PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Several times a day, Atena Asiaii pulls her maroon prayer rug from under her bed and lines it up on the scuffed linoleum floor, kneeling on it to face northeast, the direction of Mecca. She has figured out which corner to turn toward without the help of a compass because her roommate, Yael Richardson, prays facing East, the direction of their dorm-room door. Far beyond it lies Jerusalem.
They're both college sophomores. They like gossiping about guys and eating ice cream. They're taking beginning Arabic. But what unites them most is the very thing people might expect to keep them apart: their religious devotion.
Living together as a Muslim and a Jew wasn't intended to be a statement. Yael and Atena met as freshmen at Brown University and decided to request a room together the next year in Interfaith House - a dorm where matters of faith are the stuff of spontaneous conversations in the halls.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Backstory: A dorm room big enough for two major faiths
From the Christian Science Monitor