Queen Mary University prayer dispute resolved

Queen Mary University

Queen Mary University in London has resolved its dispute with Muslim students over prayer facilities on campus.

Hundreds of students have been praying jummah prayers in the open air in protest against “inadequate resources” for Muslims on their Mile End campus.

But after a campaign by the universities’s Islamic Society (ISoc) and student union a compromise has been reached.

Video footage of the students’ protest can be seen here:


Queen Mary ISoc said: “By the grace of Allah SWT and with His mercy, we were successful in highlighting the need for an adequate venue to the university.

“In talks with Principal Simon Gaskell, we have agreed the following … The ISoc will be able to book either The Octagon or The Great Hall for the Friday prayers, subject to them being available.

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“Venue availability will be confirmed on the Wednesday of every week, after which ISoc will promptly inform its membership of the venue for the Friday prayers that week, via Facebook etc.

“In the event that both large venues are fully booked, Friday prayers will be held in the MFC rooms. Brothers will use their usual room, and sisters will use theirs. The Blomeley Rooms on the Ground Floor of the SU Hub will be used as an overspill space for brothers, in order to accommodate for the numbers;

“The ISoc, alongside QMSU, will continue to lobby the university extensively to incorporate the Friday prayers into the bookings timetable for the next academic year, which will ensure the availability of that facility on a more permanent basis.

Queen Mary University has yet to confirm the news but just a few weeks they said they could not provide special facilities.

A spokesperson said: “Space is limited and our priority is to provide lecture and seminar rooms for our 18,000 students. It is not feasible, nor within our educational remit, to make a permanent commitment to provide facilities for large congregational assemblies of 400-500 people.

“We have a multi-faith centre, in our new £5m student hub, providing prayer and washing facilities for all faith groups on campus. On Fridays these spaces are booked for Jumu’ah. We are also a five-minute walk from four local mosques and under a mile from the East London Mosque, one of the largest in the UK.

“This semester, the Great Hall and Octagon are booked and used for teaching and exams on Fridays until mid-afternoon. On occasion, the teaching may finish early, but it varies week to week. Both are in high demand and there would often be a need to remove more than 200 tables and chairs, which would take at least an hour to provide a space suitable for prayers.”

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