Glasgow shopping centre encourages prayer and reflection
A space to provide relaxation and quiet ñ and some respite from remorseless consumerism, perhaps ñ has been established by a shopping centre in Glasgow.
Braehead Shopping and Leisure Centre has opened the multi-faith room to offer "peace" for stressed out customers, it says.
The space is available to people of all faiths and none, with humanists and non-believers able to take time for reflection alongside Christians, Jews, Sikhs and Muslims ñ each in their own way.
The move is unlikely to thrill the Anglican Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, who this week complained that chaplaincies had become a ìmulti-faith mishmashî and said that they should maintain a Christian ethos.
But shoppers and members of different local religious communities have welcomed the move. They say that it is inclusive, without confusing different traditions or imposing one.
Among other facilities the space allows for Muslims to wash their hands and face before praying.
Centre managers told the Evening Times newspaper that the facility would welcome atheists who wanted a break from the crowds too.
The Rev Elisabeth Spence from the Church of Scotland, who is chaplain at Braehead, said she hopes that some of the 400,000 shoppers who visit the centre each week (20 million each year) will take advantage of the new facility.
She declared: "This is a place where people of all religions can come to pray or it can just be a place staff and shoppers can come to for some quiet contemplation."
Dr Shafi Kausar, secretary of Glasgowís Islamic Centre, said: "This is very welcome and a considerate action by Braehead."
A Catholic spokesperson added: "The need for a calm space in the busy lives people lead is greater than ever today."
And while Braeheadís operations manager stressed that this was just ìone more service available to customersî, campaigners for fair trade, environmentalists and similar groups may hope it reminds people that there is life after shopping.
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