Tennessee Lawmakers Worry New Mop Sink Is for Muslim Foot Washing

You'd think they'd have more pressing concerns.


After the Tennessee State Capitol got a $16 million makeover in December, some members of the Congress were curious why a utility sink, formerly mounted on the wall, was moved to the floor.

Some wondered, was it a sink for Muslims to wash their feet before praying?

Senate Clerk Russell Humphrey told the Associated Press that a House and Senate member approached him about the sink, though he wouldn’t name the members. Republican Senator Bill Ketron confirmed that he was one of the members to approach Humphrey about the sink after Republican Congressman Judd Matheny told Keltron of his concerns. When reached by the AP, Matheny, however, denied the accusation, saying: “I don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s not ringing a bell.”

Lawmakers were then assured that the sink was just a mop sink.

According to the AP, Legislative Administration Director Connie Ridley wrote in an email:

I confirmed with the facility administrator for the State Capitol Complex that the floor-level sink installed in the men’s restroom outside the House Chamber is for housekeeping use … It is, in layman’s terms, a mop sink.

Ketron and Matheny have in the past sponsored legislation to ban people from following certain parts of Shariah law. They might be surprised to find that several religions, as the AP pointed out, including some Christians, practice ritual purification and cleanse their feet. 




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Alyssa Figueroa is an associate editor at AlterNet.