Nieuws - 8 maart 2007

‘I always carry a compass so I can find Mecca’

Many students continue practising their religion during their stay in Wageningen. It can take a while to find out where to go in the beginning, but if you keep your eyes open you’ll find opportunities for prayer and meditation.

Hindus can pray fairly easily in their room and practise their religion more privately, as it is customary to have a shrine with a photo or a statue at home. If a visit is required to a temple, the nearest one is the Shree Raam Mandeer in Wijchen, near Nijmegen.
For Muslims it is harder to find suitable facilities, because they have to pray five times a day, so also during working hours. However, there is a room set aside in the Biotechnion for Muslim people to pray (next to room C62), which was formerly used for nursing mothers.
Mohammad and Ismail, two students who work in the Biotechnion, find it makes things easy. ‘For us it is really practical. We have a clean room to pray in and it is a little more private,’ Ismail explains. ‘Yes, it’s very nice,’ Muhammad agrees, ‘A friend told me about the room and it is very convenient. I always have a small rug and a compass with me for finding the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, so in theory I can pray anywhere. But that’s not necessary with this arrangement.’
The room is very small, with a rug, two chairs and a table. ‘But there’s enough space as usually there are only three of us who pray here,’ Mohammed adds. ‘If there are more people we pray in groups, after each other.’
The room is fine for during the week from Monday to Thursday, but on Fridays, the Muslim holy day, they have to go to a mosque. Wageningen has its own mosque in the Nude and most practising Muslims go there on Friday.