Muslim prayer room planned for Ben-Gurion

A prayer room for Muslims is being tentatively planned for Ben-Gurion Airport, as part of a series of steps aimed at strengthening ties with the Muslim community, the Airport Authority announced Thursday. The authority's CEO Gabi Ofir instructed the airport's management to make sure the room would feature the conditions necessary for observant Muslims. According to Islamic doctrine, a prayer room must meet three central conditions: purity of location, purity of the body and purity of clothes. The square-shaped room will meet those standards. Specifically, a purification water trough will be set up, as well as a 35 cm. rest bench. The 20 square meter room will face southeast. The room will be carpeted and have a niche facing Mecca on one of its walls. It will also contain a library with Korans. The room is in its initial planning stage. According to the airport, the plans are tentative and no timetable for building the room has been decided. Apart from the prayer room, the authority has already begun several steps that will strengthen ties with the Arab community, the most prominent of which was starting the Unit for Relations with Minorities, a division working 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week, giving assistance, guidance and help to Arabic speaking travelers. Recently, an Arabic language Web site for the Airport Authority was unveiled, and guide booklets and comprehensive Arabic language signs throughout the airport have been published. Ben-Gurion Airport serves between 20,000 and 50,000 passengers daily. The ratio of Muslim passengers in this estimate is unknown, but it is assumed that the prayer room will be sufficient for the needs of the Muslim passengers wishing to pray while they are in the airport.