Newly Renovated Muslim Prayer Room
Located in Engineering Building II
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While South Korea is a country where churches are more frequently found, Islam is yet to be the most familiar religion. However, globalization has let more Muslims in Korea and there are increasing number of students among them. Hanyang University (HYU) is also going through a wave of globalization in terms of the ratio of students’ nations and religions. According to the Office of International Affairs (OIA), there are approximately 250 Muslim students studying at HYU this semester, who are from countries like Malaysia, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.
Understanding the difference
While the previous Muslim prayer room was established in 2006 inside Engineering Building II. HYU newly renovated the room on its 1st floor. “There are an increasing number of Muslim students at HYU now. “We could see that Muslim students are more prone to feel a greater cultural difference in Korea, compared to other international students. There were cultural differences that must be taken into account. It includes the fact that they must pray 5 times a day and they are forbidden to eat haram food,” explained Kang Yun-i (Manager of OIA).
While the previous prayer room was intended to spare an independent room for Muslim students, the new one was made with the implementation of more requests and opinions suggested by Muslim students. “We sent all Muslim students an email about re-making the prayer room and asked for any requests they might have,” said Kang. Thanks to thoughtful consideration by the OIA, there is now separate water supply plant inside the prayer room and a curtain inside which separates men and women. “Wudu is a washing ritual that is required before practicing a service. All Muslims should wash themselves and make themselves clean before praying,” said Nor Amania binti Ruslan (Industrial Engineering, 2nd year).
“Although we do pray together here, it is an original rule not to have men and women together when praying. Before I joined HYU, I had to search for places like parks or stairs to pray, which was rather inconvenient. I was really glad to find the prayer room inside the campus. I feel thankful that HYU took our needs into consideration to make things more convenient and comfortable for us,” said Muhammad Aqil Redza (Mechanical Engineering, 1st year).
Other students also shared positive opinions about the renovation. “I think it is great that HYU is trying to progress along with the rise of Muslim students on campus. Such efforts can attract more Muslim students into the school. Also, I think students of diverse nationalities can help one another in widening their perspectives by experiencing different cultures,” said Park Gyung-duk (International Studies, 2nd year).
Besides the prayer room
There are other places inside HYU which was also built for Muslim students. Muslims are not allowed to eat what is called 'haram' food. Instead, they are allowed to eat 'halal' food, which does not include any pork or dog meat. Other meats like chicken, beef, and mutton are edible only if the animal was killed by the rules of Muslims, which is to slaughter it in the least painful and fastest way, without being seen by other animals. It is said that even before killing it, Muslims should take good care of the animals as well. “Halal food offered in Sarang-bang in the Students’ Union building is an easy option for us to find where to eat iside the campus,” said Ruslan.
Other than the halal food offered in Sarang-bang, there are also kitchens separately built in the students’ dormitory as well. The kitchen is used by Muslim students to cook food for themselves. The kitchen and the prayer room are managed by the dormitory office and OIA respectively. "OIA is glad to have the kitchen, the prayer room, and halal food that can help more Muslim students adjust well to HYU and Korea," said Kang.
Yun Ji-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Choi Min-ju
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