Jewish Journal

Islam gains ‘foot’hold at NYU

by Brad A. Greenberg

October 3, 2007 | 1:15 pm

New York University wants to make its sinks foot-free.

As more than a dozen universities and colleges across the country have done, the school is looking to install foot baths for ritualistic cleansing in a new Islamic center proposed for its more-than-1,500 Muslim students.

“It’s something that’s being looked at as part of the new interfaith center,” said university spokeswoman Kelly Franklin.

While a home for the center has yet to be secured, NYU is in talks with the Archdiocese of New York about buying its building at 238 Thompson St., where the student Catholic and Islamic centers are currently housed.

In a bathroom there by the Muslim prayer room - as well as in more-visible university bathrooms - Muslim students wash before each of five daily prayers, a task they precariously conclude by rinsing their feet in hip-high sinks.

Although students haven’t been clamoring for foot baths, according to leaders and members of NYU’s Muslim community, they would prefer them to standard sinks where washing leads to wet floors, dirty conditions and, at times, uncomfortable moments.

“The foot part is definitely the most difficult,” said Rida Aslam, 17, a freshman from Brooklyn.

Having other students “just walking in and seeing us have our feet in the sink - it’s awkward,” she added.

As this New York Post article states, footbaths for ritual washings have been gaining ground in various communities, sometimes at tax-payer expense. The entry hasn’t been pretty—full of church-state concerns—and an Indianapolis pastor claims on the ultra-conservative WorldNetDay that footbaths are the beginning of a Sharia-run United States.

“How do you eat an elephant?” Hillenburg asked during an interview with WND. “One bite at a time. And this is just the first bite of the elephant, a step towards Islam’s desired goal, which is to thrust the entire world under one single Islamic caliphate under sharia law.”

A clever metaphor, but gimme a break.

(Hat tip: Little Green Footballs)

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