I arrived at Saitama University Japan near Kehin Tohoku Line, Kita-Urawa Station in mid-November 2023. It was established in 1873 and became a national university in 1949. It specialises in education, economics, science and engineering. There are about 500 international students among the 8,500 students.

There is a prayer room inside the school. Outside of school hours, they worship together at the International House.

There are three International Houses. The rooms are fully equipped. Bathroom, toilet and there is also a stove. The family room has two bedrooms. The washing machine is 200 yen and the dryer is 100 yen per 30 minutes. There have the laundry rooms Some students are renting rooms outside.

There are large number of practicing Muslims  at the campus and they are very much united.

They are trying to be able to worship together. The old students of the school have been trying for generations, and now the Saitama University Masjid has come into being. Congratulations.

I was amazed when I went to their small mosque. It’s a private 2-story building. A small halal food shop is opened inside the mosque.

Beef, goat, mutton, chicken, fish, rice, oil, and chili, as well as a lot of small fruits from the nearby farm are there. There is no sales person. The price is written down and its all self service.

You only have to take what you want and put the money in the box. The digital punch in lock code is used for the mosque entry.

Among post-doctorate and engineering trainees, there are some Malawian graduates one of whom takes the position of voluntary Imam.

Myanmar experiences

Muslim students are also present in Rangoon Institute of Technology (RIT) in Myanmar. We worshiped together at Saya Allen Htay & Dr Saw Phyu’s house. In Ramadan, we cooked a sehri dinner and ate together. Some hostels arranged to have two dinner set instead of lunch .

I still can’t forget the experience of Myint Lwin, our elder student.

The female students of G Hall want to eat sehri. So Ko Myint Lwin’s group sent them to G Hall. On the day of the bean soup, there was no container to put it in. Ko Myint Lwin put bean soup in a vacuum flask. Mrs G Hall thought the vacuum flask was tea pot and the tea was so sweet. After eating they discovered that it was it was “bean curry” rather than tea.

Rangoon University students in Myanmar were also able to open a university Muslim center in a small lane near Inyer Lake. They all worshipped together and hosted iftars in Ramadan.