Tokyo creates example of tolerance an inculcate “at home” feel among Muslim visitors
Amidst rise in incidents of violence against Muslims in several countries, Japan has created hospitable atmosphere for Muslim visitors, especially during Summer Olympics, by designing a mobile mosque which can accommodate about fifty worshippers at a time.
The first mobile mosque was unveiled earlier this week outside Toyota Stadium, a J-League soccer venue in Toyota city, which is also the headquarters of the car company with the same name. Football is the most popular sport in the Middle Eastern countries.
The back-side of the modified 25-ton truck flipped up to reveal an entrance and then the side slid out, doubling the width of the truck. The 515 sq ft room can accommodate 50 people. It also includes outdoor taps and a washing area for pre-worship cleansing known as ablution.
According to AP report, a large white and blue truck pulls up outside a stadium in central Japan and slowly expands into a place of worship with a sign “Welcome to the Mobile Mosque” written in Arabic.
The report further said that as Japan prepares to host visitors from around the world for the 2020 Summer Olympics, a Tokyo sports and cultural events company has created a mosque on wheels that its head hopes will make Muslim visitors feel at home.
The Chief Executive Officer of Yasu Project: Yasuharu Inoue said that there might not be enough mosques for Muslim visitors in 2020 is alarming for a country that considers itself part of the international community. He said that his mobile mosque could travel to different Olympic venues as needed.
He was quoted saying during an interview, “As an open and hospitable country, we want to share the idea of ‘omotenashi’ (Japanese hospitality) with Muslim people”.
The event company plans to target international sporting events both in Japan and overseas and hope the project will do more than fill a gap in religious infrastructure.
The CEO of the project said, “Going forward, I would be so happy if people from Indonesia, Malaysia, Africa, the Middle East and, for example, refugees who are coming from Syria are able to use the mosque as a tool to promote world peace”.
The history of Islam in Japan is relatively brief in rlation to the religion’s longstanding presence in other nearby countries. Muslims are one of the smallest minorities in the country, having more adherents than the Baha’s faith and fewer than Christians. An estimated 100,000 to 200,000 Muslims live in Japan.