. We want people to get together, so we can help each other out."

A prayer room for Muslim students was opened on a Christian campus.

A prayer room for Muslim students was opened on a Christian campus.

Neither Lust nor Dr. Mark Waters, a professor of religion and director of international education - both of whom reportedly helped students lobby and create the room - responded to requests for comments.

Meanwhile, many students have spoke for and against the room. Hector Flores, a McMurry student, told Big Country: "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."

On Facebook, many Christians have shown their support as well.

User Samana Siddiquio wrote: "We should write and call to thank [McMurry]. In our current political climate, every act of respect and generosity should receive double the appreciation and attention."

Others were fine with it "As long as they Also [sic] provide a place for Christians to Pray [sic] also."

Sultan Albogami, a freshman at McMurry University, added: "This is part of our identity, we just pray as people do in other religions. I think what people hear about Islam is different than what Islam is.

"It's just about peace and whenever you meet someone, you just say peace be upon you. It's so sad that it's gotten to this point that some people have to explain to others, they are not different from them you know."


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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2019
Young People and the Example of Mary.
That young people, especially in Latin America, follow the example of Mary and respond to the call of the Lord to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world.


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