As the nation’s Muslim population grows, so does debate over religious accommodation.
In Boston, one university has taken steps to help Muslim students maintain an important ritual: bathing before prayer.
At the center for English Language and Orientation at Boston University students come from all over the world to master English. The largest group is Muslims.
“We have to pray five times, and every five times we have to wash,” said student Reeema Alashgar.
It’s a ritual that includes washing the feet.
“Using our bathroom ended up being a messy situation with a lot of water on the floor,” said Center director Margot Veldivia.
So when the center upgraded the bathrooms they installed ritual foot baths.
“The students have been very grateful. They didn’t ask for this but rather we understood the tradition and how necessary it was in their daily lives,” she said.
Across the country a number of universities, including the University of Michigan in Dearborn and George Washington University in Washington D.C., have installed foot baths.
So have two airports, the Indianapolis Airport and KCI Airport in Kansas City, Missouri. In each case the move came with some degree of resistance.