ABILENE, Texas - For Muslim students, it can be difficult to balance going to classes with praying at five set times a day, as required by Islam.
That’s why Sultan Albogami, a freshman at McMurry University, said he requested a prayer room on campus. He said the room would not only provide a place of worship, but it would also be a place that welcomes conversation.
“This is part of our identity, we just pray as people do in other religions," Albogami said. “I think what people hear about Islam is different then what Islam is.”
The prayer room Albogami describes is small, but it can fit up to 30 of the 50 Muslim students who attend the university. McMurry’s chaplain, Jeff Lust, said when school administrators were first approached with the idea, they thought it was their Christian responsibility to be hospitable.
"I think it's a step in the right direction, we anticipate over time we’ll have students from a variety of countries and possibly different religions," Lust said. "We need to learn to live and work together in this world that is increasingly diverse and then we can truly become better together."
Albogami says he hopes the prayer room will also help spread awareness about his religion and break down the stigma against Muslims.
"It's just about peace and whenever you meet someone, you just say peace be upon you," Albogami said. “It's so sad that it's gotten to this point that some people have to explain to others, they are not different from them you know."
Albogami said he hopes the students can find an even bigger room to worship for Friday night prayer.
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