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Young woman clasping rosary, close-up (B&W)

Source: Richard Price / Getty

It may surprise some to learn Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills has a dozen or so Muslim students.

It has been that way, say leaders, for many years.

But questions have recently been raised, primarily by about a dozen or so angry parents, over a prayer room, which allows those Muslim students to pray on a Catholic school’s property.

“When the question was ‘Is there a place that I can pray?’, the answer that evolved was yes,” says school president John Birney. “We have this ‘sacred space’ available for you if you want it,” he remembers telling students.

That prayer room is not just for Muslims. Students of other non-catholic faiths have used it too says Birney.

The school says they haven’t heard from any students who have had any opinions on this one way or the other, rather its pretty much just those parents raising questions.

“My quick response is, all catholic schools have as part of their admissions that they don’t discriminate based on race, creed, color,” says Birney.

Of those parents, “I respect your opinion, I need to talk to experts in the field before we finalize what we choose to do.”

He says he has been in touch with the Archdiocese of Detroit and is waiting on more perspective.

“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 adds.

He says those Muslim students must conform to the Catholic curriculum required of all students and they have, he says, they respect the Catholic faith, so current thinking is, the school should respect theirs.

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