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Atheist group holds protest because of university’s implementation of prayer room for Muslim students

St. Cloud State student Barwaaqo Dirir, 21, decided to wear an American flag hijab for the first time while attending a talk by Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council of American Islamic Relations of Minnesota (CAIR-MN) on Islamophobia in Minnesota at St. Cloud State University on Feb. 9, 2016 in St. Cloud, Minn. "I woke up this morning and people were looking at me differently, said Dirir. "This is my home. We're not going anywhere." (Leila Navidi/MInneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

Written by Geneva Crooks, Staff Writer

An Atheist group held a protest at the University of Iowa after the implementation of prayer rooms for Muslim students.

The University of Iowa decided to open two prayer rooms for Muslim students and they are now facing legal action. A group of Atheists called the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) started to question this decision in March and began their protest earlier this month.

According to USA Today, the attorney of The FFRF Patrick Elliott stated, “”State-run colleges have a constitutional obligation to not endorse, advance, or aid religion…”

The group pretty much argues that Iowa’s decision violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. ““We request that the University close the room designated for Muslim prayer and remove Christian iconography from Danforth Chapel, including the Latin cross,” said Elliot.

The University should not open up prayer rooms for one religion and not the rest. The list of religions includes Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Paganism, and this is just naming a few. If The University of Iowa wants to accommodate a religious group on campus, they need to be able to accommodate them all.

All students should have equal opportunities on campus, therefore if there are going to be spaces on campus for prayer and meditation, they should be offered for not one religion but each and every one of them.

The protest held was not only understandable, but necessary. Not every student attending the University of Iowa practices Islam. This protest was not an anti-Muslim event, the protest was simply a group of people speaking for the students who aren’t of that religion.

Students should not be given special accommodations because of their religion, period. Not only does it violate the first amendment, but it makes other students feel less important.


POLL: Should certain religions receive special accommodations of campus?

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