Muslim students pray in the rain after Queen Mary University denies them access to facilities

Friday prayers conducted outdoors after QMUL claims usual rooms are unavailable

Hundreds of students at Queen Mary University in London, braved the rain today to pray outside, in protest against what they claim is inadequate resources for Muslims on their Mile End campus.

It was their second 'prayer protest' in two weeks, with the student union counting 350 demonstrators last Friday.

Muslims account for 20 per cent of the student body, according to Islamic Society representatives.

Previously, the college's 20-year-old Islamic Society had been able able to book several large communal spaces for congregational Friday 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 the mass prayer, and denied any change in policy.

"We say we're here to accommodate private acts of worship... like most universities we are very pressed for resources," said the Principal, adding that the facilities are unavailable due to demand.

However, Isoc dismisses this claim, saying that they carried out spot checks on the Great Hall and Octagon, rooms they were told were unavailable for booking, only to find them empty.

They also say that local mosques are oversubscribed.

Shahala Ahad, an engineering student, described the overcrowding of university-provided prayer rooms on Fridays, saying that stairs and hallways are rammed.

"We are grateful for what the university has provided," said Awo Abib, who graduated last July, "but the facilities don't reflect the demographic."

Queen Mary Student Union president Sarah Sarwar, leant emphatic support to the campaign.

"We really believe it's the university's responsibility," she said. Progress in negotiations has been "positive so far."

After leading today's prayers, Alamgir Islaam, the president of Isoc, told the Independent: "In order for the university to be in accordance with their claim to be inclusive to all faiths... they must take into consideration that this prayer must be performed in a certain way."

It is obligatory for male Muslims to pray en masse on Fridays.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Guru Careers: Trainee Software Developer / Graduate Developer / Junior Software Engineer

£13 - 16k + Training & Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We have a unique oppo...

MBDA UK Ltd: Electronic Test Systems - Graduate 2015

Competitive Salary & Benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: Role Purpose: Exciting opportunit...

MBDA UK Ltd: Electronic Manufacturing Test Graduate 2015

Flexible working, annual bonus & more: MBDA UK Ltd: Graduate opportunity withi...

Guru Careers: Graduate Marketing Executive / Marketing Assistant

£18 - 23k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Marketing Executive / Assistant is n...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high