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Permanent Prayer Room for Muslims at FIU

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Islam is one of the three major religions of the world. It is a monotheistic religion that obligates all Muslims to perform certain mandatory duties, one of which is prayer. Muslim prayer is based on a lunar calendar, which causes the timings for the five daily prayers to vary between 5:00 am to 12:00 midnight. Each prayer must be performed within a limited time frame and completed prior to the next prayer time. The prayers can occur in a group or in an individual manner; the group prayer is preferred and more vocal. The prayer includes bowing and prostrating to Allah (God), and reciting from the scripture, the Qur’an. On Fridays, the Muslim holy day, congregational prayer is mandatory.

Due to these various facets of Muslim prayer, having access to a Muslim prayer room (musallah) on campus would eliminate the problems that Muslims face in observing this mandatory act of worship. There are at least 400 known Muslim students, faculty and staff at FIU. The Muslim Student Association at FIU has recieved a number of constant requests for a place to pray from its members. In between our hectic schedules of going to class and/or working at FIU, Muslims try to look for clean and quiet places to pray. Our prayers are held at certain times during the day, so they cannot be delayed. Usually, classrooms are taken up and empty rooms are booked by different organizations. Students often find themselves running late to classes in trying to fulfill this obligatory duty. Some are even being forced to choose between missing class time and missing prayer. Thus, it is difficult and nearly impossible for Muslims to have immediate or direct access to a location for prayer.

The Muslim Student Association at FIU has tried several times over the years to book a permanent room on the third floor of the Graham Center and a room in the Wolfe University Center in order for us to be able to pray, but have been denied. We understand that the staff of GC does not have the authority to grant us this because they ask that every semester we book a room. Through the booking process, however, we are not guaranteed a room every day and come into complications such as having different room numbers on sparsely- spaced, random days. These different rooms must then be communicated to the Muslim population at FIU. This is difficult and inefficient in that it does not reach every one or reaches the Muslim body too late for the rooms to be of any use.

We therefore request Florida International University to provide a prayer room that is permanent for all Muslims - faculty, staff, and students at FIU - so that we do not conflict with events, meetings, and classes that are held in GC and WUC. In this manner, we seek to make things convenient for non-Muslims as well. We are confident that our University, which has proven itself adept at providing the needs of different interests, will consider this proposal and provide a much-needed prayer room for Muslims.

This petition will be sent (in person and e-mail format) to Florida International University by March 5, 2010. If you support our efforts to provide a prayer room for Muslims, please add your signature below.


Muslim Student Association at Florida International University

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