Belfast Telegraph

Muslim students at Queen's University Belfast 'praying in corridors' as they call for dedicated room

Muslim students at Queen's University Belfast have said it won't provide a dedicated multi-faith prayer room and that as a result they have to "pray in corridors" and other public areas.

The students have said they have little alternative but to pray in various quiet secluded areas within Queen's.

They told the BBC that dedicated prayer rooms are available in many other universities and buildings such as hospitals and airports.

Queen's University said it was reviewing its amenities.

Muslim student Nadira Nazir, who is from Malaysia, told the BBC: "If we had a room to ourselves it would be easier for us females, to be honest.

"We have to rush between classes to find any [empty classrooms] available and just go in and do our prayers.

"Sometimes you get students already coming into the class and they see us praying. I am glad for their understanding as they have to wait for us to finish [before] they start their lecture, because we are literally using their class."

In south Belfast the Belfast Islamic Centre has two venues where Muslims can pray. One is located on Rugby Road and Wellington Park but are not connected to Queen's.

QUB Muslim chaplain Dr Ashraf Ahmed said the prayer room or rooms could be used by all denominations.

Queen's University Belfast said a key priority in the Vision 2020 strategy for the University was to "increase the number of international students staying at the University and that a "quiet room" had been created at the Elms halls of residence.

A QUB spokeswoman said: "Religious groups from a range of denominations have facilities for prayer and reflection adjacent to the main campus and these are promoted to students wishing to avail of them.  South Belfast venues for the Belfast Islamic Centre are in 38 Wellington Park and 7 Rugby Road (just behind the McClay Library) – these provide facilities and timetables for prayer 5-6 times daily.

"Within the accommodation at Elms Village, a ‘quiet’ room has been created to be accessible to any user (student or staff) without booking and this has been available since March 2015.  This is not a dedicated multi-faith or prayer room but students may use it for the purpose of prayer if they so wish.

"A key priority in the Vision 2020 Strategy for Queen’s University Belfast is to increase the number of international students studying at the University. Accordingly, the University is currently reviewing all amenities in the context of its Charter and Statutes to ensure that staff and students from all backgrounds have access to appropriate facilities."

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