QUB review after Muslims call for prayer space

Queen's University said there were prayer facilities 'adjacent' to the main campus
Queen's University said there were prayer facilities 'adjacent' to the main campus

Queen’s University Belfast is currently reviewing its facilities, amid claims that Muslim students have no proper space on campus to worship.

The south Belfast-based university said it was examining its amenities as part of a wider bid to attract more international students.

But it also pointed out that there are a number of locations in the south of the city where Muslims could go to pray, after the BBC quoted some students calling for a dedicated prayer room.

Nadira Nazir from Malaysia told the broadcaster: “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.”

Ahmed Amer from the Queen’s Muslim Society was quoted as saying that such facilities “are provided by all universities across England, pretty much, and in the Republic of Ireland. The Ulster University has them”.

The Qur’an, Islam’s holy book, asks Muslims to pray to God five times each day.

Often this is done in a mosque or a dedicated place of worship. But if no such place is available, then prayers can be performed anywhere.

Queen’s issued a statement saying: “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.”

Belfast Islamic Centre (not connected with the university) has facilities in Rugby Road and Wellington Park, while at Elms Student Village a “quiet room” can be used for prayer.

Queen’s added “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”.