Parents protest putting up of prayer room for Muslims in Michigan Catholic school, calling it 'unconscionable'

Students and school faculty attend Mass at Brother Rice High School in Michigan, U.S.A.(Facebook/Brother Rice High School)

The Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan is a Catholic school that has about a dozen Muslim students.

Recently, the school offered a prayer room for Muslim and other non-Catholic students, immediately drawing protests from Christian parents who called the move "unconscionable." One of the parents said this would result in her child's religious education being "undermined," WXYZ reported.

But the school president is defending the establishment of a non-Christian prayer room.

"My quick response is, all Catholic schools have as part of their admissions that they don't discriminate based on race, creed, colour," said school president John Birney.

Birney said "when the question was 'Is there a place that I can pray?', the answer that evolved was yes."

"We have this 'sacred space' available for you if you want it," he told students.

The school students have not complained about it, but the parents did question the new non-Christian prayer room.

"I respect your opinion, I need to talk to experts in the field before we finalise what we choose to do," Birney said of the parents who opposed his plan.

He said he's waiting for the opinion of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

"Is this something that compromises our faith and identity, or is it in fact consistent with the respect that we have. We are Catholic in the sense that we share the good news, we are not Catholic in the sense, 'Hey if you're not Catholic don't bother coming here'," Birney said.

He said Muslim students in the school must conform to the Catholic curriculum for all students and they have respect for the Catholic faith so the school should respect theirs.

Detroit's Archbishop Allen Vigneron recently wrote about the "restriction on Muslim immigrants entering the United States, and protection of religious liberties for all Americans."

On the proposal to restrict immigration of Muslims to the U.S. based on their religion, he reminded that "50 years ago, the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council taught that the Catholic Church treats with respect those who practice the religion of Islam."

"And for these past 50 years, Catholics and Muslims in southeastern Michigan have enjoyed warm relations marked by a spirit of mutual respect and esteem," he said.