Muslim center hits monetary roadblocks

The University has several places of worship that cater to students of many different faiths-Jewish students have Hillel, Catholic students have St. Augustine, Methodist students have Wesley. But Muslim students don’t have such a center, due to a lack of funding.

“This issue probably goes back 15 years-we’re talking a long, long time that there’s been a dialogue going on,” said Rev. Joe Lortie, director and chaplain of the Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship and member of the University Chaplains Association. “The Islamic campus ministries have been trying to raise money for a number of years.”

According to Dr. Pat Whitely, vice president for student affairs, funding is the main obstacle towards building an Islamic Center.

“We’ve put the land aside, and we’ve engaged in a pre-design process,” she said. “It’s a project that would take a significant amount of money, and that money has not been raised.”

Whitely said the last figures she saw pointed towards $5 million to $7 million to build the center. The land set aside for the center is in the corner diagonal to the Pavia Garage, near Hillel and the Writing Center.

Muslim students generally feel a center would be very convenient and a big improvement, although they note it’s not as essential for worship as people might think.

“[Not having the center] has in no way deterred us from carrying out our religious obligations as Muslims on campus,” Sarah Uddin, president of the Islamic Society of UM, said. “Muslim students between classes find their own niche on campus, whether it be a study room in the library or an empty classroom in Memorial, to make their own sanctuary.”

However, she notes that this doesn’t mean that Muslim students are perfectly happy with having no center.

“Individuals or organizations willing to fund this project should be actively solicited from the on-campus and off-campus communities,” she said.

Currently, Muslim students use places such as the ballrooms in the University Center (UC) and the Student Services Building for worship.

“[The space] is simply too small to house the hundreds or thousands of Muslims on campus,” Amir Zaher, senior, said. “It is on the last floor of the [Student Services] building and many people don’t feel very safe after sunset.”

In addition to providing needed services, a new Muslim center would serve educational purposes.

“It will be a great leap forward in clearing many of the impeding misconceptions about Islam,” he said.

With such a large amount of funding necessary, many Muslim students feel the new center may be beyond their scope, Zaher said.

“We need large contributors,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be through donations, but through advertisements, fundraising events, [or]showing more interest in the project.”

Jay Rooney can be contacted at

October 7, 2005


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

With the University of Miami season opener closing in, the next starting quarterback has yet to be n ...

The second fall scrimmage, closed to the media and public, is over. University of Miami coach Mark R ...

1. DOLPHINS: Fins any good? 'Dress rehearsal' may tell: Opening win, then lopsided loss. W ...

University of Miami linebacker Jamie Gordinier has had another unfortunate setback, effectively side ...

The calmest coach on the planet got mad Friday after football practice. University of Miami coach Ma ...

UM’s new chief academic officer holds some 40 patents, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Ac ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.