BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College recently converted an office space into a prayer room for Muslim students observing Ramadan.

quibla Dr. Brooke Deal, professor and TW Philips Chair of Religious Studies, and Dr. Holly Hillgardner, associate professor of Religious Studies and Perry and Aleece Gresham Chair of Humanities, and a group of students transformed the former office at 114 Morlan Hall into a suitable prayer room.

Ramadan, which is observed through May 12, is considered one of the holiest months in the Islam faith. One of the traditional components of Ramadan is fasting, a way to strengthen spiritual health and self-discipline and feel closer to God. Muslims typically have a meal before dawn and fast until sunset.

Muslim Prayer RoomDeal and Hillgardner said that several students have begun using the space.

The room is complete with prayer rugs, a Quran, prayer beads, and a quibla indicator. Quibla means “direction of prayer,” which is Mecca.

The room also includes a curtain to offer separate prayer spaces for male and female observers, and the door is equipped with a key code lock.

Because dining options before dawn are limited at Bethany, the room also is stocked with shelf-stable food, water, and juice. Faculty and staff across Prayer Room Curtaincampus have donated items.

Deal and Hillgardner also used funds from Interfaith Youth Core grants they received toward the prayer room. The grants were awarded to promote diversity within the college.

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Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.