Prayer Room at UM-Flint Sparks Clash

Shena Abercrombie, Flint Journal, May 23

FLINT—A room for peaceful reflection and prayer at the University of Michigan-Flint has become anything but.

Instead, Room 386 at the University Center—known as the Meditation Room—is at the heart of a months-long religious dispute between Muslim and non-Muslim students.

The non-Muslims began complaining in November that Muslim students were monopolizing the room and filling the tiny space with religious paraphernalia and anti-Israel literature.

The Muslim students countered that they were being unfairly targeted and appealed to the university for religious tolerance.

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UM-Flint student Zea Miller, 22 of Flint asked the university, in a written petition, to allow a more balanced use of the room, urging it to “whitewash” the walls and remove all religious items—a move that he said caused him to be stalked and harassed.

The university investigated Miller’s claims about being harassed and said they were unfounded.

“There are people who feel offended and intimidated being in the Meditation Room or within the presence of artifacts representative of beliefs not their own,” Miller said in his petition.

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“We don’t have a problem sharing that room,” said Tom Coy, a member of Students Defending Christian Principles. “(Miller) is using that as a basis for his own intolerance.”

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