Muslim students and staff spoke about strength they draw from DMU’s prayer room at a special event organised by users.
DMU’s prayer room in Portland Building is used by thousands of Muslims every week including staff, students and city residents, making it one of the largest on any campus in the UK.
The Imam, Mohammed Laher and Mohamed Yaseen Kassam, chair of the Muslim Prayer Room Advisory Group, welcomed guests including DMU chief operating officer Ben Browne, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Strategic and International Partnerships James Gardner, along with staff from The Race Equality Centre in Leicester, Leicester City Football Club and DMU Square Mile to the event.
Guests learned more about the Muslim faith, hearing the call to prayer, passages from the Quran and testimonials from students and staff about the importance of the prayer room to their daily life at DMU. They also saw a demonstration of one cycle of prayer, led by the Imam.
Students also spoke about the support they receive from having the prayer room on campus. Saudi Arabian students Basma Sabbath and Ali Alqahtani both said it had helped their studies. Basma said: "Prayers give us energy to face life and our studies.”
Head of DMU’s Islamic Society Mohamed Izagaren, added: “The prayer room is welcoming and somewhere we know we can come to whenever we need to.”
Amir Mahmood, who began worshipping at the prayer room when he was a student five years ago, is now part of the team who run DMU Square Mile India. Prayer room users helped raise nearly £900 in just a few hours after hearing of the project’s work – one of the most successful fundraisers ever.
Amir said: “The prayer room has been important to me ever since I first visited on open day and I know it is a big part of the life of students across the university.”
DMU has students from more than 130 countries. The Imam, Mohammed Laher said: “DMU recently launched #LoveInternational campaign and the DMU Prayer Room is testament to this with 3,000 DMU Muslim students from various backgrounds, denominations and countries come together to worship and reflect individually or collectively.
“The annual celebration of Eid is a time of happiness and generosity, which this year occurred during the holiday period where many students were not at campus. However, happiness, generosity and making connections is not restricted to this occasion only, rather recommended throughout the year.”
The Imam said the invitation was in three parts: DMU students and staff appreciating their support; the #DMU Local team who brought colleagues from Leicester City Football Club and The Race Equality Centre in Leicester; and finally the Square Mile India team which will be presenting £500 worth of donations from prayer room users for a meal to be distributed at the next Square Mile India visit later this month. The money will go towards the cost of a feast for children and families of the Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
The Imam said: “On behalf of the Prayer Room users, we would like to offer our appreciation to our Professor Dominic Shellard, Ben Browne, and James Gardner and all our colleagues who have supported us and continue to do so. All the best.”
Mr Browne and Mr Gardner thanked the prayer room advisory group for the opportunity to visit, enjoy lunch and chat to users.
Mr Browne said that he regarded the prayer room as “a force for good” at DMU while Mr Gardener added: “I know that this is one of the best and most successful prayer rooms in any university. I thank you for the charitable and community work you do.”
Posted on Friday 14th October 2016