Abdullah Tee and Ibrahim Ali can learn a thing or two about the celebration of diversity from La Trobe’s decision to open special prayer facilities for its Muslim students, says our correspondent.
The Defence University’s lecturer Dr Abdullah Tee and Perkasa head Ibrahim Ali want non-Muslims like Helen Ang and those of her ilk to leave Malaysia so that they can – among other things – embrace free sex and have children out of wedlock ala Western Societies.
Today, La Trobe University in Australia opens a new Muslim prayer room costing nearly a million Australian dollars paid out of University funds.
I’m sure if Abdullah Tee and Ibrahim Ali went to La Trobe, they would be welcomed to pray in the new surau. But would they even reciprocate let alone champion such an outlook towards the faith of non-Muslims here in Malaysia?
Perhaps Abdullah Tee, Ibrahim Ali and those who cheer them on could learn a lesson here.
That large swathes of Western society that they so condemn as being monolithic are much more open and accommodating of differences than they are. If anything, liberal Western society provides a bulwark against narrow-minded militant fundamentalists reflected in the thinking of Abdullah Tee and Ibrahim Ali and their like.
La Trobe University
New Muslim prayer room opens
Refurbished prayer rooms for La Trobe University’s 1500 Muslim students will be formally opened at the Melbourne campus this Wednesday.
The A$927,000 facility is expected to help Muslim students meet the challenges of combining the demands of tertiary study with the daily ritual of prayer.
A new student lifestyle guide for Muslim students will also be released at the same time. The handbook discusses information like where to get Halal food, Mosque locations and links with external Muslim student societies.
‘La Trobe has promised an educational experience where all students feel welcome. We have a diverse student population and it makes sense that we have a wide range of facilities on campus to meet their needs, from sport and childcare to social and spiritual activity,’ said the University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson.
He said the Muslim Prayer Room is an important addition to improving student experience.
The University already has a Chapel and Lounge for Christian prayer and Bible study, and provides facilities for chaplaincy services of the Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian and Orthodox Christian churches.
According to the La Trobe University Islamic Society President, Mohamad Tabaa there are close to 600 students who are members of the Association.
Mr Tabaa said Muslim students appreciate any efforts to help them juggle a full course load and finding time (and space) to pray 5 times each day.
‘Having the wash room and prayer room facilities means we can spend more time studying, and we can pray discreetly.
‘Prayer is very private and unique to various religions, and it is great to have a space where we can wash before prayer,’ he said.
‘It may seem a bit anti-social if we were to wash our feet in the general students’ public bathroom and there is a lot of movement during prayer which may be interpreted differently by people who don’t understand our religion,’ he said.
Mr Tabaa said the La Trobe University Islamic Society appreciates La Trobe’s efforts.
‘It is very generous of the University to give our community this space to pray; it shows the mutual respect the University has for Muslims’
He also said that provision of the Prayer Rooms is one of the key factors why international students choose to study at La Trobe.
‘La Trobe surpasses other major universities in terms of its facilities available to Muslim students, there are many places on campus where we can hang out with our friends, there are many stores that supply Halal,’ he added.
The Muslim Students Guide can be found here.
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