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Posted at 04:33 PM ET, 10/31/2011

Catholic University president: ‘Muslim students are welcome’


Catholic University of America. (Photo by Jeffrey Porter/For The Washington Post.)
Catholic University President John Garvey sent a letter to the campus community Friday stating, in essence, that Muslim students are happy at Catholic.

Garvey was responding to an article in the Post that reported on a complaint filed by a professor at neighboring George Washington University against Garvey’s school.

The complaint, filed with the D.C. Office of Human Rights, alleges that Catholic discriminates against Muslims by not allowing them to form a group devoted to Muslim worship. The university has a policy of not allowing official status to non-Catholic worship groups.

Professor John Banzhaf said he filed the complaint not at the behest of any particular Muslim student but rather in response to a comment from a Muslim student quoted in an earlier Post article. A student quoted in that piece said he’d been denied permission to form an official Muslim group.

Garvey writes,

The fact is that no Muslim student at Catholic University has registered a complaint with the University about the exercise of their religion on campus. And today we learned from an article in the Washington Post that Mr. Banzhaf himself has not received any complaints from our Muslim students . . . Contrary to the impression Mr. Banzhaf would like to create, the December 2010 Post article spoke in overwhelmingly positive terms about the experience of Muslim students at Catholic University, and explained why they are attracted to us. A considerable part of the attraction stems from the fact that our community, because of its own outward expressions of Catholic faith, makes them feel comfortable living their faith among us. The evidence bears this out. Since 2007 our Muslim enrollment has more than doubled, from 56 to 122.

Banzhaf, as it happens, has filed “dozens of human rights complaints” against Catholic and other institutions, alleging discrimination in various forms, according to colleague Michelle Boorstein’s story. He filed a claim against Catholic last summer, challenging its move to single-sex dorms.

By  |  04:33 PM ET, 10/31/2011

Categories:  Students, Litigation | Tags:  Catholic University

 
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