You can see the sign: the Campus Fire Marshal orders the area to remain clear at all times. And underneath, a festive “Happy Eid” sign. Why there? Because that is where Muslims pray on campus at the University of California Irvine:
You can see the “This Area Is to Remain Clear At All Times” sign in the upper right, partially obscured by the tree. So if the Fire Marshal wants the area to remain clear at all times, why are Muslims praying there? Could it be that the University of California Irvine, which just adopted a divestment from Israel resolution reminiscent of Nazi calls to boycott Jewish shops, has quietly set aside this outdoor, public, conspicuous space for Muslim prayer (so that the Muslim presence on campus would be asserted far more effectively than it would be in an indoor prayer room), and had the Fire Marshall issue his decree so that non-Muslims wouldn’t defile the mosque with their presence? (Non-Muslims are forbidden to enter mosques unless invited in for proselytizing purposes.)
Certainly the Muslims are unconcerned about the Fire Marshal’s order, and consider the space so permanently theirs that they posted prayer times under the restricted area sign:
The Muslim Brotherhood-linked Muslim Student Association is pushing campuses nationwide to make special accommodation for Muslim students. It looks as if at the University of California Irvine they’ve succeeded spectacularly.
(Photos thanks to D.)
UPDATE: My informant at UCI has sent me more information:
1) About two years ago I entered this area (there was no Fire Marshal sign). I was approached by members of the MSU and asked to leave the area (they didn’t come close to me)… They signaled me and I pretended not to understand. So one of them came closer and told me it was a prayer area and asked me to leave.
2) On Monday [name removed] phoned the UC Irvine Fire Marshal (at my request). We wanted to make sure they had placed the sign (they had). They claimed it was put up four years ago (untrue).
3) They told her that there are many such signs around campus and this area (untrue).
4) They told her they do not enforce the signs! (true)
5) Today [name removed] walked Ring Road (area). He found no other area with Fire Marshal signs.
6) This area also has a patio (benches / to eat and a vending machine). The “Sisters” usually sit at the tables (a few feet from prayer).