You may have missed this news, but Emirates Airlines will start flying in and out of Orlando International Airport daily within a few weeks, each jet carrying hundreds of passengers from the Middle East and beyond.Well that’s nice, isn’t it?
But because many Emirates travelers will be Muslim, the airport is planning to spend almost $250,000 to build a “reflection room” where people of the Islamic faith can pray. It should be open for the inaugural flight Sept. 1.As the Orlando Sentinel reports, right now, Muslims at Orlando International must pray in public or perform religious rites in restrooms.
Some also go to the small, nondenominational chapel tucked away on Airside B, just past the security checkpoint. There are a couple of prayer rugs available there.
Shayan Modarres, an Orlando civil-rights attorney and Muslim, said the reflection room will be a welcome addition for the followers of Islam.Many Muslims, he said, have felt isolated and uncomfortable in this country after the terrorist attacks of 9-11. But having a reflection room at the airport, he said, “is a great step in the right direction, especially for tolerance and inclusion.”
Yes, when I think of Islam, I ALWAYS think of “tolerance and inclusion.”
The room will feature an ablution area, or clean zone, carry-on-luggage bins and shoe racks, as well as directional signs for north, south, east and west.
The OIA’s Facebook page proudly announces the construction of the “reflection room” noting that many other airports around the globe-such as Detroit, Baltimore, and Boston also have “reflection rooms.”
I guess Orlando must be a spiritual haven because its airport has TWO “reflection rooms” and construction of a third room outside the security check points will be completed by 2016.Isn’t it amazing? Most big city governments seem to be going out of their way to avoid being associated with religion — removing all Christmas displays, taking down any references to the Ten Commandments, and replacing prayer before meetings with a generic “give us some new ideas for taxes, oh Great One.”
Not in Orlando though. I guess the old “reflection room” which has been open since 1981 (and has plenty of prayer rugs) just wasn’t big enough. I’m sure the OIA is simply trying to enhance customer service but they might want to check their own Facebook page.
Customer satisfaction comments are 100 PERCENT NEGATIVE last time I looked.
[Note: This article was written by Ashley Edwardson]