After running a successful online campaign, Temple University’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) announced that it has been offered a new, larger, but temporary prayer space on campus for this spring semester.
With COVID-19 restrictions further limiting their current prayer room’s capacity since Spring of 2020, MSA began a social media campaign last August in pursuit of a larger room.
Muslim students and allies across campus posted pictures and comments using the hashtag #tufighttopray, to bring awareness to the community and to try pressure Temple’s administration into action.
Senior Temple student and Vice President of MSA, Hamza Asif, said the current space they have cannot accommodate their congregational prayers that take place on Friday.
He says “The determining factor is space” and “For Jummah (Friday), we usually have 60-70 students that come. This also includes faculty and staff.”
With a large expected weekly attendance, MSA must book a large room on campus every week, so that they are able to host their group Friday prayers
The current prayer space provided to Muslims on campus can be found inside of The Village, on the third floor of the Howard Gittis Student Center. The room used to hold up to eight people, but with COVID restrictions, the maximum number of people allowed inside at a time is two, given that the pair come from the same family unit – this includes roommates.
Sophomore student Tasniem Abadalla tells us that when she uses the room she feels like she is “stuck in a closet and a bunch of people are lined up to pray at the same time”.
The new temporary space offered to students will be able to accommodate much larger group prayers and iftar gatherings during the holy month of Ramadan. However, the location of this prayer room has not yet been announced.
In an interview with Temple Update, Senior Associate Dean of Students Dr. Chris Carey said this new space is a short-term solution until Temple can provide a long-term, multi-faith prayer space. However, Dr. Carey tells us this will only be possible once the reconstruction of Paley Hall is complete.