Prayer rug in Shapiro reflection room defiled

Monday, February 6, 2017 - 1:22pm

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The University of Michigan Islamic Society of Ahlulbayt received a report on Sunday that someone urinated on one of the large prayer rugs located in the reflection room in the basement of the Shapiro Undergraduate Library.

Division of Public Safety and Security spokeswoman Diane Brown confirmed campus police were notified of the incident. The room has been taped off to allow it to be cleaned. Brown added she could not comment on any possible suspects. 

"There was an incident that was reported ... with vandalism in the reflection room," she said. "It will likely be categorized with a bias motivation."

Many reflection rooms exist on campus for the sake of prayer and meditation, but if students need to use the reflection room in Shapiro, the ISA advised students to use their own prayer rugs and pray in the back corner. The ISA warned the cleaning of the rug may not ensure "tahara," a state of purity and cleanliness required to touch the Quran, and advised that students not pray there.

The ISA and the Muslim Student Association recently released a statement via email, writing the damage done to the room affected students of all different faiths. 

"As practitioners of Islam and students at the University of Michigan, campus reflection rooms represent a key dimension of spiritual wellness and facilitate the practice of our faith wherever our day may take us," it read. "Campus reflection rooms are also an inclusive space, shared among students of all religions and spiritualities; including Christian, Jewish, Buddhist non-religious, spiritual etc. Safeguarding our places of personal, spiritual and faith based prayer and reflection is integral to fostering a diverse and tolerant Michigan. Along with the support of University administration, we invite our peers and colleagues to stand and act in support of not only Muslim students, but all affected communities at this time"

According to Brown, DPSS will not likely send out a crime alert, as there is no apparent threat to student safety. 

Updated: Article now includes ISA and MSA's recently released statement.