Monday, April 23, 2007

Wudu Me a Favor?

Minneapolis Community & Technical College, right on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis, is in some ways the epitome of modern higher ed. It's a ridiculously diverse school, in both conventional ways (race. age, even class) and plenty of unconventional ones (nation of origin, number of first-generation college students). Along with Metro State University and, of course, the U itself, these are the schools that are integrating new Minnesotans from Somalia, Laos, Tibet, Bosnia, and every other corner of our world.

Which leads to some interesting situations, such as the one described in this Minnesota Monitor article (and dissected in the comments): MCTC just installed special basins so that its many Muslim students can perform the ritual ablution called wudu, which must be done before each daily prayer and involves washing hands, feet, and face. The feet part is the tricky one, given that the average lavatory sink isn't exactly ideal for scrubbing your toes - either in terms of height or hygiene. So MCTC installed some special foot-washing basins, at least officially as a safety measure: the schools doesn't want students slipping on wet floors and cracking their skulls open.

The installation of the basins has, predictably, brought down a storm of protest for the Xians who crave special treatment by the gubmint for their own sky-spirit worship but detest even the barest attempts to be fair toward other sky-spirit worshippers. Ah, America.