Hundreds of students at Queen Mary University prayed jummah prayers outside in the rain yesterday in protest against “inadequate resources” for Muslims on their Mile End campus.
Previously the college’s Islamic Society had been able to book large communal spaces for congregational prayers, but from the start of this academic year students have been told the rooms are unavailable.
Principal Professor Simon Gaskell suggested students attend local mosques for prayers. “We say we’re here to accommodate private acts of worship… like most universities we are very pressed for resources,” said the Principal to the Independent newspaper, adding that the facilities are unavailable due to demand.
However, the Isoc dismisses this claim, saying that they carried out spot checks on rooms they were told were unavailable for booking, only to find them empty. They also say that local mosques are oversubscribed.
Queen Mary Student Union president Sarah Sarwar, supports the campaign. “We really believe it’s the university’s responsibility,” she said. Progress in negotiations has been “positive so far.”
City University students have been experiencing similar issues with the university authorities with jummah prayers being held on the street after the university insisted that khutbas be monitored.