Muslims Seek Prayer Space

March 25, 2007

Author: Naureen Khan

Source: The Chronicle

Though many Duke students look to the stately grandeur of the Duke Chapel or the sleek design of the Freeman Center for Jewish Life as their designated places of worship, the space allotted to the University's Muslim population is far less visible and a little more subterranean.

Tucked away in the basement of the Bryan Center, Room 0045-labeled the "Muslim Students Association Prayer Room"-is the only stable place of gathering for Muslims on campus.

Equipped with a few prayer rugs, sparsely decorated with framed verses of the Quran on the wall and plagued by a recent ant infestation, the office-sized space is visited throughout the day by Muslim students looking to pray and socialize.

In some ways, the prayer room is similar to the presence of the Muslim population on campus in general-a little more under the radar than other religions and, in the view of many Muslim students, in need of room to grow.

Unlike other religious denominations that have a network of faculty and staff support, the center of Islamic religious life on campus revolves around the activities of the Muslim Students Association, said senior Sayed Zaman, president of the organization.