More than 70 students in South Africa have been left without a roof over their heads after they were kicked out of college dormitories for refusing to comply with Islamic traditions and rules, The Independent Online reported.
The Coastal KZN As-Salaam campus in Braemar suspended classes two weeks ago after students protested that those staying in the college dormitories were being forced to study the Qur’an and wear Muslim garb.
While the campus was reopened Tuesday, more than 70 students who had been living in the dormitories were told to find their own off-campus living arrangements.
Those living in the college dormitories had been receiving financial aid from the SA Department of Higher Education and noted that without the assistance they would be unable to pay for their college expenses.
“Now that we have been kicked out of the dormitories, our parents have been forced to pay for rent outside the college. I’m paying R300 a month and I’m sharing the room with 11 other students, and I still have to buy groceries. In the dormitories, I was sharing the room with four people, and the meals were provided by the college,” said a student who studies at the university.
The campus belongs to the Department of Higher Education, which rents the premises to the As-Salaam Institution which promotes Islamic education and religion.
“All we wanted was to be free to practice our own religions and not be forced to follow Islam, but now we have been punished by being deprived of safe accommodation,” the student noted.
“Some of my classmates have not returned to the college as they were concerned about their safety if they live outside the college.”
The head of the Coastal Central further education and training college, Patche Tigere, said that while he was not in a position to talk about the situation, he was working to resolve it.
Higher Education spokeswoman Vuyelwa Qinga said her department was talking with the college management and education officials in the province to resolve the matter.