Traveller’s praise for airport ‘wudu’ sign highlights UK’s inclusivity

We often write stories related to racism and Islamophobia in Britain, and elsewhere in the world. But Muslims in the UK also know that there are many people and institutions in this country who accept Muslims fully and try and make daily life easier for us. And it’s important, we highlight those too.

So here’s an example of a social media post that prompted lots of people to share their appreciation for the UK’s inclusivity.

Businessman Akmal Saleem posted on LinkedIn about how comforting it was to see a sign that gave directions to wudu facilities at Birmingham Airport.

“Travelling out of the 🇬🇧 and into 🇸🇦 today and came across something I’ve never seen before at a UK airport,” wrote Akmal.

“It may be such a simple sign for “Wudu” but the comfort this gives on so many levels is incredible. I don’t know who made this happen but they are legends.

“We can talk about diversity and inclusion all day long, but this action is what really matters 👏🏽”

The comment sparked a wave of responses on LinkedIn with many commending the airport for its inclusivity, while others posted similar appreciation for other places and institutions in the UK. 

Highlighting inclusivity

Akmal lives in Madinah and Birmingham and regularly travels between these two places for work. But it’s only on this recent trip that he noticed the sign.

“Our community has been progressing for decades in UK and we have had facilities for a long time in Airports and other locations,” Akmal told Islam Channel.

“What I really appreciated was the dedicated nature of the sign, travelling and praying is stressful and with COVID it’s become more anxious for many travellers and so this is a great relief,” he added.

The businessman posted the message on LinkedIn because he feels it’s important to highlight and show appreciation for those working on diversity and inclusivity,

Birmingham Airport responded to Akmal’s message on LinkedIn with: “Thank you for recognising our effort to create an inclusive environment for the diverse communities we serve. We are really proud to read such positive feedback. Kind regards – BHX.”

Other similar stories

The post sparked other stories of workplace inclusivity in the comments below Akmal’s post.

“It was similar for me when I came to Islam, I started a new job and the manager gave me access to a shower room to make wudu and a spare office to pray in, alhamdolillah,” said Naima Pinchen.

Niaz Chowdhury commented: “At The Open University, some toilets such as at the student union and nearby buildings, have excellent wudu facilities where one can sit and complete the wudu in comfort. London Metropolitan Police allows Sikh officers to wear their traditional headwear. These are merely some examples, there are plenty. The UK has always been working hard to welcome people from all communities that I like most about this country. Thanks for sharing this photo. It’s a symbol of positive energy, love, and friendship.”

Meanwhile, Ishaq wrote: “UK is the most diverse country in Europe hugely blessed to be here…places of worship are literally at each corner no matter when your (sic) go majority of places accommodate you hence we’re very successful.” 

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