Muslim Students Given Prayer Space

February 25, 2009

Author: Allison Rudd

Source: Otago Daily Times

Their new prayer spaces might be small and austere, but the 200-300 Muslim students at the University of Otago do not mind. They are just pleased to have been given a private place to say their daily prayers after more than six years of asking.

Muslims must pray five times a day and, for many students, the mosque in Clyde St was too far away, Muslim Student Association president Musab Hassan said.

Until now, students had prayed "anywhere and everywhere", including the library, lecture rooms, tutorial rooms and libraries. While other students were generally comfortable about Muslims praying nearby, it was good to have a defined area to go to, he said.

"Our prayers involve standing and kneeling, so we are quite pleased to have somewhere to go to do that. We've been waiting many years."

The university administration has made available a compact suite of rooms in the basement of the music department. While men and women prayed in the same room at the mosque, each gender had been allocated its own room at the university, Mr Hassan, a medical student, said. Another room had been set aside as a multi-faith meditation area.