CAIR-NY Welcomes Announcement of Interfaith Prayer Space at CCNY's campus
(NEW YORK, NY, 11/22/2022)—The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today welcomed the establishment of an interfaith prayer space at City College of New York (CCNY).
In an email to students last week, CCNY announced an interfaith space where the campus community can pray, meditate or reflect. CCNY’s announcement comes after CCNY students held protests each Tuesday and Thursday since October to demand appropriate space for interfaith prayer activities.
CAIR-NY provided guidance and organizing assistance to the student-led effort. Additionally, CAIR-NY led a letter-writing campaign that generated more than 3700 letters emailed to CCNY administrators.
On October 10, 2022, CAIR-NY joined students at the first protest outside the CCNY administration building.
Ahmed Mohamed, Legal Director at CAIR-NY, said in a statement:
“We welcome CCNY’s decision to respect the religious practices of its students and provide an appropriate interfaith prayer space. This administration had taken steps to marginalize and displace religiously practicing, predominantly Muslim students for years. Without the consistent and dedicated advocacy of CCNY students, this result would not have been possible.
“A space that promotes inclusivity and belonging celebrates religious and spiritual diversity, and accommodates the practices of religiously-diverse students is a prerequisite for an institution of higher learning. We look forward to working with CCNY students and administrators in the future to ensure Muslim students have a safe, welcoming school environment."
Mohamed explained that Muslim students were disproportionally impacted by CCNY’s failure to accommodate faith-based students because of Muslim students’ religious requirements to pray five times a day.
Since CCNY had failed to provide appropriate interfaith space, Muslim students have been forced to pray in small, cramped areas - including dirty, narrow hallways.
According to CCNY students, the administration had displaced the interfaith space for several years. Despite many attempts to persuade the administration to provide adequate, appropriate space for interfaith activities, they have not done so.