March 14 youth organizations strongly condemned on Wednesday the Antonine Fathers University incident in which students performed Muslim prayers against the wishes of the university administration that did not comply with their request to dedicate a prayer room for their needs.
The organizations called on all secondary schools, universities, and academic institutions to suspend classes on Thursday between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. in protest against Tuesday’s incident.
They questioned in a statement: “Some students’ insistence to perform their religious duties at a university that is known to adhere to the Maronite church, which is therefore a violation of the university’s rules and regulations.”
They therefore urged all sides to respect the rules of all universities and academic institutions in Lebanon because they all share internal regulations that respect the needs of their students.
Furthermore, the March 14 youth organizations added: “We reject the approach of some political sides, which cannot be farther away from the values of all religions, whereby they forcefully seek to impose their views on others, whether at schools or any workplace, believing that they are above the law.”
The Antonine Fathers University, Baabda branch, had issued a statement on Tuesday explaining that some students had requested from the administration that a prayer room be provided to Muslim students.
“The administration did not respond to their request due to the university’s religious nature, prompting 37 students to violate this matter and perform prayers in the university’s internal campus in an act of provocation,” it noted.
“The university administration adheres to the rules of the Maronite Antonine Order, which prohibits the establishment of any prayer room that does not belong to its sect,” it added.
The university refuses to compromise over this issue, warning against any act of provocation and calling on its students, regardless of their sect, to respect its rules and regulations.
“The university’s identity is clear in that it is private, Christian, Catholic, Maronite, and Antonine institution that welcomes all students, regardless of their social or sectarian affiliations, but it also refuses to compromise its own identity and history,” it stressed.
The university statement adamantly rejected any political activity within its campus, saying that the administration alone will tackle any violation committed by the students, regardless of their religious or political affiliations.
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