A lawyer filed a complaint against the Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., asserting that the placing of crucifixes in every room is a human rights violation that prevents Muslims from praying.
George Washington University Law School Professor John Banzhaf filed a 60-page complaint in the Washington, D.C., Office of Human Rights, contending the crosstown school has acted “probably with malice,” BeliefNet reported.
Banzhaf alleges in the complaint that CUA “does not provide space – as other universities do – for the many daily prayers Muslim students must make, forcing them instead to find temporarily empty classrooms where they are often surrounded by Catholic symbols which are incongruous to their religion,” according to the school’s newspaper, The Tower.
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The complaint also asserts that CUA forces Muslims to pray in the school’s chapels, “and at the cathedral that looms over the entire campus – the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.”
Although the Basilica is the largest Catholic Church in the United States and North America, the shrine is neither a cathedral nor the see of the Archdiocese of Washington. The Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle carries those distinctions.
CUA officials say there has never been a complaint against any of the school’s Muslim students. “Catholic University’s faithfulness to our Catholic tradition has also made us a welcome home to students of other religions,” the school said in a statement.
No students have registered complaints about the exercise of their religions on our campus.
We understand that a professor unaffiliated with Catholic University has made public allegations claiming that we are discriminating against our students on religious grounds, but we have not seen any legal filing – and will respond to them if we do.
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