The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

MSA still fighting for bigger prayer space

A student religious group has been making efforts for a larger room for their activities as well as for prayer.

The Muslim Students Association said they have been working on getting a larger room than where they are currently, in the University Center. The group said that the space was too small for meetings and prayer, known as Jumu’ah, on Fridays. The prayer is a requirement for men of the Islam faith.  

Amina Sanders, the president of MSA, said that progress has been made as far as getting a new room for next year.

Sanders said that about a month ago MSA met with several administrators, including their advisor, Nashia Whittenburg, associate director of Multicultural Affairs. Sanders said the group provided a Powerpoint  presentation to discuss some of the issues. Of the meeting, she said progress had been made but MSA’s location for next year is still uncertain.

In an email, Sanders said that the organization will not be located in the University Center because of construction and new departments moving there. “However, we are still unsure where we will be next fall,” Sanders said.

Whittenburg, who is the advisor to cultural and religious groups, said that there was no other information to be provided at this time.  Other administrators were reached out to, but were unable to comment.

Currently, Sanders too said she could not provide further information about what was discussed or what the requirements were to move a group to another room.

MSA’s effort for a larger room or a new location was also brought up in a Town Hall Meeting with Father Harrington and other administrators. Sanders brought the matter before the panel and was reassured that the issue was one of Student Life’s top priorities.

Noshee Mahmood, a sophomore and member of MSA, explained some of the significance behind Jumu’ah. Jumu’ah is a communal prayer on Fridays and a mandatory requirement for men. While women may go to the mosque and participate, she said the responsibility was primarily on men. She said women’s primary goal is caring for children and household while the men are at the mosque praying.

“Women can go too, but it’s no mandatory for us to pray in the mosque itself for the Friday prayer,” Mahmood said.   

Mahmood said the size of MSA’s current room could not accommodate the amount of students who are members. She said the room can usually hold only half the amount of members.

As Muslims pray sitting down, she said it requires even more space. Mahmood also said men and women being separated for the prayer poses an even larger problem.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

We love comments and feedback, but we ask that you please be respectful in your responses.
All The Torch Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *