Top University Removes Prayer Space Without Warning

Students at the University of East Anglia, protesting about the removal of the only on campus prayer space, took their Friday prayer session in a public university square last week.

On the eve of Ramadan, students were told the space was being taken away due to lack of space during exam season.  The space has been turned into a permanent corridor to the university’s library.

Speaking to the Independent a spokesperson from the UEA Islamic Society said: “We are shocked and appalled that the University, who re-located us… on the condition that they would investigate a permanent solution which they have failed to produce, would take away our only prayer spaces during exam period and before Ramadan”.

“They have done this without consulting or telling any Muslim Students or the Student Union”.

“All we want is to pray in peace and in cohesion at UEA but after years of being bumped around campus, being the only faith forced to use our campus cards to access our prayer space and now finding out by accident that our prayer space is being permanently taken away, UEA does not feel like a space for Muslims.”

Over the past few years, Muslim students at the university have used a lecture theatre for prayer and worship. The larger Friday worship sessions take place at a separate location by the Blackdale student residences.

Since Sunday they have had no designated prayer space, a move students say they had not been invited to discuss.

The university is now drawing up plans to expand in order to recruit 20% more students.  Prayer space has been included in the plans but students have complained that it is too small for the existing number of Muslin students, nevermind an expanded cohort.

A UEA spokesperson said the Vice Chancellor would be meeting with students imminently to discuss the matter.

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