The 2020 Tokyo Olympics that are scheduled to begin from July 24 will see mobile mosques for the athletes and supporters belonging to the Islamic faith. The decision has been made due to the unavailability of appropriate prayer areas in hotels and public spaces in Tokyo.
Mosque on wheels: Japan has come up with a unique solution for the dearth of prayer spaces across Tokyo with a fully-equipped 48-square-meter prayer room https://t.co/FKD8Lf0udc pic.twitter.com/5Lu6LwO5oe
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 5, 2020
The “mobile mosque” will host a 48-square-meter prayer room on the back of a parked truck. The back of the vehicle can be widened within seconds and will have provisions for pre-worship cleaning (Wuḍūʾ). The modified truck will also carry Arabic signage.
The portable masjid is the brainchild of an organisation named The Yasu Project. CEO Yasuhara Inoue said, “I want athletes to compete with their utmost motivation and for the audience to cheer on with their utmost motivation as well. That is why I made this.”
He also claimed that the idea of mobile mosques will bring awareness about the different people co-existing in this world, besides promoting a non-discriminatory and peaceful Olympic Games.
Muslims constitute only about 0.1% in total population in Japan. An investigation by Waseda University found close 105 mosques in Japan, most being located on the outskirts of the capital city. As such, it is likely to cause inconvenience to the Muslims willing to pray 5 times every day. The portable mosques that are to be placed outside gaming venues will solve this issue.
In an email to Reuters, the Tokyo Games committee stated, “The Organising Committee is preparing a list of religious or faiths centers that could be contacted or visited if requested by residents of the Villages during the Games.”