By Rachel Cywinski
LOGOS STAFF WRITER
Thanks to the addition of an Interfaith Prayer Room, Muslim students no longer have to stand between bookshelves in the library during daily prayer times.
The Rev. Dr. Trevor Alexander, director of ecumenical initiatives for University Mission and Ministry, said Room 55 in the Administration Building’s basement is his response to needs expressed during the formation of the Interfaith Council five years ago.
The room, which includes a sofa and prayer mat for now, provides “a sanctuary where people of all faiths and religious traditions may retreat for prayer, meditation and spiritual activities,” Alexander said. There are plans to add bookshelves and a table. And the room will be painted in some new color other than white.
Amira Alsareinye, a peer minister for University Mission and Ministry and member of the Islamic faith, said she and a former student prayed between bookshelves in J.E. and L.E. Mabee Library.
Alsareinye said she had been using Our Lady Chapel’s sacristy to pray but an incident caused her to request a more private place.
“I was standing in the sacristy,” Alsareinye said. “There was light coming through the window behind me and I was wearing all white. Someone confused me for the Virgin Mary.”
“The Interfaith Prayer Room fulfills our mission,” Alexander said. “Providing a place for someone to pray demonstrates that we are truly a welcoming community that is interested in the spiritual growth and development of all people. The room is open to all people of faith. However, the room is not a study room [except for] some form of religious study.
“[Because] UIW is a diverse university, it is important that we have a safe place for people to meditate or just to be quiet. The Prayer Room (once completed) will have sacred texts and objects from the five major world religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. These sacred texts can be used by groups or individuals, but may not be removed from the Prayer Room without proper authorization.”
The Interfaith Prayer Room in AD 55 is available for university community members to schedule regular events
. It is reserved for Islamic prayer sessions seven days a week from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 5 p.m., and for “laughter yoga” on Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to noon.
At other times, the key for the room is available in AD 147. The room can be reserved in advance by sending a message to Ministry@uiwtx.edu