In what is fast shaping up to be a modern-day David and Goliath drama, McGill University recently threatened to evict the Muslim Students’ Association from the on-campus basement room that it’s prayed in since 2002. In an e-mail to every student on campus, McGill principal Heather Munroe-Blum reversed the policy of McGill’s previous administration in providing a prayer space to Muslim students. “McGill,” she stated, “is a non-denominational, non-sectarian academic institution” that “does not provide designated prayer space for any religious practice.”

The response was the administration’s point-blank denial to requests by the MSA for religious accommodation in accordance with Quebec’s human rights legislation. McGill has side-stepped all discussion of its obligation to provide accommodation as a service provider under the legislation. Boasting one of the premiere law schools in the country, the university ought to know that the law is crystal clear: Federal and provincial human rights legislation imposes on service-providers – whether secular or sacred – an affirmative duty to accommodate, among other things, religious needs”¦

 

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