Minnesota Mall sets aside prayer room for Muslims, violence thwarted

The accommodation continues as the Muslim population reaches higher levels in states such as Minnesota.  Here is a report (Hat tip: Janet) that tells us that a special prayer room has been set up at the Mall of America.  Will footbaths be next?

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – On the day Muslims around the world began to celebrate Eid al-Adha, Fatuma Mohamed was at the Mall of America (MOA), far away from where she would normally say her prayers.

But she and other Muslims needed to take time from the activities of the mall and find a quiet area to pray as Muslims do during the festival that commemorates Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his only son for God.

Here is my first question.   If this was such an important holy day for Muslims, why was shopping so important?  “Activities of the mall” were so pressing they couldn’t stay home?   Don’t most of us spend time at homes of family and friends or at houses of worship on important religious holidays?

This year Muslim leaders from the Twin Cities area were able to persuade MOA, the largest enclosed mall in the United States, to set aside a room for prayers.

Will the Mall of America set up prayer rooms for Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, even Wiccans next?   I doubt it.

The end of this article was actually much more interesting than the prayer room accommodation.   The MOA obviously expected violence on this very very important (where prayer is essential) Islamic religious day. 

Sheikh Neelain Muhammad, an imam at the St.Paul-based Da’wa Islamic Center, and five other volunteers from the center were among the many volunteers who were at the mall to make sure that day went on without incidents, especially from teenagers.

Reynolds, the MOA security director, said that community volunteers were very helpful.

“At one point, Sheikh Neelain Muhammad and his team were spotted talking to the youth and telling them to behave … and so, they did.”

The presence of culturally competent volunteers at the mall avoided the law enforcement solution that often leads to the arrest of Muslim youths.

“No one youth that was acting out that didn’t change after we talked with him or her,” Sheikh Muhammad said.

Mahmood Kanyare, one of the community volunteers, said the volunteers reminded the youth about good manners in Islam.

“They were all responsive to our messages and behaved well as a result,” Kanyare said.

The day ended with a positive note for both MOA and the Muslim community. No one was arrested and only few were asked to leave.

I bet the Muslim leaders told the MOA, give us a prayer room and we will make sure our youths cause no trouble.

Wake up folks, as immigration increases the number of Muslims in the US, this is going to happen in your town too especially as we have so many chickens in charge of places like the Mall of America.

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