The Muslim Students Association is pushing for a larger prayer space at Mason to accommodate its large Muslim student body
BY MATTHEW KOVACEV, STAFF WRITER
I recently recited my Shahada, the declaration of faith that all reverts to Islam must recite to become Muslim, in the meditation room at the Johnson Center.
It was moving to say the least, with many of my new brothers in faith celebrating the joyous occasion. I was glad to make the first step on my journey as a Muslim here at George Mason.
However, there was a slight issue: the room I recited my Shahada in was very small and rather cramped.
George Mason has a large Muslim population among both students and faculty. The main Muslim RSO on campus, Muslim Students Association (MSA), currently boasts over 1,000 members, which includes both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
With the Muslim population numbering in the thousands, it makes no sense why Muslim students should not have a space to pray aside from a tiny corner of the Johnson Center. That is why MSA is currently garnering support for a larger prayer space on campus.
They currently use rooms in the Johnson Center, HUB, and SUB 1 for Jummah prayer, but this only includes the two afternoon prayers. All other prayers must be conducted either in private or in the cramped meditation room in JC, the same room I took my Shahada in.
An Instagram post by MSA advertises their desire to advocate for a larger prayer space on campus, urging students who happen upon their post to take a survey about the issue.
The survey asks questions such as “Is the meditation/prayer space at GMU important to you?” and “Would you like to see a larger prayer space on campus?” The survey is also open to suggestions for such a prayer space, such as its location and proposed contents.
Many members of Student Government have expressed interest and promoted this push for a larger prayer space, especially Student Senators Zayd Hamid and Noor Abuzinadah.
“I can say that my amazing colleagues, Sen. Abuzinadah and Sen. Shananier, are making great progress together in pushing the initiative,” Senator Hamid said. “They’re coordinating with MSA and their other Senate colleagues to attain the data, networking, and other factors required to make the project a success.”
This not only makes this push more well known, but it also makes it more likely for the Student Government to act on the issue.
I believe that a larger space for prayer, especially for the large Muslim community at Mason, would be beneficial because it will undoubtedly foster a sense of community and increase the happiness and faith of not only Muslim students but other religious groups as well.
As a new Muslim, I cannot wait to pray in a larger space with my new brothers and sisters!