South Division High School creates quiet space for Muslim students to pray during Ramadan
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A Milwaukee public school is showing its respect and inclusion of all students' culture and religion.
"It makes us feel respected and honored. It makes it feel like we are important for the school," said Rashidah Munirahmad, a student.
Muslim students from South Division High School were recently given an opportunity they hadn't had before in school, a quiet space for them to pray during Ramadan.
"That's really a holy month for us and it's beneficial for us if we're even having the advantage to pray in school, especially when we have to pray the mandatory prayers when it's the five prayers that we pray," said Nazir Nobi Husein, a student.
Many students would miss a prayer because it would be during the school day or some would need to miss school to do their prayer at home. When several students expressed concern about this, staff and faculty stepped in to change that.
"It's definitely a great feeling to be able to have our students' cultures, and languages validated and obviously, as well as religious beliefs so we just wanted to make sure that we had a quiet space that was respectful of that," said Jose Trejo, principal of South Division High School.
"I think everyone was shocked that we even had that in school and in MPS. There isn't usually something like that," said Husein.
Careful planning and consideration went into finding the right space for the students. One side of the room divided up for girls, and the other side for boys. Students were given special passes to come in the prayer room and participate in the prayers.
"There was a significant level of coordination in terms of getting passes made up for them, and then being able to communicate that to the rest of the school community so that our teachers work very well to be able to facilitate a lot of that," said Trejo.
"We were all excited to pray. We were all making the ritual to pray. We were all excited and we went to pray together," said Husein.
Student say they feel grateful for this space and hope it inspires other schools and establishments to consider offering more spaces like this for the Muslim community.
"For a lot of them, it was very, very special to be able to participate during Ramadan and not have to either not come to school, or leave the school in order to be able to participate. Moving forward, we're already looking at how we're going to continue to do that," said Trejo.
"This is a great opportunity and a great, great way of showing that we are important and they care about this. Allowing us to do this practice, it's great for us," said Munirahmad.