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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Provide Muslims a larger space to pray

Marquette’s Muslim community is too large for their current prayer space, yet their pleas to increase it have gone unheard for too long. In 2021, when Marquette Muslim Student Association began petitioning for larger prayer spaces, they sent a letter to President Lovell to intervene.

The President responded by directing other administrators to address the issue. No resolution was made, and Muslim students were left with only a promise administrators would pursue the issue further.

In 2021, MSA created a petition for this issue that garnered over 1,000 signatures. Now, Student Government’s Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice Committee is heading the movement for larger prayer spaces, and campus administrators have requested a new petition be made. It must gain at least 1,500 signatures in order to demonstrate there is a legitimate outcry among students over this issue.

Administration must not neglect the needs of Muslim students any longer and they must provide them with a larger prayer space. It is about time the university takes their petition seriously.

The space Muslim students are currently designated is located on the second floor of the Alumni Memorial Union, and can hold only a handful of students at a time. However, MSA says that for several years Muslim students have had to reserve additional rooms for Friday group prayer because the space cannot hold them. They regularly have 25-30 people attend including staff and faculty.

This issue is not new for Muslim students. Before there were calls to increase the prayer space in 2021, students had been fighting for better conditions since 2009, when their space could only accommodate around four students at a time.

Marquette is a Catholic Jesuit college, but this does not mean it should be permitted to neglect students of other faiths. The university’s mission statement claims that “we welcome and benefit enormously from the diversity of seekers within our ranks, even as we freely choose and celebrate our own Catholic identity.”

While a small minority of students at this school are Muslim, the university still has a responsibility to fulfill their spiritual and emotional needs with a larger space to pray. These spaces are necessary for students to both observe religious obligations and relax with a moment of peace and meditation.

This year, a greater number of Muslim students have had to rely on the current campus prayer space during the holy month of Ramadan and the subsequent holiday Eid al-Fitr as they have coincided with the spring semester.

Future generations of students will continue to rely on this space as it is too difficult for many students to commute to and from the nearest mosque to observe these events. Marquette should acknowledge this and accommodate these students in accordance with its mission.

Muslim students also endure a uniquely marginalizing experience at a school like Marquette that it is predominately attended by white, Christian students. Moves to improve the prayer space may make them feel better represented by campus authorities.

MSA and Student Government have further communicated with administration and been met with a mostly positive response. For now, the most significant obstacle in the way of Muslim students getting a larger prayer space is finding the right location.

In order to maintain its commitment to diversity and justice, the university must find a place that suits the needs of these students. They should not be neglected anymore, and they deserve a larger space to pray.

This story was written by Joey Schamber. He can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Joseph Schamber
Joseph Schamber, Executive Opinions Editor
Joey Schamber is a sophomore from Downers Grove, Illinois studying journalism and will serve as the Executive Opinions Editor for the 2024-2025 academic year. Outside of the Wire he enjoys cooking, drawing and skateboarding. He is excited to be writing stories and to be active in his community!

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