Ever since 2001, TU/e has had a meditation room meant for anyone in need of a moment of peace and quiet or contemplation. Unfortunately, De Hal is shortlisted for demolition, due to which the area had to close last September 1.
On the sixth floor of the Hoofdgebouw, two new prayer rooms have now opened their doors, right across from the elevator and in the vicinity of two bathrooms and a washbasin – the latter is important for Muslims, with regards to the ritual purification prior to prayer.
The rooms were arranged by the Education and Student Service Center (STU) and decorated with the help of Mosaic, says Mehmet Imamoğlu of the multicultural student association. Main jobs were arranging hot water through Real Estate Management and fixing the floor. “We kneel during prayer, so our heads touch the ground”, says Imamoğlu, Master student of Real Estate Management and Development at Built Environment. “The floors need to be clean and preferably have soft furnishings.” A store owner on the Woenselse Markt helped out and donated several carpets and new prayer rugs to decorate the rooms with.
Another things that had to be taken into account was qibla, the direction that should be faced during Islamic prayers. This ‘Mekka line’ is drawn on the wall diagonally, says Imamoğlu. Real Estate Management put up screens to separate people praying from passersby. The prayer rooms are connected; the one room can only be accessed via the other, and otherwise passersby would have to pass in front of the prayers.
According to Imamoğlu, the prayer room in De Hal attracted thirty to sixty students per prayer. It’s mostly Indonesians and Pakistani who use the facility, but you’ll also find TU/e and Fontys students from Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Somalia, Bosnia, and China using the area.
In De Hal the prayer room was close to the ICTheek and library, so many students who wanted to pray were already in the building to study anyway. Imamoğlu isn’t sure how many students will frequent the new prayer rooms in the Hoofdgebouw.