Minneapolis Star Tribune metro columnist Katherine Kersten has located the Twin Cities’ newest mosque, on public property at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota. Kersten reports:
Last week, I visited a Muslim place of worship. A schedule for Islam’s five daily prayers was posted at the entrance, near a sign requesting that shoes be removed. Inside, a barrier divided men’s and women’s prayer space, an arrow informed worshippers of the direction of Mecca, and literature urged women to cover their faces.
Sound like a mosque?
The place I’m describing is the “meditation room” at Normandale Community College, a 9,200-student public institution in Bloomington.
The mosque has all the necessary and customary accouterments:
A row of chest-high barriers splits the room into sex-segregated sections. In the smaller, enclosed area for women sits a pile of shawls and head-coverings. Literature titled “Hijaab [covering] and Modesty” was prominently placed there, instructing women on proper Islamic behavior.
They should cover their faces and stay at home, it said, and their speech should not “be such that it is heard.”
“Enter into Islaam completely and accept all the rulings of Islaam,” the tract read in part. “It should not be that you accept what entertains your desires and leave what opposes your desires; this is from the manners of the Jews.”
“[T]he Jews and the Christians” are described as “the enemies of Allaah’s religion.” The document adds: “Remember that you will never succeed while you follow these people.”
Kersten goes to Normandale Dean of Student Affairs Ralph Anderson for an explanation. She finds that Anderson is, shall we say, slightly in denial:
Normandale’s administration is facilitating the room’s Islamization. The college’s building crew erected the barrier separating men’s and women’s sections, according to Ralph Anderson, dean of student affairs. College officials also posted signs at the room’s entrance asking students to remove shoes — a Muslim custom before prayers. This was “basically a courtesy to Muslim students,” Anderson said.
Despite the room’s Islamic atmosphere, Anderson says it “is open to everyone.”
Why is the meditation room segregated by sex? “Muslim students prefer that areas be divided into male and female,” he said. “Other students don’t care.”
Doesn’t sex-segregation present a constitutional problem in a public educational institution? “I don’t want to comment on that,” he said.
And the literature regarding Jews and Christians? “I would probably take it out if I knew it was in there,” said Anderson.
By contrast with Anderson, Normandale Professor Charles Chalberg has his eyes open to developments on campus and is not doing public relations on behalf of the school:
“For all practical purposes, this meditation room is essentially a Muslim prayer room,” said Chuck Chalberg of Normandale’s history faculty. “Something this unprecedented goes beyond religious toleration.”
One might wonder how news of this breakdown in the wall between church and state becomes the preserve of the Star Tribune’s lone conservative columnist. Perhaps the creeping Islamization of Twin Cities public schools is no longer newsworthy.
To comment on this post, go here.