University of Regina installs special foot sinks for Muslim students

September 19, 2013 - 7:30am
Special foot baths at University of Regina for Muslim washing ritual before prayer. Aaron Stuckel/CJME
Special foot baths at University of Regina for Muslim washing ritual before prayer. Aaron Stuckel/CJME

The installation of some specialized sinks at the University of Regina is welcomed accommodation for Muslim students.

In the middle of a Wednesday afternoon, Mammad Huseynof heads to the upstairs men’s washroom in the Riddell Centre to prepare for his prayers. But part of his faith requires him to perform wudu or ablutions before he prays. This includes washing of his hands and arms, face, mouth, ears and neck, and his feet. But prior to this semester, the only way for him to wash his feet was to either cup his hands under the water and drop it on his feet, or put his legs up on the counter and his foot in the sink. Both options were awkward and very messy, but it was something his religion required him to do. All Muslims have to purify themselves before they can pray to their god, Allah.

“If you are not clean, angels can’t direct you,” he said.

“It’s kind of a necessity before you’re going to prayer,” added Mohammed Telhe.

Just recently, the University of Regina, in co-operation with the Muslim Students Association (URMSA) and UR International, purchased four specialized sinks for $35,000 to help accommodate Muslim students. The sinks sit low to the ground, and have a small stool built in so it’s much easier to clean the feet and the water doesn’t spread around all over the floor.

Two bathrooms house the sinks including men’s bathroom and one women’s bathroom. They both sit close to prayer room on the upper floor of the Riddell centre where many of the 800 Muslim students at the university go to pray.

President of the (URMSA) Mhmod Essalah said the university has always been accommodating to Muslim students and he is happy to study in a place where he feels at home.

“It’s a beautiful thing, the fact that we can have a place to pray, a place to practice without any judgement or anything like that,” he said.

He added that many students were surprised to see the sinks in the bathrooms after arriving at school earlier in September. He said they’ve all been very grateful for the convenience.