07/13/2022, 13.49
BANGLADESH
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Women's hall at Dhaka University opens prayer room for minorities

by Sumon Corraya

Shamsun Nahar Hall set aside space for Christian, Buddhist and Hindu female students. Now other universities and student halls are expected to do the same. Many are happy with this “huge achievement”. The new prayer room contains images of Christ, Buddha and Hindu deities.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – A women’s hostel at Dhaka University has opened a prayer room for women from various religious backgrounds can meet and pray at the end of the day.

Following pressing requests for such a space, Shamsun Nahar Hall, a female student hall, set aside a room where students from religious minorities (Christian, Buddhist and Hindu) can gather and pray.

This is the first step since other prayer rooms are planned for all religions in other facilities and buildings.

Although belated and the result of strong pressures, the room has been met with satisfaction and relief by all parties and students.

“The standing committee decided that there should be a place in the student hall for the prayers of minority students,” said Professor Lafifa Jamal, provost of Shamsun Nahar Hall. “A university is a non-communal place, where students of all religions have equal rights.”

For her, the prayer hall is a “good decision. We expect other educational institutions to come forward like Dhaka University in this regard.”

Now Hindu, Buddhist and Christian students can gather and pray in a space dedicated to them; for those who in the past could not benefit from it, it is a "huge achievement".

Muslim students have access to numerous mosques in universities, but so far nothing was available for students from other faiths, infringing on the principle of equality and equal rights.

In fact, “the followers of every religion need to be respected,” said Nilima Roy, a Hindu female student at Dhaka University, speaking to AsiaNews. Grateful to the authorities, she hopes “other universities will do the same.”

Sujana Gomes, a Christian, attends the same university. “It is a great achievement for us,” she said. “Many of our senior students didn’t get this opportunity.” Now the followers of three religions “can worship the same creators. It is an example of religious harmony.”

The new prayer room contains the images (pictured) of Jesus Christ, some Hindu deities and the Gautama Buddha.

About 90 per cent of Bangladesh’s population of 162 million is Muslim. Hindus represent around 8 per cent with Buddhists and Christians making up the rest.

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