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Mobile Mosques Unveiled for Tokyo Olympics

TOKYO – Preparing for the globe’s largest sports event, Tokyo is developing mobile mosques to welcome thousands of Muslim athletes and fans during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in Japan.

“Muslim prayer rooms will be available at the athletes’ village but not at stadiums or other competition venues,” the organizing committee told NHK on July 24.

The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will take place from 24 July to 9 August. More than 50 Muslim countries will participate in the event in addition to hundreds of Muslim athletes from other nations as well.

The group of firms working on the project unveiled a mosque model on Monday in the city of Toyota, Aichi Prefecture. The truck mosque costs US$ 900,000, but the group is aiming to lower the price.

The group renovated a truck by expanding the container on both sides. The air-conditioned prayer room can fit 50 worshippers. Developers also plan to install a compass that points to the Qibla in Makkah.

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“I hope to provide a place where both athletes and spectators can pray,” Project chief, Yasuharu Inoue, expressed.

The firm sought the advice of foreign Muslim students at Yamaguchi University in Japan who tested the truck. Salah or Islamic prayers are one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It’s an obligatory religious duty for every Muslim after the age of puberty.

Daily obligatory prayers are observed five times at prescribed times. Moreover, there are other types of optional Islamic prayers where some of them are daily like Sunnah prayers aka Nawafel.

The company’s president, Tetsuro Akimoto, said: “We hope the vehicle will be stationed at Olympic and Paralympic venues as a show of Japanese hospitality.”

The earliest Muslim records of Japan can be found in the works of the Muslim cartographer Ibn Khordadbeh. Recently, the Pew Research Center estimated in 2010 that there were 185,000 Muslims in Japan.