OUSU back Muslim prayer room

first_img“There are certainly enough Muslim students at Oxford University to ensure that good use would be made of a prayer room both for congregational prayers and other activities including study circles and inter-faith discussion groups.”82 other higher education institutions provide a prayer room for Muslim students.The University’s Equality and Diversity Mission Statement states that its objective is to allow students to reach their “full potential” and to “remove any barriers which might deter people of the highest potential and ability from applying to Oxford, either as staff or students”.Speaking in the meeting, Ali suggested that the lack of a central prayer room might be a concern for prospective students. He said, “We actually get asked quite a lot by potential students if we have a prayer room”. Students at the meeting raised the question of whether college chapels could be used as Muslim prayer rooms.Andrew Gregory, University College chaplain, commented, “Most college chaplains are happy for people of all faiths and none to use their chapels in a range of ways. But most Muslims (and indeed other faiths) would not wish to use a Christian chapel beacuse of the religious imagery that it contains.”“I would be very surprised if with a little imagination a space could not be found within the University that could be used as a large prayer space at certain times – and that would be a jolly good thing”.Ali added in his speech to Council that students of other faiths seem to have more central provisions for worship.Robbie Strachan, a student in the Christian Union, commented, “Christians believe that everyone, regardless of religious background, should have the freedom and provision to seek God and carefully investigate who He is. As such, the question of “fairness” is really a non- issue.“I am delighted that there are so many devout Muslims in Oxford who aregenuinelypursuingarelationship with God, and I pray they will be blessed as they do so.”A spokesperson for the University said, “The provision of facilities for religiousobservancesisachallenging issue in any University, particularly one as disparate as Oxford where provision for such facilities is distributed across the University and the Colleges.“The University takes issues surrounding faith provision very seriously and wants to make sure that wherever possible appropriate facilities are provided for students and staff in Oxford.”“Working with the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, the University has made some facilities available for Muslim students and this arrangement will continue. A group of senior University officers are currently looking at options for improved faith facilities.” OUSU has given its support to the Islamic Society’s campaign for the University to provide a prayer room for Muslim students.In a meeting on Wednesday night OUSU Council heard that currently the 70-80 members of the Oxford University Islamic Society have to go to either the Centre for Islamic Studies, which closes at 5pm, or to a mosque in Cowley to perform their required five daily congregational prayers.Adam Ali of Green Templeton College, and Liban Saleh of New College, proposed the motion, which asked for the support of the student body for the general idea of having a Muslim prayer room. It did not contain any details about the location or cost of the room.The motion passed unanimously and the issue will now be taken to the University Proctors for further consideration.Saleh, who is President of the Islamic Society, and Ali issued a joint statement to Cherwell outlining their reasons for launching the campaign.“As Muslims it is a requirement of our faith that we pray five times per day. Having a prayer room on the main campus, something that over 80 different higher education institutions around the country already have, would make it much easier for students to complete their prayers and avoid rushing back to their rooms to pray in between lectures.last_img read more