A plan for the new Indianapolis airport that includes footbaths for Muslim cab drivers “cannot go unchallenged,” according to the pastor of a local church fighting the project.
In a letter to Mayor Bart Peterson, Rev. Jerry Hillenberg of Hope Baptist Church has asked for a meeting over the accommodation now pending in plans being developed by the airport authority.
“I still desire to speak personally with you about this issue. It cannot go unchallenged and unattended to,” he wrote. “It remains a concern of the public at large, and certainly is a concern of this pastor and our congregation.
“All of the input that we have received from the citizens of this city, county, surrounding counties, across the country, and around the world; has run 10 to one against the installation of these religious implements,” he said.
“Most realize that public property, owned by the taxpayers, cannot be used by Christians for religious displays or implements of their religiosity. Then, the question amongst them becomes: Why can it be used for Muslims?”
The consultant, David Dawson, said the Muslim footbaths proposed are a “safety” issue because cab drivers now perform that function by using ordinary restroom sinks.
“The designers of the building [are] dealing with the known behavior of the taxi drivers who wash their feet during the day and à use counter level sinks,” he told WND. That, he said, creates “dangerous situations and a messy situation.”
Their resolution is to put a sink in the floor “so that would reduce the possibility of accidents or injury.”
He said it remains to be given final approval by the airport authority, which is a public entity connected to the city since the mayor appoints members of the authority board.
Hillenberg said the question that need answers include:
* Why was such a plan adopted in the first place?
* Why would public funds be used to foot the bill?
* Why was not this issue covered during the budget process?
* Will religious implements for other organizations be purchased?
* And what is the reasoning behind the support for Islam?
Hillenberg sad while he disagrees with that, “it has become the law of the land” and it has been “rammed down our throats in every area of the public square.”
He said it’s been used to remove prayer from public school, remove prayer from convocations and commencements, remove Nativity displays from public property, remove Christmas trees and Christmas celebrations and songs and remove the Ten Commandments from public display.
“Now, we are faced with a governmental full court press to give overt preference to one religion over Christianity, that religion is Islam. The installation of Islamic foot washing sinks on the Indianapolis International Airport à constitutes a wanton display of religious preference,” he said.
He said if it truly is not preferential treatment, then he would volunteer to install a display of the Ten Commandments on public property, because Christians are commanded not to pray five times a day, but to “pray without ceasing,” “to be praying always,” “to be praying continually” and “always pray and not to faint.”
Hillenberg earlier pointed out there’s no real need for the footbaths, because the Quran does not require washing with water.
But Hillenburg said his Quran gives an exemption to faithful Muslims who don’t have ready access to water for their washing prior to their five-times-a-day prayer rituals.
What should they use? Dirt.
“They don’t have to have water. The airports should just put some dirt out there,” he said.
The Quran, as translated by Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, the foreign minister of Pakistan in 1947 and later a judge at the International Court of Justice at the Hague, and published by Interlink Publishing Group, in fact, appears to document just that.
A second reference, Chapter 4, section 44, reads: “O ye who believe, approach not Prayer when you are not in full possession of your faculties, until you realize the true import of your supplications, nor when you have consorted with your wives, except during the course of a journey, until you have washed. Should you be ill or on a journey, or if one of you comes from the privy, or you have consorted with your wives and you find no water, then betake yourselves to clean dust and wipe therewith your face and your hands. Surely, Allah is Most Indulgent, Most Forgiving.”