Posts Tagged 'multifaith centre'

Muslim students prevent Hindu students from using Multi-Faith Center

*Muslim students prevent Hindu students from using Multi-Faith Center
(at Queen Mary University of London)*

Source: http://www.hinduvoice.co.uk/Issues/28/QMW.htm

*QMW Hindu students denied access to to Multi-Faith Centre*

*Hindu Voice UK, July 2009*

As part of their “Sewa Week” (a week for which the National Hindu Students
Forum holds various service based activities), the QMW Hindu Society
organized to use the University’s Multi-Faith Centre every day from
6pm-8.30pm for one week, to recite the Hanuman Chalisa.

The Multi-Faith Centre is also booked by Islamic Students Society from 12pm
to 6pm for the entire year. After 6pm the Islamic Students Society had
another room allocated to them which they could use until late.

From the outset of the week, the Hindu students were prevented from being
able to access the Multi-Faith Centre by the Islamic students who refused to
vacate the centre. To justify not being willing to share the centre with
other faith groups they said that there is no demand for the use of the
Multi-Faith Centre by other faith communities and they cannot therefore
allow Hindus to use the premises even though they have a valid booking for
its use. An article written several months before the incident shows that
the Islamic Students Society dissaproved of other faiths sharing the
premises (click
here
).

The Hindu society committee sent letters to the Principal, Chancellor and
the Students’ Union (SU) of the university. The Students’ Union sent letters
to the Islamic students asking them to respect bookings made my other
students.

On Thursday, after three days of being prevented from entering the
Multi-Faith Centre, security guards accompanied the Hindu students to ensure
that the rooms were vacated as scheduled. Far from gaining entry to the
Centre, they were verbally threatened by a group of Muslim students who far
outnumbered them.

Rather than tackle this unacceptable behaviour resolutely, the security
guards and Students Union suggested that the Hindu students should use an
alternative room to conduct their prayers and forget about the booking. The
Hindu students society rightfully rejected this offer as a wholly
unsatisfactory solution to a serious breach of their rights.

The QMW Hindu Society together with the NHSF contacted and got the support
of various other students at QMW and other Hindu groups, who turned out
together in larger numbers on Friday.

On Friday, once again, the QMW Islamic Students Society refused to vacate
the Multi-Faith Centre at 6pm, and placed a group near the door to prevent
anyone from entering. The QMW Hindu Society and other supporters, including
non-Hindu students, decided to start their program outside the doors of the
centre and sang the Hanuman Chalisa loud and proud. Gradually the Islamic
Society members emptied out of the Centre over a long period, and the Hindu
Students Society moved into the Centre for the first time in next week.