A University of Guelph student association is apologizing after basins used by Muslim students to cleanse themselves before prayer were allegedly urinated in during an event on campus.

The Guelph Engineering Society said the incident happened on March 31 during its annual Engineering Banquet at Peter Clark Hall. A wudu room, reserved for Muslim students to wash in preparation for prayer, was nearby.

During the banquet, several male attendees allegedly entered the wudu room and urinated in wash basins. Students enroute from the wudu room to the prayer room could hear the banquet guests “speaking of their offensive intentions towards the space,” president of the Guelph Engineering Society Grace Ly said in a statement issued April 13.

“When I was informed of what occurred during the event I was shocked, appalled and later ashamed to represent students of this behaviour,” Ly said.

Fauzia Mazhar with the Coalition of Muslim Women K-W calls the alleged incident “very very disturbing.”

In Islam, urine is seen as unclean and those who go to the bathroom during prayer have to cleanse again before returning, said Mazhar.

“When it comes to a Muslim prayer space, there’s double the problem,” Mazhar said. "First it’s desecrated, then it’s by urine.”

Mazhar wants to know whether the incident was targeted.

“Was it intentional in its nature to disrespect a place that is a Muslim prayer space,” she questioned. “Because that's what we call Islamophobia.”

The University of Guelph said it is aware of “troubling reports” that a wudu facility was desecrated during a campus event and an investigation is underway.

“As U of G leaders, we are angry, upset, and disappointed to hear of this disturbing situation... we remind all students, faculty and staff to treat each other with kindness and respect,” the statement from the university said in part.

The Muslim Students’ Association at the University of Guelph said it would not comment as the investigation is ongoing, but said in an email, “Muslims should not feel targeted nor unsafe on the University of Guelph campus following this incident.”

The Guelph Police Service said it is not involved in the investigation at this time, saying it's in the hands of the university.