Prayer room provides outlet for interfaith students

Rosy Perez

Prayer room provides outlet for interfaith students

As we all know, Texas Wesleyan is a school of many cultures and different beliefs.

Mohammed Khalid M. Alshafei, president of the Saudi Students Club at Wesleyan, had a meeting in 2012 with President Frederick Slabach asking for a prayer room to be provided as prayer is very important for the Saudi culture.

It is quite common for Saudi students to pray about five times a day, three of those times during classes or school.

“The reasons for this (prayer room) are twofold,” said Rev. Dr. Robert K. Flowers, Wesleyan chaplain. “One, to show hospitality to our foreign students and, two, our campus needs to be open and tolerant of other faith traditions whether it is Islam, Hindu, Jewish, or otherwise.”

The prayer room was established in 2012 and is located in the Morton Fitness Center.

The prayer room also has to face toward the Ka’ba shrine in Mecca for Islamic observances, according to www.religionfacts.com.

Another thing the Islamic students perform before praying is the washing of hands and feet.

“We have to be cleaned before we pray,” said Alshafei. “We believe that when we pray, we will be between the hands of God.”

Islamic pray starts in the standing position and moves through several postures and ends with the taslima (greeting) meaning “Peace be upon you,” according to religionfacts.com.

When talking to Alshafei, he indicated many of his friends and classmates use the prayer room.

Currently, students who use the prayer room wash their hands and feet in the bathrooms of the Morton Fitness Center but the question of whether or not a different area should be used has come up in recent conversations.