An anonymous gift to Columbia University has enabled the university to hire a full-time Coordinator of Muslim Life and open up a Muslim prayer space on campus — both in response to a petition to the administration by the Muslim Student Association.

The new coordinator will reportedly “provide guidance and support to members of Columbia’s Muslim community” and “enhance the understanding” of religious traditions on-campus. The university chaplain will work with various student groups to find someone suitable for the role.

The Muslim Student Alliance executive board released the following statement in their petition:

“President Trump’s recent executive order blatantly legalizes racism and Islamophobia and goes against everything that the United States and this University aspires to. As a result, the Muslim community is in need, now more than ever, of institutional support to help cope with the emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical toll these recent political events have on us.”

The MSA responded…with suspicion. They question the methods and transparency of the University Chaplain’s office.

The advisor to the MSA stated to The Columbia Spectator:

“Every year it’s been a battle getting things. It’s been like pulling teeth when we’re asking the chaplain for anything. The pattern that I’ve seen is that Chaplain Davis only does things for the Muslim community when it serves her—when there’s been a lot of attention and she knows she needs to do something to get that attention off of her.”

Students also expressed frustration that the unviersity administration did not alert the MSA that these development were in the works.

“We didn’t know that this was in the works or was even possible. It’s something that we’ve been working on for the past four years and there’s been no transparency, which is frustrating. We always have to put on so much public pressure for [Chaplain Davis] to do something, and it’s very tiring.”

— Yousr Shaltout

(H/T Campus Reform)

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