A prayer room for all

For all those who study or work at Heilbronn University - regardless of religious affiliation, a multi-faith prayer room has been opened on an interim basis at the Sontheim campus. After the renovation work on the campus, the room is to be relocated, as it is to be made even larger and more optimal.

Whether for prayer, meditation or as a place of retreat - the multi-religious prayer room at the Sontheim Campus of Heilbronn University (HHN) offers an open door for all these needs. The desire for such a room is great and is expressed especially by those Muslim students for whom it is important to observe the obligatory prayer (Salāt). So far, they have been using a stairwell provided for this purpose, which is not a permanent solution simply because of the lack of privacy.

University responds with interim solution

The HHN takes the wish for a so-called Room of Silence seriously, as it also exists at Bildungscampus since 2019, and would like to create such a place at the Sontheim campus as well. Members of other religions on campus also want a common space, and so the Department for Equality and Diversity, the Christian university chaplaincy, and the university group Muslim Students Heilbronn are working hand in hand: the gardener's house on the Sontheim campus is being temporarily converted.

"After completion of the current renovation work on the campus and the subsequent reorganization of the space, there should also be a permanent room of silence in Sontheim," says Birgit Englert from the Department for Equality and Diversity. "The space should then also be able to be used for devotions or group meditations, for example."

The multi-faith prayer room is jointly managed by the university chaplaincy and the students of the Muslim university group. This is a solution that already works very well at Bildungscampus and ensures that different groups can use the space along their respective needs.

Open to the entire university

Anyone who belongs to HHN may enter the room, no matter what religion they belong to. The only condition is that the rules are observed: Respectful interaction is just as self-evident as maintaining the neutrality of the room. Thus, writings, religious symbols or lit candles are prohibited.

"For many Muslim women, it is important to be only among women when praying. That's why one of the two rooms is reserved exclusively for women," says Birgit Englert. "The existing close dialogue has so far meant that there have been no conflicts over the Room of Silence. If something does go wrong, there are of course points of contact that will take care of it immediately."

(Source: From the press release of Heilbronn University, June 15, 2022)

Cornelia Reus, University Chaplaincy, Birgit Englert, Department for Equality and Diversity and Amina Mecellem from the University Group Muslim Students Heilbronn open the multi-religious prayer room at the Sontheim Campus of Heilbronn University. (from left to right).