Bravo to Harvard for Women-Only Gym Hours
Islam-friendly policy fits 'regime of reasonable accommodation'
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2008 7:44 PM CDT
A sign detailing hours when only women are allowed is posted at the entrance to Harvard University's Quadrangle Recreational Athletic Center in Cambridge, Mass. Friday, Feb. 28, 2008.    (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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(Newser) – Harvard was right to close a gym to men for six hours each week so Muslim women can exercise in comfort, Ruth Marcus writes in the Washington Post. Bloggers might be charging “Sharia at Harvard” and some students might be exercised about another decision to broadcast calls to prayer during Islamic Awareness Week, but the new policies are merely “reasonable accommodation.”

There certainly is such a thing as going too far, Marcus allows: Australian Muslim students wanting sex-segregated dining areas and British medical students refusing to expose and scrub their forearms are asking too much. But it’s a fundamental American value not to step on religion’s toes—and we shouldn’t balk at the kind of faith-based tensions that are dividing Europe.