Phi Beta Cons

How must we “accommodate” Muslim students?

Katherine Kersten has been writing some splendid columns about the problem in Minnesota and around the country that higher education administrators are facing in demands that they spend money specifically to accommodate Muslim students. Here is her most recent column on the topic.
One administrator argues that because the cafeteria has fish available during Lent, it must be all right to install foot washing facilities for Islamic students.
There’s an obvious First Amendment problem here, but this controversy is an outgrowth of one of the central notions of the leftist worldview — that it’s incumbent on the institutions of society to adjust to accommodate the personal quirks of individuals rather than the other way around. Workers with handicaps, for example, are entitled to compel employers to accommodate their needs. In the past, such individuals would have sought employment where their handicaps weren’t much of a problem. Similarly, students who claim reading disabilities are entitled to extended time in taking tests.
And in this instance, it isn’t up to Muslim students to find ways to work their particular beliefs and rituals into the situation they have chosen — a college campus. Instead, it’s up to the administrators to spend taxpayer money to make sure that these students aren’t inconvenienced.
As Kersten demonstrates, the Muslim Accommodation Task Force has learned the lessons provided by earlier pressure groups in mau-mauing officials into getting what they want.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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