Above: Students from North Park Collegiate and Vocational School celebrate the Multi-Faith Prayer Room’s opening day.

Student Journalism Spotlight:
Celebrating the New Multi-Faith Prayer Room at North Park


FRIDAY, APRIL 21, 2023


he students at North Park have embraced a new multi-faith prayer room! Having a dedicated space available to pray is building a better school community; the prayer room is helping to educate both students and staff about different cultures, and the students using the space are feeling more comfortable expressing their faith. This space has provided us all with an opportunity to ask questions and have meaningful, respectful conversations. 

For those in the Muslim faith, coming together in prayer promotes an understanding of one another. Mahdi Elbasel, a Grade 11 student at NPC, shares a quote that he learned as a boy: “Ignorance is the enemy of man.”  He says, “We were always taught that world problems stem from ignorance. The knowledge to understand will help us to make the right choices.” The new multi-faith prayer room at North Park is helping to dissolve this ignorance.

"We were always taught that world problems stem from ignorance. The knowledge to understand will help us to make the right choices."

Mahdi Elbasel


The idea for the prayer room began when one student requested to have a private space to pray during the school day. Batool Suleiman, a Grade 12 student at North Park, remembers having a discussion with her friends, but students had to ask on an individual basis and many felt too shy to come forward. Mahdi also mentioned the idea to his guidance counselor, describing the prayer room as a place he felt would make North Park feel more inclusive for him and others. Many other students agreed. 

As the Islamic community grew, so did the number of Muslim students at North Park. This became a learning opportunity for our school community, who worked with Sheikh Jamal and the Brantford Mosque. They supported North Park staff and students and became a close community partner to help make this designated prayer space a reality. Prayer mats were donated to the school, and many parents expressed gratitude for providing their children with an opportunity to embrace their culture and faith, while remaining at school.  Before the prayer room opened, many students and their families had to choose between going to school or staying home to observe Friday prayer times.

Fridays are the most important day of prayer for Islamic students. This is especially true during this holy month of Ramadan - when it is an obligation to pray. Having the space available allows students who are observing Ramadan to complete their prayers in a group setting. It has also allowed some students to take on a leadership role in delivering the messages and in calling others to prayer, which helps them to feel even more connected to their faith and grow as future leaders in their community. Many of these students are actively involved in North Park’s Students Against Racism Coalition (SARC), where they work to plan events and move toward equity and inclusion for all, a goal of our school and a part of the Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan.

Batool is happy that the goal to create a more inclusive and equitable school community is becoming a reality. She feels strongly that becoming closer to your faith makes you a better person. Batool sums up everything perfectly by stating, “We don’t have to choose between our faith and our education anymore!”


StudentJournalismSpotlightFrame-April2023.pngAbout the Authors

Batool (right) and Mahdi (left) are Grade 12 and 11 students at North Park Collegiate and Vocational School. The pair teamed up to write about North Park’s new multi-faith prayer room, a student-led initiative that makes the connection between learning and belonging at school..

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