For the many Muslim athletes, officials and supporters travelling to Japan for the Tokyo Games, finding a place to offer their prayers may no longer be cumbersome thanks to the unique ‘Mosque on Wheels’. The Mobile Mosque, as it’s better called, is a fully-equipped 48-square-metre prayer room that opens up on the back of a truck, which will allow Muslims to conduct their prayers, commonly known the Namaz.
The back of the modified truck opens up in seconds, offering passage for a room and the vehicle also includes Arabic signage and outdoor water taps for pre-worship cleaning.
Prayer rooms are usually available at the under-construction Games Village, but with some venue failing to have designated spaces, the Mobile Mosques comes as a huge relief for Muslims, who plan on travelling to Tokyo for the Olympics Games. As of 2018, there were 105 mosques located in Japan, but most are spready across the country, majorly on the outskirts on Tokyo.
The Yasu Project is the brain behind the initiative and CEO Yasuharu Inoue hopes it will make life easier for Muslims who need to pray five times a day.
“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,” said Inoue, pointing to the white truck parked next to Tokyo Tower on Wednesday. “I hope it brings awareness that there are many different people in this world and to promote a non-discriminatory, peaceful Olympics and Paralympics.”
Tokyo 2020 said on Wednesday that they were looking at various avenues to provide appropriate facilities for all religious groups.
“The Organising Committee is preparing a list of religious or faiths centres that could be contacted or visited if requested by residents of the Villages during the Games,” Tokyo 2020 told Reuters in an email. “In the Games’ venues, multi-faith prayer spaces for athletes and spectators are under consideration in venue operations planning.”