Muslim McGill University Students Vie for Prayer Space

October 24, 2005

Source: The Montreal Gazette

On October 24, 2005 The Montreal Gazette reported, "Hani Ezzadeen isn't sure what he'll do in the winter when snow covers the campus that he and dozens of other Muslim McGill University students use to say their daily prayers... Until June, the students were allowed to pray in a room on a temporary basis. Since June, they have been praying in stairwells, empty classrooms or outside. Debate over the right to prayer space is raging at McGill, along with engineering faculties at Ecole polytechnique and the Ecole de technologie superieure. Administrators at all three schools say opening a multi-faith room on campus - as requested by Muslim students - goes against their institutions' secular character. In December, the Quebec Human Rights Commission is expected to come out with an opinion on the right to prayer space, following a 2003 complaint by ETS students. With questions over the hijab, or Muslim head scarf, largely resolved in a June opinion by the commission - women can cover their heads, even in private schools - prayer space has emerged as a new issue in the debate over religious tolerance in Quebec schools."