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8 I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS Passion Islam I December 2008
‘Muslim should be
allowed to pray in
Catholic schools’
Muslim prayer rooms should be Wudhu after breaking wind or using cleansing facilities.
opened in every Roman Catholic the toilet. She said: ‘If Muslim parents
school, church leaders have said. Wudhu involves washing the face, choose a Catholic school then they
The Catholic bishops of England and hands, arms and feet three times accept that it is going to be a Catholic
Wales also want facilities in schools for each, gargling the mouth three times school and there will not be facilities
Islamic pre-prayer washing rituals. for ritual cleansing and prayer rooms.
But the bishops - who acknowledge ‘They do their ritual cleansing
30 per cent of pupils at their schools before they go to a mosque, but they
hold a non-Christian faith - want are not going to a mosque. ‘I don’t
to answer critics who say religious think the bishops should go looking
schools show division. for problems. Where will it stop?’
The recommendations were But Majid Khatme, a Muslim who
made in a document, Catholic sent his children to a London Catholic
Schools, Children of Other Faiths and school, said he was delighted by the
Community Cohesion. gesture. ‘It is very kind of the bishops
‘If practicable, a room (or rooms) if they give this facility for Muslims to
might be made available for the use pray,’ he said.
of pupils and staff from other faiths for ‘I would love to send a letter of
prayer,’ the bishops said. thanks to the bishops, really. If they
‘Existing toilet facilities might be do this all Muslims in Britain will be
adapted to accommodate individual thankful to the Catholic Church to
ritual cleansing which is sometimes and washing the neck and inside the have facilities to pray. It is very, very
part of religious lifestyle and worship. nose and ears. encouraging.’
‘If such space is not available on Catholic schools would need to The recommendations have
a permanent or regular basis, extra install bidets, foot spas and hoses been approved by Vincent Nichols,
efforts might be made to address such to facilitate such extensive cleansing Archbishop of Birmingham and the
need for major religious festivals.’ rituals, Muslims say. favourite to succeed Cardinal Cormac
The Islamic cleansing ritual, called Daphne McLeod, a former Catholic Murphy-O’Connor as Catholic
‘Wudhu’, is carried out by Muslims head teacher from south London, said primate.
before they pray. it would be ‘terribly expensive’ for the But it would be up to governing
Islam teaches that Muslims are unfit country’s 2,300 Catholic primary and bodies of each school to decide
for prayer if they have not performed secondary schools to provide ritual whether to act on the guidance.
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