More than a dozen students gathered in the Women’s Center Monday to share their experiences as Muslim students at Minnesota State, Mankato.
Those who attended discussed some of the issues they face regarding the shared reflection space next to the Women’s Center, and spoke about interest for a bigger reflection space in an actual room.
“Our voices matter as Muslim students and as a student of faith,” said Tufah Dahir. “We need a place that’s enclosed that is there for anyone who needs a moment to reflect.”
Near the restrooms across from the Women’s Center, the shared space is located in the Centennial Student Union which receives a lot of foot traffic.
“It’s a space out in the open and not really private. Anyone can watch and when us women are praying we are bending down and we feel kind of exposed.” Iqra, a student at MSU, said. “We would like a room that’s enclosed or with a door to reflect in peace.”
Deqo, a student at MSU who lives on campus, said she had a hard time finding a place to pray when she came to the university last semester.
“It took me a while to realize that is all we have. I wasn’t even sure if that was a place to pray because when I walked by it was loud, there’s conferences going on, and they have music playing all the time,” Deqo said. “I thought it was just a place to relax, not pray.
Other institutions she has been to had a specific building for people to reflect and pray.
“Anyone no matter their faith could come and meditate or pray. Here you can’t really do that.” Deqo said. “It is going to be a hard year for me because I live on campus and I want to go to a place to pray with other people.”
Touching on the issues of accessibility, other official places to pray for Muslim students are off campus.
“The closest mosque to campus is a 7-minute drive which is practically a 40-minute walk,” said Majd Alharbi. “I know there are rooms available or not being used. I think scheduling would be a good first step that would be open to any student.”
Header photo: The Reflection Lounge is located next to the Women’s Center in the Centennial Student Union. (Julia Lin/The Reporter)
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