Renovation of university chapel for Muslims prompts backlash

Renovation of university chapel for Muslims prompts backlash October 8, 2015


From The Wichita Eagle: 

Muslims at Wichita State University wanted a better place to pray. In May, workers renovated the campus chapel and removed the tiny altar and pews.

WSU administrators thought the change had resolved the problem by giving Muslim students a place to kneel on the floor and pray. Christian students could use portable chairs.

Everyone on campus seemed satisfied.

The family that made the Harvey D. Grace Memorial chapel possible in 1964 had specified that the doors be open to all creeds and all races at the public university.

But dozens of Wichitans off campus this weekend learned about the renovation.

“And that set off the firestorm,” said Wichita State alum Jean Ann Cusick, who started it with a Facebook post Friday.

Donors to the university, alumni and others began posting Facebook comments on her page, and contacting WSU administrators.

Students reposted Cusick’s post and resulting comments on their own Facebook pages. Other students posted in answer.

“And the hate answered the hate,” Cusick said.

“Why did they have to take out all the pews?” Cusick said.

The decision, she said, marginalized Christians.

“This is Islamophobia,” said Wichita State’s student body president Joseph Shepard, a church-going Christian. “It’s coming from off-campus, not from the students here. “They say we’ve taken a place of Christian worship and turned it into what they call a mosque.”

Read more and see pictures of the interior of the chapel at the link. 

Photo: Wikipedia

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