Muslims decry lack of prayer rooms at SGR stations

Monday November 18 2019

Standard gauge railway (SGR) terminus in Mombasa. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Muslims are calling for the setting up of prayer rooms at stations along the standard gauge railway (SGR) line, saying lack of such facilities has become a nightmare as it has forced them to miss prayers.

Religious leaders now want the Kenya Railways Corporation to address the matter as soon as possible.

Speaking to the Nation on Monday, Kenya Muslims National Advisory Council (Kemnac) chairman Juma Ngao said it is important for the new rail system to adapt the practice at airports, where there are places set aside for conducting prayers.

“According to Islamic laws, one is supposed to pray five times a day. We suffer in case an urgent journey comes up and you forced to travel by rail, you cannot pray until you get to your destination,” said Mr Ngao.

He added that Mombasa terminus has a lot of space where a place for prayer can be set up.



A passenger, Ali Kombo decried how he had to miss Friday prayers last week when they travelled by SGR.

“It was sad and painful. To me missing prayers is something excruciating. Something needs to be done,” urged Mr Kombo.

He suggested that prayer rooms be set up in train carriages, saying stop overs in some stations are less than four minutes.

Alternatively, he said, Kenya Railways should “create a place in the station and allow about 10 minutes for prayers.”


Another passenger, Mr Ali Barre said he has been forced to pray at the waiting area at SGR stations.

“I have been travelling with the train where am forced to pray at the waiting areas due to lack of prayer rooms. It is disappointing that in a terminus with almost every amenity, there lacks such a facility (prayer room),” said Mr Barre.

Across Africa Muslim clergy have been calling on railway agencies to adapt similar strategy as major airports where prayer rooms are provided for.

Reached for comment, Kenya Railways Corporate Affairs Manager Margaret Kawira said the heads of the Muslim community should write a letter to the managing director on their request.

“Once the letter reaches the MD, a follow up will be done,” said Ms Kawira.