Saskatoon airport turns down taxi drivers’ request for prayer room

Published: March 3, 2014

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

desi-crime-sexual assault

Surrey man who pleaded guilty to mistreating sex trade workers should go to prison for 2-3 years: Crown

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — A Surrey man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old sex trade worker nearly 20 years ago and…
Continue Reading »

sexual harassment

‘Will you have fun with me?’: Immigration officer sexually harasses female passenger at Delhi airport

HINDUSTAN TIMES An immigration officer at the Delhi airport has been suspended after a female passenger complained that he sexually harassed her by asking obscene…
Continue Reading »

crime-Surrey

Two Surrey men in hospital with gunshot wounds after targeted shooting

VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — Two men are in hospital with gunshot wounds following what appears to be a targeted shooting in Surrey on Thursday night….
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

US-Mexico sign climate co-operation deal as Canada stalls on UN emissions bid

By Bruce Cheadle THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — The Harper government is temporarily standing on the sidelines as international negotiations ramp up for a United…
Continue Reading »

desi-crime-sexual assault

Surrey man who pleaded guilty to mistreating sex trade workers should go to prison for 2-3 years: Crown

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — A Surrey man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old sex trade worker nearly 20 years ago and…
Continue Reading »

Changes to Nova Scotia law allow sex assault victims to sue retroactively

By Keith Doucette THE CANADIAN PRESS HALIFAX — Nova Scotians who have been sexually assaulted can now launch civil lawsuits against their perpetrators regardless of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

World Cup final

Underarm incident recalled as Australia-New Zealand rivalry rekindles in World Cup final

STEVE MCMORRAN THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MELBOURNE, Australia — Relations between New Zealand and Australia at a political level have regained their natural cordiality in the…
Continue Reading »

Cricket World Cup

Clarke’s Australians prepare to take on unpopular role in the World Cup final vs New Zealand

JOHN PYE THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MELBOURNE, Australia — Win or lose, Michael Clarke and his Australian teammates are probably going to be portrayed as the…
Continue Reading »

India-Australia-weird news

Youth cut his tongue as sacrifice at an Indian temple for nation’s cricket victory

IANS Chennai – In a senseless act, a cricket crazy youth in Tamil Nadu offered the tip of his tongue as a sacrifice at a…
Continue Reading »

Freedom-Section 66A-India

Teenager shoots himself after father bans Facebook chat

IANS Lucknow - A 14-year-old boy shot himself Thursday after his father reprimanded him for chatting too often on social networking site Facebook, police said. The…
Continue Reading »

messy custody battle-desi lingerie model

Jeremy Renner’s messy divorce from B.C. model gets messier as custody battle rages

VANCOUVER DESI A B.C. woman who was married to Hollywood actor Jeremy Renner is being accused of being a gold digger and blackmailer who has…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

pakistani sex meera-Veena Malik

Gallery: Bollywood celebs in trouble with the law

ALMAS MEHERALLY VANCOUVER DESI Indian film actress Shruti Haasan has run into legal trouble after she pulled out of a signed contract, according to an…
Continue Reading »

Salman Khan-Bollywood

Bollywood actor Salman Khan denies he was driving or drunk during 2002 accident

IANS Mumbai – Bollywood actor Salman Khan on Friday told a Mumbai court, conducting the trial of the 2002 hit-and-run case involving him, that he…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood movie

Amitabh Bachchan: Balki challenges me with never-done-before roles

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS Mumbai – R. Balakrishnan and Amitabh Bachchan’s much anticipated third outing “Shamitabh” turned out to be a box office disaster, but…
Continue Reading »