This fall, the Muslim Student Association at Otterbein (MSA) has opened its door to students with a new mosque, also known as a masjid.
The new space offers a safe prayer space for Muslim students on campus to pray and worship, in a way that allows students to easily access the space during the day in a more convenient way.
This is in contrast to the previous space in Clements Hall, which was much smaller and less accessible for students to worship in.
“It’s nice to have a community,” Nada Ettayem, a junior involved in MSA said. “You feel that oneness. You feel like you’re not alone.”
The incoming class of this semester is one of the most diverse in Otterbein’s history. It has also been noted that there are more Muslim students on campus, which means this new space will be beneficial to many who need a space to pray.
While students appreciated the space before in Clements Hall, it started to become overcrowded in the small room. There was also no air conditioning, which posed another challenge considering the growing amount of students using the room.
“The Muslim population on campus has increased within the past two years I’ve been here,” Ettayem said.
Students in MSA knew it was time for something new, and decided to try to find a new place to turn into a masjid.
They spoke with the chief diversity officer of social justice and activism, Frank Dobson Jr. and, the associate provost for faculty affairs, Christina Reynolds about potential spaces for reserving a mosque. They were told about a vacant space in the science center that was not being used, and after viewing it, knew that the space would be much more accessible.
“They cleaned it out, and put signs on it in the science center,” said student trustee and junior Yasmeen Khafagy . She said they also received support from a member in the IT department who was able to give them key card access to the room.
The new masjid is located in the Shear-McFadden Science Center in room 215.
“On that spiritual level, it’s very comforting. You’re all going together to pray to God.” Ettayem said.
Otterbein is working to allow key card swipe access for all Muslim students who wish to access this new space.