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Muslim prayer rooms should be opened in UK Catholic schools, say church leaders


Muslim beliefs continue to make steady inroads into British society, as they do in several other European countries too.

The Daily Mail, one of Britain’s leading newspapers, reports that:

Muslim prayer rooms should be opened in every Roman Catholic school, church leaders have said. The Catholic bishops of England and Wales also want facilities in schools for Islamic pre-prayer washing rituals. The demands go way beyond legal requirements on catering for religious minorities.

But the bishops – who acknowledge 30 per cent of pupils at their schools hold a non-Christian faith – want to answer critics who say religious schools sow division. The recommendations were made in a document, Catholic Schools, Children of Other Faiths and Community Cohesion.

“Existing toilet facilities might be adapted to accommodate individual ritual cleansing which is sometimes part of religious lifestyle and worship” the bishops said… The Islamic cleansing ritual, called “Wudhu,” is carried out by Muslims before they pray… Wudhu involves washing the face, hands, arms and feet three times each, gargling the mouth three times and washing the neck and inside the nose and ears. Some Muslims also wash their private parts.

Catholic schools would need to install bidets, foot spas and hoses to facilitate such extensive cleansing rituals, Muslims say.

Britain has 2,300 Catholic primary and secondary schools. The press release: Catholic Schools, Children of Other Faiths and Community Cohesion (December 2008) can be read here.


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