Wisconsin: Muslim students, others welcome ‘reflection room’ at MATC

5431b56628b8b.image-2Sahra Mohamud takes a break between classes for prayer in Madison Area Technical College’s “reflection room.” The former office in the main building of the Truax Campus was dedicated last year as a place for students to pray — or just be alone in the quiet.

Beyond classwork and homework, Maryan Mohamud’s daily life at Madison Area Technical College includes another activity equally important to her: prayer. A Muslim, she prays five times a day.

She, her sister Sahra, and other Muslim students at MATC used to scramble at prayer hours, searching for an empty office, a quiet spot in the library or even hurrying home and hurrying back, often to find parking lots without a spot open. The situation was ideal for no one. A small movement was born.

“We talked to (student) senators,” she said. “Can you please get us a place to pray?”

A petition, meetings with administrators, an issue paper and other efforts finally paid off last year with a “reflection room” being dedicated next to the school’s student life office in the main Truax Campus building, 1701 Wright St.

“This was several years in the making,” said Renee Alfano, director of student life, who supported the effort. “It has finally come to reality.”

Alfano said the room is open to all in the college community. Users sign up at the student life office and give over their college ID card while they’re in the room. Two people of the same sex can use it at a time.

Alfano said the room has become an oasis not just for Muslim students but for others with autism, post-traumatic stress disorder and mental illness. They need a spot away from the bustle of campus, she said, to ease stress…

Stop being a weasel, Alfano.  This was for Muslims and Muslims only.  The rest of the people did not request it and managed without a “reflection room” for many decades.

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