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Sunday, Sep 25, 2022

Middlebury Muslim Students Association’s prayer space desecrated during Ramadan

<p>The Islamic prayer room is located in Forest Hall.</p>

The Islamic prayer room is located in Forest Hall.

Early in the morning of Saturday, April 9, an unknown individual, or potentially multiple individuals, poured urine outside of the Muslim Students Association’s (MSA) prayer space in Forest Hall while two members of the group were inside. The individual or one of the individuals returned shortly afterwards and attempted to forcefully enter the prayer space, according to an email sent to the members of the MSA. The students inside the prayer room remained safely inside for the duration of the aggression.

The attack comes while the Muslim community is observing Ramadan, a month-long celebration focused on community, prayer and reflection. The timing of the incident indicates it was a targeted act characteristic of the discrimination, bias and violence that Muslims face due to Islamophobic attitudes. 

In a school-wide email, the Community Bias Response Team (CBRT) and Dean of Students Derek Doucet condemned the defilement of the religious space.

“Muslims face discrimination, bias, and violence in a myriad of ways, and these kinds of incidents trigger the fear and belief that Muslims are unwelcome, are other, and do not deserve safety and dignity. The desecration of a space that is dedicated for prayer is an abhorrent violation not only of our institutional values but also of basic human decency,” they wrote.

Public Safety is currently investigating the incident and welcomes anyone with information about what happened to contact their office at (802) 443-5133. 

MSA leadership does not feel that there is any imminent physical danger to group members. Recognizing the emotional and psychological impact of the assault, the CBRT’s email encourages those who need it to access campus resources at the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, MiddTelehealth and the Centeno House Counseling Center.

Ideal Dowling

Ideal Dowling '22 is an Editor at Large.

She previously served as a copy editor and Local section editor.

Dowling is majoring in Political Science and minoring in French and  History. During the summer of 2021, she worked as a consultant for the  startup accelerator Aegis Ventures and as a research assistant for  Professor Stanley Sloan as he worked on his book "De-Trumping U.S.  Foreign Policy: Can Biden Bring America Back?" In addition to her work  at The Campus, Dowling is captain of Middlebury's women's squash team  and an employee at the Middlebury College Museum of Art.