Saskatoon airport turns down taxi drivers’ request for prayer room

Cab drivers Mahmood Shafqat (right) and Muhammad Ashraf would like to see a prayer area at the Saskatoon airport. Taken on February 28, 2014 in Saskatoon. RICHARD MARJAN/STARPHOENIX

CHARLES HAMILTON
THE STAR PHOENIX

Mahmood Shafqat wants Saskatoon’s John G. Diefenbaker International Airport to open a multi-faith room so he can have a place to worship while on the job.

“Every international airport has a multi-faith room, or multi-religion. It is one place,” Shafqat said. “You are Christian you can go there. Someone is Hindu, he can pray. Someone who is Muslim, he can pray there.”

A cab driver, Shafqat makes countless trips to the airport every day. Sometimes security guards open a room for him to pray. But he says airport officials should set up a small room that would accommodate travellers and employees alike.

The rooms are ubiquitous at major international airports. Most often they are non-denominational, multi-faith rooms that are open to every kind of religious worship.

Shafqat practises Islam and says he prays five times a day, sometimes at the airport while is waiting for passengers.

“It looks awkward if I am standing in the corner and praying,” he said.

Stephen Maybury, president and CEO of the Saskatoon Airport Authority, says despite a recent string of renovations at the airport, there is simply no room for a multi-faith space.

“In terms of our facilities we have not considered that and not designated any space. We are trying to optimize space here,” Maybury said.

While he is aware that bigger airports provide a space for people to worship, he says Saskatoon’s airport is not the same kind of airport. There are very few lengthy layovers in Saskatoon and unlike other airports, the facility is not a place where international travellers spend a lot of time, he said.

“When you get to the larger airports, they change their model so it’s a hub. People are spending the night. We are not a connection hub for international flights,” he said. Shafqat isn’t giving up on the idea. He and a small group of taxi drivers dropped off a petition to the airport authority and Shafqat has written a letter to city council. Without support from the authority, however, it is unlikely the room would be built or set aside any time soon.

cthamilton@thestarphoenix.com

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,





Featured

delays-problems-transit

SkyTrain commuters face delays Wednesday as another glitch slows down the system

ELAINE O’CONNOR VANCOUVER DESI SkyTrain commuters uttered groans Wednesday morning as SkyTrain control announcers came over the public address system to warn of morning system…
Continue Reading »

plane crash-emergency landing-deaths

47 killed in Taiwan as plane makes botched landing

IANS Taipei – Forty-seven people on board a Taiwanese TransAsia Airways plane were killed in a failed emergency landing in the island county of Penghu…
Continue Reading »

AP photographer killed in Afghanistan

Afghani police officer gets death penalty for shooting, killing AP photographer

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS KABUL, Afghanistan – A Kabul court announced Wednesday that the Afghan police officer charged with killing Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus and…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

delays-problems-transit

SkyTrain commuters face delays Wednesday as another glitch slows down the system

ELAINE O’CONNOR VANCOUVER DESI SkyTrain commuters uttered groans Wednesday morning as SkyTrain control announcers came over the public address system to warn of morning system…
Continue Reading »

BC Sikhs

Frustrated Port of Metro Vancouver truckers want government to push companies to comply with action plan

THE CANADIAN PRESS VANCOUVER — Drivers servicing the country’s largest port urged government on Monday to take swift action against trucking companies, which they say…
Continue Reading »

Rashida Samji

B.C. Securities Commission finds Vancouver woman who ran a Ponzi scheme committed $100 million fraud

ALMAS MEHERALLY VANCOUVER DESI VANCOUVER – A B.C. Securities Commission panel has found that a Vancouver woman and two companies she controlled committed a $100-million fraud….
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

BC Sikhs

Frustrated Port of Metro Vancouver truckers want government to push companies to comply with action plan

THE CANADIAN PRESS VANCOUVER — Drivers servicing the country’s largest port urged government on Monday to take swift action against trucking companies, which they say…
Continue Reading »

Canada-Edmonton-stolen

Canada balks at returning Indian statue of a woman believed stolen from Khajuraho temple

DOUGLAS QUAN POSTMEDIA NEWS  India is trying to repatriate a “voluptuous” 12th-century statue of a woman with a parrot on her bare shoulder that somehow…
Continue Reading »

delays-problems-transit

TransLink says human error caused SkyTrain meltdown Monday

The SkyTrain power outage that stranded thousands of commuters Monday afternoon was caused by human error, according to TransLink. An experienced electrician was installing a…
Continue Reading »

Commonwealth Games-Glasgow-India-Canada

Four years after scrubbing floors in India at Commonwealth Games, Canada can focus solely on sport in Glasgow

LORI EWING THE CANADIAN PRESS GLASGOW — Around this time four years ago, Canadian team general manager Scott Stevenson was scrubbing floors at the Commonwealth…
Continue Reading »

BRITAIN-ROYALS

Happy birthday, Prince George — the baby who rescued the monarchy

RUTH DUNLEY CANADA.COM Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge came into the world on July 22, 2013 with much fanfare — there were gun salutes…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra’s ‘Mary Kom’ to have world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival

IANS Toronto – Priyanka Chopra-starrer “Mary Kom”, based on boxer M.C Mary Kom, will have its world premiere here at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF),…
Continue Reading »

Nargis Fakhri

Bollywood actress Nargis Fakhri bruised, battered after shooting for “Devil” item number

SUBHASH K JHA IANS Mumbai – “Rockstar” fame actress Nargis Fakhri may be in bed resting it out after sustaining injuries while shooting her “devil”…
Continue Reading »

Indian Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan speaks during an appearance on a television show in Mumbai  June 5, 2014. STRSTRDEL/AFP/Getty Images

Shah Rukh Khan’s one-year-old baby AbRam likes Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball

IANS Mumbai – Usually parents are cautious about their teenage children, but superstar Shah Rukh Khan is wary of his one-year-old son AbRam, who was…
Continue Reading »