Monday, January 28, 2008

Faith rooms

I read Harry's Place for the first time in a little while, and came across this article. The writer came across a 'faith room' in the Science Museum, which he believes should be shut down, owing to the conflict between religious belief and science.

I don't think that having a place where people can pray in a museum is the first step on a slippery slope towards a religious-dominated society, and given how little bother it is to have a space set aside for people to be able to worship, it is a good idea for museums and other places which lots of people pass through to do this.

Reading through the comments, this is obviously an issue which causes a baffling amount of anger and vitriol in some people. The temptation is to advise them to get out more, but the danger is that while out and about they will glimpse some other sign of our tolerant and multicultural society which will cause yet more anger. Much better to stay at home and write more about George Galloway or re-read Nick Cohen's book.


At 9:23 am , Blogger jdc said...

My uncle gets very stroppy on this. He's had to provide a prayer room in the place of work he manages, and it does appear to have been either a slippery slope, or at least one aspect of a linked trend.

The Muslim guys (about half the staff) now don't ever come to post-work drinks, or indeed to the Christmas party, and he no longer gets to negotiate with a trade union about working conditions, he has to negotiate with an imam. Via an interpreter.

My personal view on the prayer room is that while in principle I agree that workplaces are workplaces, and am quite up for keeping them secular, the fact that the office had previously had a smoking room means that they had accepted sacrificing workspace to accommodate people's wacky lifestyle choices.

At 1:49 pm , Blogger Tom said...

Muslims not coming to post-work drinks? Why on earth not? You'll be telling me they don't accept the complimentary bacon sandwiches next.

Interesting that your uncle's company felt it necessary to accommodate people's wacky lifestyle choices by sacrificing workspace to fit in a smoking room. Now that there's a smoking ban, he doesn't have to do that any more, which must come as a huge relief to him.

At 3:00 pm , Anonymous jdc said...

"Muslims not coming to post-work drinks? Why on earth not?"

I appreciate you're being sarcastic, but;

"Because they have fallen victim to an extremist interpretation of Islam designed not just to set a code of living which encourages them personally to avoid alcohol, but which aims to promote segregation and prevent them from socialising in most of the places where they may become friends with those of other religious views".

They used to come along. Indeed some of them used to be the biggest drinkers there. My work serves ham sandwiches, I've yet to notice Muslims boycotting the meetings because they are present (indeed, I'm a vegetarian, but I don't demand to leave the room when others eat meat).

"Now that there's a smoking ban, he doesn't have to do that any more, which must come as a huge relief to him."

It is. He doesn't smoke, he didn't want a smoking room in the first place, but they've existed for decades. He certainly doesn't accept that people should be able to wander off and smoke outside of designated break times.

He probably doesn't think people should be commenting on blogs from the office either, so I'm fairly glad I don't work for him.

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