In Changing Times, Ramadan Brings Londoners Together

October 19, 2006


Nagina Chaudhry is delighted that Queen Elizabeth II has allowed her to read 'namaaz' (prayers) at Windsor Castle.

The 19-year-old student, who works in the visitors' shop at the Castle - the preferred residence of the Queen - had asked whether a room could be set aside for her to offer lunchtime prayers during the holy month of Ramadan. The Palace complied, opening a "prayer zone" at Windsor, just outside London, for the first time ever.

"Miss Chaudhry made a request for somewhere to pray. During Ramadan if she wants to use this office for praying then that's fine. We are an equal opportunities employer and we do our best to facilitate any requests made by our employees," said a spokesperson.

During the months when it is not used as prayer chamber, the room at Windsor will continue to function as an office. Similar facilities already exist for Muslims at Buckingham Palace, the Queen's main residence in London. Chaudhry is delighted that her courage has led to her request being granted.

"The Queen is the head of the Church of England so it's great to know she respects other people's faith. I think I'm the only Muslim who works here so I feel special knowing they've made such an effort for me."

The "prayer zone" offered to Chaudhry is seen as proof by analysts that, while the aftermath of the July 2005 London terrorist attacks has brought many negative changes in Muslim-Christian relations, there are also positive signs.