Is it really a non denominational Prayer room?

PHOTO- Canterbury Muslim Community Trust FB page

New Zealand has quite happily muddled along without prayer room facilities inside secular public places like airports, schools and universities for hundreds of years. Despite this fact, prayer rooms are popping up all over Western nations as Muslim populations increase. At the official opening of the prayer room inside the Christchurch International airport representatives from Muslim, Buddhist, Christian and Hindu communities all performed blessings.

I am sure the new Christchurch International airport facility is being promoted as a prayer room for all religions but there is only one religion that requires special prayer facilities inside secular public buildings that I know of. The representatives of other religions who showed up for the official opening of the prayer room inside the Christchurch International airport are too blinkered to see the truth.

Br Ibrahim Abdelhalim performed the first athan at the airport and Imam Gamal made dua.
Christchurch airport has plans to provide additional prayer facilities in other parts of the airport, such as the international departure lounge in the future insha’allah. They welcome any feedback about the new facilities.

-Canturbury Muslim Community Trust FB page

A little googling revealed a blog that provides locations of “mushola (musollah, musholla) or prayer rooms for Muslims in airports around the world.” It is telling that all the locations are described as being Muslim prayer rooms, not non-denominational prayer rooms or chapels.

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Is the prayer room at Auckland airport really a non-denominational prayer room for everyone or is it just for Muslims? It has its own Facebook page and it is described as being a Prayer room/ religious centre but the photo shows an Islamic prayer mat.

International terminal, 1st Floor – Departure food court, by Mc Donald’s – Sign displayed “MUSLIM PRAYER AREA”

-muslimdirectory.co.nz

I think it is a fair assumption that the prayer rooms in airports around the world are designed to accommodate Muslim needs and any signs or blessing ceremonies that claim otherwise are farcical.

Auckland Airport Prayer room and religious centre PHOTO-facebook

In fact, I would go as far as to say that “Prayer room” is a euphemism for a Muslim space.

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Auckland Airport describes the Muslim Prayer room as a non-denominational chapel for the use of all religions yet the sign inside the Airport reads Muslim Prayer room.

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At Auckland University, Otago University, Auckland AUT and Massey University they haven’t even bothered to pretend that their Prayer rooms are for everyone.

screenshot-Whaleoil

I will bet money that before long the Christchurch International Airport Prayer room will have a sign ( if it doesn’t already) that calls the room what it really is, a Muslim Prayer Room.

AUT has faith rooms (Multifaith Rooms, and Muslim Prayer Rooms) for students and staff to use as places of worship, meditation or for quiet reflection. There are specific guidelines for each of the sacred spaces at AUT.

-aut.ac.nz

If you are wondering why Muslims need their own exclusive space at AUT while other religions are expected to share it is because they enforce gender separatism and need to put men and women in separate rooms. They also require washroom facilities.

Muslim Univer-sity of Otago students (from left) Yassar Alamri (21), from Saudi Arabia, Hikmat Noorebad (24), from Afghanistan, and Musab Hassan (23), from Malaysia, pray in the rooms which have just been assigned to them. Photo by Craig Baxter.


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