By: Jenna Kaerek – Staff Writer
The Muslim Student Association is advocating for a larger prayer room, which is currently located on the ground floor of Alumni Hall, as the Muslim student population continues to grow at the University of Dayton.
The group welcomes both Muslim and non-Muslim members, and offers information about the Jumah prayer, where to find halal food, textbooks and places of prayer, according to its Facebook page.
Alumni Hall, according to the 2012 campus master plan, received a $1.5 million renovation funded by bonds and contributions.
The club has already mentioned the problem to UD president Daniel Curran, who according to Hadil Issa, vice president of the group and graduate engineering student, “almost immediately” visited the current prayer room, and arranged the search for a bigger prayer room to satisfy the needs of Muslim students.
Other steps have been taken by Fatema Albalooshi, responsible for the association’s public relations and a fourth year graduate computer engineering student. She spoke in front of the Student Government Association regarding the problem. During its weekly meeting, SGA approved a bill last month to support the Muslim student association in their efforts to find a larger worship space.
Albalooshi said “there are roughly around 500 Muslim students” and this large population leads to the need for a larger prayer room. Albalooshi explained Muslims pray five times a day, which is determined by the movement of the sun. In the winter, when the days are shorter, many of the students have to pray at school, she said. Many of these prayers are group prayers, and because the current room is small it becomes difficult for all of the Muslim students to pray together, she said.
Abdullah Es Selloumi, president of the Muslim student association and a second year law student, said many students feel the current prayer room is too small for their needs. This could be because the current prayer room only holds 15 people, and according to Issa, there are more than 150 students praying each day.
The group is seeking a prayer room in a central location on campus that, in Albalooshi’s opinion is “available to the students 24/7” because of the many prayers throughout the days. Selloumi said he believes the new prayer room should also have a special sink within the room, which is used in Muslim prayer rituals.
“We appreciate what UD provides to us,” Selloumi said. “They do everything to make the student feel comfortable.”
The association expressed gratitude for those on campus who have supported this cause to expand the worship room.
“A thank you is extended out to all of those who have been and will be involved directly or indirectly in making praying on campus more comfortable,” Issa said.
For more information about the group, visit its Facebook page Muslim Student Association At The University of Dayton.