22 February 2013
City University has recently announced its decision to shut down the Muslim prayer room at the campus. The decision followed a statement from the university saying it needed to be sure of the “appropriateness” of what was being discussed in sermons as authorized university events. It said it also needed to be assured that all “students eligible to deliver” prayers and sermons “are considered equally and given the opportunity to do so”.
“The university could not continue to condone an activity taking place on its premises where it cannot exercise reasonable supervision,” the statement added.
Suspicions surrounding the content of the sermons followed a report released three years ago by Quilliam Foundation. The report claimed that hard line views and a confrontational atmosphere were being encouraged.
However, Muslim students argued the report was baseless and there was no evidence that hard line views were being spread. In order to campaign against the decision, Muslim students formed a group called Muslim Voices on Campus, calling on the university to reverse its decision.
“All of our sermons are open, we welcome all students and all staff… But when you start submitting your sermons to be monitored and scrutinized then there’s a chance for it to be dictated what’s allowed and what’s not allowed.”
There are 400,000 Muslim students in British schools, according to the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). There are nearly 90,000 Muslim students studying in higher education institutions in European countries.