The Wits musalla (prayer facility) has experienced some incidents of vandalism during the two months since its official opening and hand over to the Muslim Students Association (MSA) in March.
The vandals are supposedly people visiting campus on school trips to the Planetarium situated directly next to the musalla.
MSA chairperson Abubakr Osman said people using the facility have reported incidents of people urinating in the washing area, walking on the carpets with dirty shoes and items such as a vacuum cleaner and glassware missing from the storeroom.
“The [storeroom] door was found open. [There are] no details of who found it though,” said Osman,
“Apart from the entrance foyer and bathrooms, the rest of the facility is a ‘no-shoes’ zone. Often the carpets to pray on have been stepped on with dirty shoes. We also face the issue of vandalism where people urinate in the ablution facility. The ablution facility is where people are expected to wash themselves before praying.”
Osman said the incidents were reported by students who live on res and people off campus who use the musalla.
Moshood Olayiwola, a geosciences PhD student, saw school students urinating in the ablution facility. He said he stopped them and explained to them what it was used for.
“I think they didn’t really know what it was used for and aren’t aware of Islamic culture, so I’m not sure if it’s really vandalism,” said Olayiwola.
To avoid such incidents happening again, the MSA has decided to lock the facility and only open it during prayer times. Osman says this is “cumbersome and disadvantageous to people who want to benefit from the facility out of these times”.
The MSA committee has also decided to install an ICAM system. “This would ensure that the safety, security and maintenance of the facility is not compromised and also ensures the easy access of students and card holders,” said Fatima Mukaddam, MSA vice chairperson.
Posters explaining registration by any Witsie wanting access to the musalla will be put up soon.