Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Quiet Place for Prayer

I started to write that I'm against this:
Airport officials said Friday they will consider setting aside a private area for prayer and meditation at the request of imams concerned about the removal of six Muslim clerics from a US Airways flight last week.

Steve Wareham, director of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, said other airports have "meditation rooms" used for prayers or by passengers who simply need quiet time.

A group of Somali clerics met with airport officials Friday and said they would attract less attention if they had a private area for prayer. Devout Muslims pray five times daily, facing the holy city of Mecca.

"When we pray, we don't want a problem. We don't want what happened last week," said Abdulrehman Hersi, an imam at Darul-Quba mosque in Minneapolis, referring to six clerics who were barred from a US Airways flight in Minneapolis after drawing the concern of some passengers.

Airports in Nashville, Tenn.; Columbus, Ohio; and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., all advertise meditation rooms. Fort Lauderdale's is billed as "For travelers seeking a quiet time." All note they are nonsectarian.
However, after checking with the Minneapolis airport site, I find that, unlike most other airports, they don't have a chapel center. I have no problem with a room that ANY person can use for prayers or meditation. It should NOT be for exclusive use, however. If travelers want that, they'll have to reserve one of the Meeter/Greeter Centers.

One caveat - I want the center to be OUTSIDE of the security checkpoints. No sense making it TOO easy for a potential terrorist. I can easily see the meeting room being used as a staging area for terrorist preparations, particularly with airports across the country giving access to questionable people. It should be possible to install cameras, as well.

Accommodate - yes. Totally trust - NO!

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