A Mammon-solution to an Allah-problem

Letter writers to The Age are not impressed with demands from Muslim students for dedicated prayer rooms at RMIT. Plausibly enough, some argue that a secular institution like RMIT should not favour one religious group over another.

It seems to me than an obvious solution is being overlooked. The University should provide a Muslims-only prayer room, but do so on a commercial basis. RMIT could either rent a room to a Muslim group, or operate the prayer room itself by issuing students with swipe cards in exchange for a fee. Maybe the very religious could get bulk discounts for using the room 5 times a day, or maybe it could be like a gym membership, in which the sunk cost encourages attendance from those whose desire to get fit or show faith is not always matched with action.

If RMIT charged too much, this would provide an incentive for other groups to offer cheaper prayer space. Indeed, particularly for RMIT’s city campus I imagine there is a good business opportunity in seeking custom from the many Muslims who now use Melbourne’s CBD.

Another win-win market solution.