500 students petition for inclusion of Muslim showers

Chance Swaim

The Muslim Student Association, in collaboration with the Student Government Association and the Pakistan Student Association, have gathered a petition with more than 500 signatures from students, faculty and staff to raise awareness about handheld bidets, also known as Muslim showers, and implement their installation in public places like the Rhatigan Student Center, Heskett Center and Ablah Library.

“It’s like one of the hoses you use to water your garden or wash your car,” said Ahmed Aslam of the Pakistan Student Association.

Ayesha Mosharraf, event coordinator for the Muslim Student Association, said wherever there is a significant population of Muslims or Asians or people from India, there are Muslim showers.

For Muslims, it is a religious thing, Mosharraf said. For others, like students from Asian and India, it is a cultural thing.

Mosharraf and Aslam said Muslim students now have to rely on water bottles and squirt bottles to wash after doing the needful in the restroom.

“It’s not convenient to walk home to wash,” Aslam said. “It’s OK for me because I live close to campus, but for others it is a major inconvenience.”

“We have to pray five times a day at the interfaith,” Mosharraf said. “We cannot use interfaith [to wash] because we have to go back to our home, because a piece of tissue paper is not enough for us to clean.

“… We are used to using [bidets] because many of us have been using them since childhood.”

Mosharraf said WSU would be the first university campus in the United States to install the handheld bidets.

“WSU talks about diversity and likes to have rights for international students, so I believe we should have one or two in each public building, but especially in central places,” she said.

The petition has been presented to the Student Government Association, and awaits approval of funds, Mosharraf said. So far, she said, the petition has gathered beyond the required number of signatures.

“If the funds are not available, I have offered to pay for the installations myself,” she said.

Aslam said parts for each bidet would cost $18 to $20. Organizers hope to see a bidet installed in both men’s and women’s restrooms in the RSC, Ablah Library and the Heskett Center.

“We want six total for now, and more if we can,” Mosharraf said. “We definitely want them in the new buildings in Innovation Campus.”

WSU graduate student Matthew Garner said he hadn’t thought about the showers for Muslim students, and that the University of Texas, where he completed his undergraduate degree in English, didn’t have handheld bidets.

“If [Mosharraf] can come up with the funds and people want it,” he said, “I’m not opposed.”