Muslim Prayer Update – 27 June 2014

In close consultation with the Union of UEA Students, the chaplains and the UEA
Islamic Society, the university has carefully explored all options for providing
appropriate facilities for Islamic prayer in the new academic year.

In order to meet the needs of a developing campus, a new teaching building is
planned on the site of the current Islamic Prayer Centre. The existing temporary
building will therefore be removed this summer.

The university chaplains originally proposed that space for Islamic individual and
congregational worship could be found within the Multi-faith Centre (MFC), but there
was found to be insufficient space.

The university will therefore provide two new temporary locations for Islamic prayer
with effect from the end of August 2014, for a period of 1-2 years. The university is
committed to ensuring that there is no break in provision, except during one week in
August when the fixtures and fittings will be transferred to the new locations.

Friday prayers

The main hall at Blackdale (the building behind the INTO building) will be available
for prayers for staff and students on Fridays from 12-3pm following remodelling work
to create separate male and female entrances and washing facilities. Appropriate
adjustments have been discussed in detail with the Islamic Society, Muslim chaplain
and Students’ Union.

The hall will be available for Islamic prayers on Fridays throughout the year, including
vacations, with the exception of the exam period April–June when exams will take
place in the main hall. For this period, suitable temporary provision will be made for
Islamic prayer, in consultation with the Muslim student representatives, Students’
Union and Muslim chaplain.

Daily prayers
The university will remodel three rooms on the lower floor of the lecture theatre block,
currently known as the ‘Green Room’, ‘Library Store’ and ‘AV Training Room’. By
knocking these rooms together, one long prayer space will be created, with male and
female entrances at either end. New washing facilities for males and females will be
provided. Cardax will be installed on both entrances, permitting swipe card access to
staff and student users. The new room will be open during lecture theatre block
opening hours: 8am–10pm, Monday to Friday. Appropriate adjustments, including the
transfer of shoe racks, book shelves and screen have been discussed in detail with
the Islamic Society, Muslim chaplain and Students’ Union.

In the longer term, the university intends to incorporate the requirement for a
permanent home for a university Islamic prayer centre into its strategic space
planning. Consultation with Muslim student representatives, the Students’ Union and
the Muslim chaplain will be carried out before further changes are made.

The current consultation and discussion process between the university and
interested parties has proceeded in a very constructive and helpful way. The
university is very grateful for the input of all stakeholders.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof Neil Ward said: “I am very pleased that we have been able
to find a way to continue suitable provision for Islamic prayer and I appreciate the
invaluable help of the Students’ Union and ISOC representatives in this process.”

Students’ Union Community and Student Rights Officer Bintu Foday said: “We’re
thrilled that through positive dialogue and partnership working, we’ve found a way
forward for prayer on campus. Muslim students have always felt welcomed at UEA
and through this work they will continue to be so.”

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