October 22, 2011 9:46 AM

Catholic U charged w/Muslim student discrimination

cua.jpgCatholic University of America is the official national university of the Catholic Church in the United States, with direct ties to the Vatican. In some ways, it is not as seriously compromised as most big name Catholic universities - e.g. Notre Dame, which invited pro-abortion, pro-infanticide and Planned Parenthood BFF President Obama to as the 2009 commencement speaker, generating Catholic protests and arrests - and even a boycott by their own bishop.

garvey.jpgLast July, CUA installed John Garvey, a nationally renowned expert in constitutional law, religious liberty, and the First Amendment, as the University's 15th president.

Garvey had previously served as dean of the Boston College Law School for over 10 years, and had 30 years experience in administration and teaching. According to his bio:

Garvey's faith and his belief in the Catholic intellectual tradition have played a central role in his teaching and scholarly research. Upon accepting the position at CUA, Garvey said, "I have been committed for much of my life to advancing the cause of Catholic higher education, and there is no better place to do that than at The Catholic University of America."

Garvey joined CUA students at the January 2011 Pro-Life March. Maddy (who had just been accepted to the CUA School of Music for 2011) and I met President Garvey and his wife at a pro-life leadership Mass the Sunday before. Parent-to-parent, he impressed me as a father who successfully raised and educated five children, committed to making decisions based on common sense rather than the dictates of current wisdom.

In July, President Garvey announced that CUA would return to same-sex dorms, based on data that showed this would decrease binge drinking and sexual hook-ups. While many parents breathed sighs of relief, one Catholic-watchdog reacted like a bull before a red cape: John F. Banzhaf III, George Washington University Professor of Public Interest Law promptly filed a complaint with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR), reputed to have the strictest discrimination laws in the country.

Now Banzhaf has found another grievance to nail Catholic U: discrimination against Muslim students. Evidently, these students who in spite of their religion applied to a Catholic university, are offended when they find an empty classroom in which to pray, only to be disturbed by the Catholic symbols with which they are surrounded.

Banzhaf insists that Catholic U provide a special prayer room (perhaps based on the mideastern practice of giving Christians special prayer rooms at their universities?) for their student/guests. He also claims CUA is discriminating by not officially supporting a Muslim student group (which would require support through student activity fees). He cites Georgetown University - which dropped its Catholic identity long ago, even consenting to cover the crucifix when President Obama, early in his term, chose a generic "Catholic" backdrop for one of his speeches.

Once again, Banzhaf has filed charges with the OHR.

One might wonder why Muslims wish to attend a Catholic university in the first place. They claim they feel safe there (see The Tower article below). But should Catholics feel safe when Muslim student associations elsewhere preach jihad? (See Muslim Students Association Pledge of Allegiance.) CUA is not prohibiting them from forming their own group, just not granting official/financial support.

Furthermore, like the proverbial camel's nose under the tent, these charges could lead to the stripping of all religious symbols from all CUA classrooms, as theoretically any classroom could be empty and therefor a place for Muslim students to pray. 

University Accused of Discriminating Against Muslims

Amanda Pellegrino, Tower Staff
October 20, 2011

New charges have recently been filed against the University on counts of illegal discrimination against its Muslim and female students. The allegations are being reviewed by the District of Colombia Office of Human Rights (OHR), which has the strictest discrimination laws in the country. President John H. Garvey and the University is being urged to respond to the charges.

John F. Banzhaf III, the George Washington University Professor of Public Interest Law who initiated the legal controversy surrounding same-sex residence halls, is also the one behind these new charges.

The official allegations claim 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 a press release on PRLOG.com.

This formal complaint also maintains that the new same-sex residence halls are particularly discriminating against female students, which is a new position on the same-sex lawsuit that began last month.

Banzhaf claims that the University is denying Muslim students the same benefits that students of other religions are able to enjoy since there is no formal Muslim association sponsored by Catholic University but the Columbus School of Law has an association for Jewish students

"Denying Muslim students the opportunity for form a student group on campus could hardly be based upon any fundamental Catholic doctrine since Georgetown University not only has such a Muslim student group, but also provides its Muslim students with a separate prayer room and even a Muslim chaplain," said Banzhaf in that press release.

Read more at The Tower

Please keep this issue in your prayers. Under the Obama administration, the Catholic Church has been the subject of contempt, bullying, attacks and lies. Promises about Conscience Clause protection have been broken. And the White House has used Catholic-in-name-only institutions and public figures to mislead the public about the Church and Church teaching.

Please keep CUA, President John Garvey and the faithful faculty and students at CUA in your prayers.

O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth: deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Gracious Father, we pray for they holy Catholic Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Savior. Amen.


Posted in Catholicism, Islam issues | Permalink


I realize it has been a while since I roamed around CUA's campus, and I am missing today's homecoming, but I have to wonder...
Why do Muslim Students need their own prayer space when there has never been a special space for Jewish students, Protestant Students, Wiccan Students, Unitarians, Quakers, etc. I knew students who practiced all of these faiths during my time at CUA and they seemed to be OK with their surroundings.

When I was a student, the elected student government met each year to discuss and distribute funds from the Student Activity Fee to any student organizations who had applied and defended their application. it was a complicated, thoughtful and STUDENT run process. if this new group has just formed, their chance for funding will come in the next cycle. how is that discriminatory?

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I have recently been focusing on trying to get CUA to remove Susan Sarandon's name from their website, and to stop touting her as one of their leading alum given her recent horrible comments regarding our Holy Father. I see that they are under attack from many fronts these days.

Posted by: Danielle M. | October 22, 2011 1:35 PM

Thanks for that information, Danielle.

Posted by: Sue from Buffalo | October 22, 2011 10:24 PM

I hope and pray the university stands firm! I would be all too tempted to say - Don't like my university? Does our faith offend you? There are plenty of other universities out there and I invite you to check them out!
So tired of Catholics not living and practicing their faith. And weary of being told we can't practice our faith fully because someone might be offended. Tough cookies.

Posted by: Michelle | October 23, 2011 9:19 PM

"they are often surrounded by Catholic symbols"

Catholic symbols? In a Catholic University? Who would've guessed?

Posted by: Scott | October 24, 2011 5:15 PM

Must every group be everything to everyone, so that no group has any real identity? Is that the idea? It seems there is no longer any right even for PRIVATE groups or individuals to associate in the manner they choose.

If I decide to go to a Muslim school here in the US, are they obliged to remove the star and crescent or provide me with a special chapel with a crucifix in it? THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT!

Posted by: Mouse | October 24, 2011 5:57 PM

Danielle - While you're at it, see if they will remove "Maureen B. Dowd, B.A. 1973, Columnist for The New York Times." She is rabidly anti-Catholic in her writings.

Posted by: Tom | October 24, 2011 6:25 PM

If Muslims don't like it at CU they should go to school some where else. Personally I think they should be treated like Catholics are treated in Muslim countries. In fact if they don't like life in the U.S. I'm sure they would be happier in a Muslim country. No one is forcing them to stay here.

Posted by: Linus | October 24, 2011 6:33 PM

Oh, please. Choose another school if you're so uncomfortable.
Certainly a Muslim should be disciplined enough to pray despite their surroundings. Catholics in Dearborn, Michigan, for instance, have been praying for many years despite the sounds that emanate from the many surrounding Muslim minarets several times per day.
Stand firm, President Garvey. You and yours will be in my prayers.

Posted by: Laura | October 24, 2011 6:39 PM

Well... this is so stupid.

It's a CATHOLIC University... not a 'generic' university...

If i were a muslim and I were offended by Catholic symbols I would not attend a Catholic University.

For sure I would not attend a 'Muslim' University if I were offended by Islamic symbols... and if I did attend an Islamic university I'd feel I'd have to accept that in an Islamic University there are Islamic symbols

I feel that John F. Banzhaf III does not give a hoot about Muslims and their right, but probably has some anti-Catholic agenda in is backpocket.

Posted by: Ismael | October 24, 2011 9:13 PM

These same complaining students must pass a grocery store (an American store) on their way to classes or to town to shop.

So will they file a lawsuit against the food store because the store is selling pork?

They live in this American country for some reason or they would remain in their own country and go to school there......I hope the university does not move one inch from having Catholic symbols on their walls, treating the
complainers as they would other complainers..

These same students attend classes where the Catholics symbols are displayed. They see priests or nuns perhaps who are wearing Catholic symbols....how do they react?

Should not foreign students/non-Catholics attend
an orientation session with explanations on our customs.....which are for US here in the USA.

The complainers will never end......complaining about something.

Patricia in St. Louis, MO

Posted by: Patricia Cornell | October 24, 2011 10:46 PM

This is lawfare. The Law is just one tool to fight:
‘the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle’
Bukhari (001.002.024)

Today it is Crucifixes and other Catholic symbols. Tomorrow it could be halal food, rescheduling classes to not interfere with the 5-times-a-day prayers, elevating the status of Fridays to be like Sundays, demanding that only a Muslim is qualified to teach Islam, etc.

It will be a long battle. I hope the CUA is up for it.

Posted by: Kinana | October 25, 2011 8:51 AM

As Blessed John Paul II said before becoming pope. The church in the United States does not realize that we are in the final battle between good and evil, the church and the anti-church. We had all better wake up and realize full extent of what is going on.

God has given us the plan to win this battle. In 1917 at Fatima. Once again in the words of JPII. Fatima is even more relevant today than it was in 1917. We need to revisit what Our Lady of Fatima asked of us. We need to do as requested. We need to consecrate all to the Sacred Heart of Jesus THROUGH her Immaculate Heart. Offer it all through our Lady to Jesus. She can multiply the graces and win the battle.

Posted by: tad | October 25, 2011 9:35 AM

One of Christianity's most holy places--The Upper Room in Jerusalem---has muslim symbols on its windows and walls. Christians are expected to accept this and for the most part we have remained silent. This is only one example among many.

Posted by: Evelyn Milne | October 25, 2011 2:04 PM

I have to say that I am disappointed by the dismissive rhetoric used in reference to Notre Dame as "compromised," especially in an article about CUA getting back to a practice that Notre Dame never lost - single-sex dorms. ND deserves to take its lumps over inviting Obama, and needs to be reminded of that mistake for a while, I certainly admit, but I was really taken aback by the tone of the opening of this post. We should talk about mistakes or even sins-if an institution can be understood as capable of sin apart from those who compose it- with sadness, not with glee. There are so many good things happening at Our Lady's University, of which I have been a sometimes hurt but more often proud student for almost seven years. Obama was a sad wake-up call that ND can not take its pro-life Catholic identity for granted, and I for one see that the waking-up is taking place.
I love Catholic U, have had many good friends and great Catholics go through there, and wish the university and its students only the best. I wish that good will and prayers would be extended to other Catholic universities which are trying to build up the Kingdom, even if there are stumbles or falls along the way. Thank goodness for forgiveness.

Posted by: Wallace V. | October 25, 2011 2:11 PM

This is part of Satan's fight against Jesus Christ that will continue till the second comming of Jesus. Noone understand how Muslims think like Arabic speaking Christians. Everyone should support Chritians in Muslim countries who are the real front line servants of Jesus.

I like the idea posted by: Mouse, October 24, 2011 5:57 PM who suggested to form group of volunteers that organize themselves to apply to Islamic school in the States and try their best getting a room to practice praying, bible reading and Catholic Liturgy too. This group should be highly organized and sponsered to proof the point and stress the equality.

Lastly, we should continue praying as our fight is not against our Muslim brothers and sister but againt the Satanic ideas of violance, hatred and terrorism that sometimes find an easy way to their mindes. God bless all

Posted by: Nabil Salamon | October 25, 2011 2:27 PM

In Italy one person tried to force the Italians to remove the Crucifix from classrooms. The Italians stood up en masse and told the Muslim fellow that they would not remove the Crucifixes. If Muslims want to go to a Catholic school then they have to accept Catholic symbols. If a Muslim school were to receive non-Muslim students, I guarantee they would resist removing any symbols of their Muslim faith. I hope Catholics will stand strong together against this kind of intimidation. We have becoming so politically correct that we are in danger of losing our national and spiritual identies...

Posted by: florin | October 25, 2011 3:36 PM

If there is a Catholic symbol, such as a Crucifix, in a classroom, the room is not empty. Is it?

The muslim students need only turn their backs to Jesus, just as Mohammed did when he abandoned the faith he was born into.

Posted by: Bryant Sandburg | October 25, 2011 4:21 PM

This article is too funny. A lont time ago Carl Menninger wrote a book called, "Whatever became of Original Sin?" I think this article should be entitled,"Whatever became of common sense?"

Posted by: Alan Fava | October 25, 2011 5:16 PM

looks like part of the plan......the fall of another great empire...AMERICA....its getting
there! GOD HELP US

Posted by: Felicia | October 25, 2011 5:32 PM

It's not about being uncomfortable, it's about defeating the Catholic Church. These people have no interest in anything else and no aim beyond that.

Posted by: Paul L. | October 25, 2011 6:04 PM

Here,where everything starts!!!
Cancer starts spreading........
Be aware, be awaken, ask Europeans.
God bless you.

Posted by: Sherif | October 25, 2011 6:35 PM

The quasi-religion islam uniformly suppresses and persecutes Christians. It is an organization that has no moral standing to complain against the true Church. The socio-political imperialist group islam is the enemy of civilization in general and Christendom in particular. They are subtly infiltrating themselves into every organization they can find in the Christian world in order to form a fifth column to stifle free speech and Christianity and to further their 14 century long war on Christendom. They are history's greatest liars. They are actively malign. Don't believe it? First, read a little history. Second, train your grand/great grandchildren well since they will have to fight them in the future.

Posted by: Calixtus | October 25, 2011 8:54 PM

the problem here is probably not the muslims. The problem here is the GODless liberals. Libs hate GOD and Hate the Catholic Church. The fight is "to the death". When are we going to wake up?

Posted by: Phil | October 25, 2011 10:51 PM

CUA is a private institution. Nobody has a "right" to attend here. If Muslims don’t like the rules, they're free to go elsewhere — like Tehran, Riyadh, etc. I wouldn't be sorry to see them go. John F. Banzhaf III and the people for whom he's fronting deserve neither sympathy nor mercy.

Posted by: Phil Cooper | October 26, 2011 2:07 PM

And, pray tell us where are the Muslim mosques of upper education that strip out all Muslim symbols for the sensitivities of the 'Christian' students that are made welcome there? It is to laugh....

Posted by: irishsmile | October 26, 2011 3:34 PM

What the heck is going on here?????

That's a CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY! In fact if am the President, if you come to my Catholic University, you are obliged to attend our religious instructions!. If you don't like it, then go somewhere else. Nobody is forcing you to come unless you have a hidden, different agenda of bullying us, Catholics.

You don't expect me to go to a mosque or Muslim school and ask you to cater to my desire to have a CRUCIFIX in front of me bec I want to pray there, will you?

This is MODERN-DAY persecution, plain and simple!.

We CATHOLICS should stand firm and FIGHT the good FIGHT and show some muscle!. WHen Christ said turn the other cheek, he didn't mean, bow down to unreasonable demands, did he ? He even said be wise as serpents!

Thanks for this report, am going to use my nuclear weapon (and I hope all who are reading this too) to defeat this DEMONIC AGENDA. --- the HOLY ROSARY.

Posted by: Sophie | October 26, 2011 8:13 PM

I see them praying in the streets of Paris and New York with their backsides in the air. Let them pray in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Posted by: A Henneberry | October 26, 2011 9:12 PM

This reminds me of what happened a few years ago at Boston College (sadly known by locals as Barely Catholic).

A few dopey professors complained that they were troubled to be teaching in classrooms that all have a crucifix.

Boston locals an alumni went NUTS! How dare "they" be offended by OUR most sacred symbol-Jesus dying for all of our sins.

The chatter on the subway systems and commuter rails was abuzz with this attack on our faith. Even the more liberal, laid back Catholics took great offense!

I hope that Catholic University can find strength and unity during what is clearly an assault upon Catholic faith.

Time to rally the troops....as it is clear that you are either with us (as Catholics) or against us.

Perhaps this anatagonistic professor should remember where HE applied to teach? Oh right, a PRIVATE, CATHOLIC INSTITUTION.

Maybe he needs an empty classroom to rethink his career choice?

Posted by: OldSchool | October 27, 2011 8:46 AM

Great post. You are so right.

We should all also be aware that this sort of encroachment has been going on for a long time. In 2005 the Chicago Tribune carried a story about Benedictine University, which accomodated Muslim students by allowing them to use the chapel and " draw curtains to cover the wooden altar, the pulpit and stained-glass images of St. Benedict and Jesus carrying the cross..." ("Different faiths, same spirit, 5/16/05, TRIB). I wonder if these students treated the Eucharist with reverence, if the Host was anywhere in the chapel. (I think Benedictine has since designated a separate and unadorned prayer room.)

It is also instructive to look at St. Anthony Messenger's Sept. 2011 issue. You can view it on their site. The article regarding what Catholics should know about Islam was written with a CAIR member as a consultant. It is one of the most biased, sugar-coated articles about Islam I have ever read. (The print version of the magazine also carries an ad for Christian relief services in the Middle East, because Christians are, "
Afraid. Isolated. Alone." It appears within a five page article about St. Francis's mission Muslims during the Crusades, and how his loving influence can still be felt. Ironic, no?)

I hope the president of CUA has the backbone to stand up to this attack. I will pray that he has the strength, and the support from the Church, to successfully address this outrage.

Posted by: Mary | October 27, 2011 5:27 PM

The ignorance is spreading faster than Avian Bird Flu. If anybody decided to do just a smidgen of research, they would have found out that no Muslim student complained. It was filed by a lawsuit happy professor who is more than content to waste the courts time with frivilous lawsuits. He has a vanity tag on his vehicle that says SU BAST (figure it out). There was a Muslim student named Wiaam Al Salmi who was quoted,“The community here is very respectful of other religions and I feel free to openly practice it." The true story has been covered by the independent web paper of CUA and they point out the hyperbole of the media outlets and blogs. Yellow Journalism at it's finest.
Here is an accurate story:

Posted by: Omar | October 28, 2011 8:43 PM

Wouldn't this be akin to someone asking to come to your house, and then telling you to change your decors because he or she didn't like them?

Posted by: Celeste | October 29, 2011 1:58 AM

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