Despite promises of an Islamic Centre in the University’s 2012/13 Prospectus [http://bit.ly/L35BgX p.45], the Islamic Centre on campus at the University of East Anglia is set to be demolished over the summer as planning permission for the temporary building expires in August.
There are no plans to replace the facility; instead those who use the Islamic Centre, which can amount to well over 500 people per day, will be re-housed in the Chaplaincy building on campus. Members of the Union voted and passed policy indicating that the Chaplaincy is not an adequate multi-faith facility in 2011.
The news came as a surprise to the Union and Muslim staff and students at UEA; the plans were filtered down just last week from the University via the Muslim Chaplain, who volunteers his service to help run the UEA Islamic Centre. The news hit those most affected just as students finish exams and head home for the holidays.
The Islamic Community is set to host a demonstration on campus on Friday afternoon at 2pm with the support of the Union to oppose the demolition and raise awareness of the issue, which is the beginning of the “Protect Faith on Campus: Save the UEA Islamic Centre” campaign. The Union has also created a petition set to be released this evening
Union of UEA Students Communications Officer, Matthew Myles, said: “This University has promised an Islamic Centre to prospective students and to returning students for next year without any plans to provide one. It sets an uncomfortable precedent that the University may fail to deliver on things that are promised to students paying at least £9k, and without notifying anybody that will be affected. Especially one that could prove central to their student experience.
Faith can be a central aspect of a student’s life; many Muslim students would not have come to UEA knowing there would not be adequate facilities for them to practice their faith. The Union believes that all students should have access to adequate facilities to practice their faith in a manner that they are satisfied with, and we believe that the Chaplaincy building does not meet these criteria.”
Sign the petition and join the campaign to protect faith on campus and save the UEA Islamic Centre!