The Muslims in Australia seem to be assimilating nicely, assimilating Australia that is:
International Muslim students, predominantly from Saudi Arabia, have asked universities in Melbourne to change class times so they can attend congregational prayers. They also want a female-only area for Muslim students to eat and relax.Assimilation is really a one-way street. And what's sad about this, is that the Saudi Muslim students know that. They are indeed assimilating Australia.
But at least one institution has rejected their demands, arguing that the university is secular and it does not want to set a precedent for requests granted in the name of religious beliefs.
La Trobe University International chief officer John Molony said several students had approached the Bundoora institution about rearranging class times to fit in with daily prayers.
Mr Molony said the university was attempting to "meet the needs" of an increasing number of Muslim international students, including doubling the size of the prayer room on campus.
La Trobe University International College director Martin Van Run said that although it was involved in discussions with the Muslim students who had made the requests, the university was not planning to change any timetables.
"That would seriously inconvenience other people at the college and it is not institutionally viable," he told The Australian. "We are a secular institution ... and we need to have a structured timetable."