What message do Muslim prayer rooms send to American children?

Brooklyn, Muslim street prayer
Brooklyn, Muslim street prayer via CheriBerens

Muslims are allowed to miss prayers.

They have the option to combine prayers, use optional prayer times, or do a ‘make up’ prayer for the one missed.

Therefore, there is no need for prayer rooms at schools or workplaces.

Muslim prayers are extremely flexible and do not need to be cause for special rooms or break times at work or school.

First, let’s consider three of the five daily prayers that do not occur during the ‘usual’ hours of work or school and therefore can usually be done at home (or mosque). These are:

  • The pre-dawn prayer, called fajr (example: 5:30 a.m., but depends on where you live)
  • The prayer just after sunset, called maghrib (example: 7:00 p.m., but depends on where you live)
  • The final night prayer, called isha (around 8:00-9:00 p.m., depending where you live)

What remains, and which are the ones used to force non-Muslims into creating prayer rooms in schools and the workplace, are the two afternoon prayers. These are:

  • The prayer that is to be done just after noon (dhuhr), right after the sun has reached its peak in the sky, and usually some time between 12:00-1:00 (depending on where you live).
  • The late afternoon prayer (asr), usually some time between 4:00-5:00 (depending on where you live).

Here’s the most important facts Muslims will not tell you about the afternoon prayers:

  • The afternoon prayers can be missed if they are inconvenient (say you have a work meeting, or a class, or any inconvenience of any kind).
  • The two afternoon prayers, as well as any prayer that is missed (say you overslept the dawn prayer), are allowed to be done later.

And you have options.

You can combine the missed prayer with the next scheduled prayer.

You can do both of the afternoon prayers at the same time, but choose the later time (around 5:00, but depends on where you live). For school children, this works well; the prayers can be done after school.

There are two “optional” prayers, and you can do the missed prayers as one of the “optional” prayers. The optional prayers can be used to replace any one of the five obligatory prayers.

You can do the two afternoon prayers in conjunction with another prayer at a later time (for example: you can do the dhuhr prayer with the after sunset prayer (approximately 7:00 p.m.) and the asr prayer with the final night prayer (approximately 8:00-9:00 p.m.).

Using one or more of these options can be done indefinitely, every single day.

There is no need for prayer rooms at school or work.

Moreover, one does not have to wait for the time of another prayer to ‘combine’ prayers! You can make up a missed prayer any time of the day except the “prohibited times” .

The prohibited times are:

  • When the sun is rising.
  • When the sun is at its highest point in the day.
  • When the sun is setting.

The reason for these prohibitions is that Muslim prayers must be distinguished from Zoroastrian prayers. Zoroastrians prayed during those times. Islamic doctrine states that Islam should not resemble other religions.

When Muslims are in a non-Muslim land, they are to abide by the laws of that land until they are able to proceed with implementing their own laws and their Supremacy.

Muslims are to have Supremacy over non-Muslims. In Muslim majority countries this is done via implementing Islamic Law, which gives Muslims more rights than non-Muslims. There is no equality among people according to Islam because the Quran states clearly than non-Muslim are not to have the same rights as Muslims.

Muslims are to have Supremacy over non-Muslims, and an exhibition of prayers at a non-Muslim workplace or school demonstrates this doctrine of Supremacy.

Street prayers are also a way of displaying Islamic Supremacy. By blocking traffic, whether foot traffic or automobile, Muslims are demonstrating their belief in their Supremacy.

Muslim prayer rooms at schools give non-Muslim students the belief that Islam is “special”.  Non-Muslim children take notice that Muslims receive privileges that non-Muslim children do not receive. In some schools, Muslim children are allowed to get up and leave the classroom while the others must remain. Even during exams.

What message does this send to American children? It sends a message that Islam is Superior. And this is the purpose of prayer rooms at American schools. It also encourages conversions to Islam.

See additional photo at CheriBerens

Cheri Berens lives in Egypt working as a researcher for the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. She experienced Egypt’s 2011 and 2013 revolutions and witnessed the Muslim Brotherhood takeover and violence that followed.