A Prague university's club for Muslim students creates a community based on shared values

From halal-certified food to a prayer zone, the Islamic club at the Anglo-American University offers Muslim students services making their life easier.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 17.07.2023 15:42:00 (updated on 17.07.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

This is the second in a series of student articles written as part of a journalism course at Anglo-American University in Prague.

The Anglo-American University (AAU) in Prague has taken a significant step towards inclusivity and diversity by opening its first official Muslim student club. The AAU Islamic Club's mission is to provide a safe and supportive environment for Muslim students while recognizing their unique challenges when studying in a new city. With a range of services and a dedicated community, the Islamic Club at AAU strives to ensure that every Muslim student feels safe, welcome, and supported during their academic journey.

Understanding the unique challenges of Muslim students

Being a Muslim student in a new city can be challenging, as cultural, religious, and dietary differences may create a sense of isolation or unease. AAU’s Islamic Club recognizes these difficulties and aims to address them proactively. By fostering a community that understands and shares the values and beliefs of Muslim students, the club helps create a supportive environment where they can thrive academically, socially, and spiritually.

A wide range of services for students

The AAU Islamic Club provides a range of essential services tailored to the needs of Muslim students. One of the key aspects is ensuring access to halal food options. Recognizing the importance of dietary restrictions in Islam, the club works closely with the university's dining services to ensure that halal-certified food options are available on campus. The spring 2023 semester offered a new menu including bagels, vegan sushi, falafel wraps, and a variety of pastries. This initiative helps Muslim students feel comfortable and confident in maintaining their religious practices while studying at AAU. 

Moreover, the Islamic Club ensures access to prayer facilities within the university premises. Understanding the significance of five daily prayers in Islam, designated spaces are provided to accommodate the religious needs of Muslim students. These facilities serve as a quiet and peaceful sanctuary, enabling students to conveniently observe their religious obligations. At the reception, students may borrow praying carpets and abayas (loose-fitting full-length robe worn by some Muslim women) to perform their prayers. 

In addition to practical services, the Islamic Club organizes open lectures and discussions on various Islam-related topics, offering educational and enlightening experiences for Muslim and non-Muslim students alike. These lectures provide a platform for knowledge-sharing, intercultural dialogue, and fostering a deeper understanding of Islam within the university community. One of the most recent was an open seminar on women’s rights in Islam organized by two executive members of the Islamic Club, Mariya Ageyeva and Mohammed Mamedov, who are also third-year students at AAU. 

A community brought together by shared values

The heart of the AAU Islamic Club lies in its community of students who share similar values and beliefs. By connecting Muslim students with each other, the club aims to build a strong support network that encourages friendship, collaboration, and a sense of belonging. Through regular social events, study groups, and extracurricular activities, the Islamic Club fosters an inclusive atmosphere that helps students develop lifelong friendships and create lasting memories.

The club also offers mentorship programs, where experienced Muslim students guide and support incoming first-year students, helping them navigate their academic and personal challenges. This mentorship initiative ensures that new students receive personalized guidance from peers who understand their unique experiences and can offer valuable insights.

Making a difference in a city with a small Muslim presence

The AAU Islamic Club's commitment to providing a safe and supportive community for Muslim students has significantly impacted the overall student experience not just at the university, but also in the city of Prague. By addressing the specific needs of Muslim students, the club contributes to a more inclusive and diverse campus environment. It encourages a spirit of mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation among students from various cultural backgrounds, fostering an atmosphere of harmony and unity.

In the 2021 census, 5,132 people in the Czech Republic declared themselves to be Muslim. Out of all the Czech regions, Prague has the most sizeable Muslim community, which numbers 2,041 people. As for prayer spaces, the Islamic Foundation in Prague lists two mosques and a prayer room in the Czech capital.

Executive member Mariya said that the establishment of the AAU Islamic Club at AAU is "a testament to the institution's dedication to creating an inclusive and supportive educational environment. By offering essential services, promoting intercultural dialogue, and building a solid community, the Islamic Club ensures Muslim students can fully embrace their identities while pursuing their academic goals."

Click here for the official website of the AAU Islamic Club and follow them on Instagram.

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