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This space means everything to Yaser Garwan

Friday, February 01, 2013   by: Staff



Algoma University adds prayer space

Multi-faith Prayer Room responds to student need

SAULT STE. MARIE - Algoma University has responded to the growing need for student prayer space on campus with the addition of a Multi-faith meditation and prayer room.

The dedicated space was opened with a small ribbon cutting ceremony attended by University President Dr. Richard Myers, staff, and several students.

Yaser Garwan, a Muslim student at the University, says that the space "means everything" to him.

Born in Canada, he grew up in Saudi Arabia, and returned to study Finance and Economics at Algoma U.

"When I arrived in January of 2011, I asked if there was a prayer spot - I was told no."

At that time, he admits that the number of students on campus requiring such a space was fairly small.

Since then, he has worked with Director of Ancillary and Student Services Tom Mauro towards creating one.

"I appreciate Tom's patience with me, and his hard work to make this a reality," he said.

Garwan prays five times a day, and says that prayer gives him peace and the energy to work hard in life.

"Prayer is everything to Muslim people," he said. "Being able to pray at appropriate times of day is an important part of my culture."

Dr. Myers, in a short speech celebrating the opening of the room, stated: "It is important to the University that our students have a space where they can feel comfortable and practice their faith."

He credited Mauro with proposing the location of the room, which had previously been a small student lounge area.

The couches remain, but have been moved just outside the door of the prayer room, and the vending machines were moved down the hall.

"We have created a valuable student space without losing a whole lot," he said.

Mauro says that the time was right for such a space.

"The number of students on campus looking for this type of space has increased exponentially in the past couple of years," he said. "The growth of our International student body brings with it a responsibility to provide services like these to our students. We're happy that we could make this happen."

About Algoma University

Algoma University offers a wide variety of liberal arts and sciences degree options including programs in Psychology, Computer Science, Business Administration, Fine Arts, Community Economic and Social Development, and Biology in Sault Ste. Marie, Brampton, Timmins and St. Thomas.

As a partner with Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, Algoma U is committed to respecting Anishinaabe knowledge and culture.

Algoma University has launched its Essential Elements Campaign to expand its campus and offer more scholarships and awards to students.

To learn more, visit

Pictured: Dr. Richard Myers, Samantha Boyer and Yaser Garwan open Algoma's new prayer room.

Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
brittz 2/1/2013 11:16:37 AM Report

Welcome to Canada, where, Thank God (any god, because that's a right we've been given) we have freedome of religion! Just because they are international students does not mean we should refuse them a right to practice their faith. They are here to hopefully contribute to this country's lagging economy! If they choose not to stay, oh well, educated people are needed all over the world, especially the middle east, the only way to solve conflict there is to educate and empower the people. Kudos to Algoma U for practicing cultural tolerance!
Wobbler 2/1/2013 11:27:14 AM Report


This is the first sentence in this article:
" Algoma University has responded to the growing need for student prayer space on campus with the addition of a Multi-faith meditation and prayer room."

Notice the use of the words "Multi-faith". This should answer your unnecessary question!!
Stevie-E 2/1/2013 11:41:47 AM Report


I recall you siding with FN issues, talking about how racism is terrible in this city, so it's very surprising that you and all your spirituality is against something like this. Your comments are crap!

I am fine with people having a space for spirituality and glad that Algoma U supports multiculturalism. Sault Ste. Marie is changing and people are seeing that it's a great place to live!
KMF61MCF 2/1/2013 12:32:25 PM Report

Well time will tell when they put aside rooms for every faith. But then again they do have $100,000.00 to do it. They need rooms for Islam, Christianity, Hinduism,Buddhism,Folk_religions, Chinese_folk_religion (Taoism and Confucianism), Shinto, Sikhism, Judaism,
Jainism,Faith,Cao_Dai, Cheondoism,Wicca, Tenrikyo,Seicho-no-le, Rastafari_movement,
Church_of_World_Messianity, Scientology,Unitarian_Universalism, Zoroastrianism,Eckankar,Druidry,Religion in Africa, Religion in Antartica ... My point is if you make a room for one faith they best have room for every faith.
sbjef 2/1/2013 1:06:18 PM Report

KMF61MCF, once again, maybe this time your clouded with judgement head might actually get what the article is saying...
Let me break that down for you in simpler terms that you might understand....
The room is being utilized by ALL faiths who wish to take a moment out of their day to pray. Maybe you should pop by and use it, sounds like you could use some good prayer and a moment of SILENCE.
barry203 2/2/2013 7:39:14 PM Report

Also, public funded institutions have no biz in religion...that is what their churches,tabernacles,mosques, etc. are for....already tax free.
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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