Belgium: Truck company set up mini-mosque for customers
Via nieuwsblad (Dutch):
Degroote Trucks en Trailers, a Belgian company selling trucks, set up a little mosque on their premises for their customers. According to the owners they're catering to a large part of their clientele that otherwise had to pray in the cafeteria.
The company has been selling second-hand trucks for over 40 years. Manager Hans Termote says that at first most customers were Belgian, but that has changed. Today more than 90% of the trucks are for export. Half their clients come from Africa and the Middle East.
Most shoppers come to check their trucks personally. The owners set up a small cafe to offer their customers a restful place. Often they found Muslim customers there praying in a corner, and those customers would go to the toilet to ritually wash their feet and ears. They wanted to meet their customer's needs by offering them their own prayer space.
The prayer area includes a wash basin, koran, two prayer rugs, and arrowpointing towards Mecca. Termote says he had to do some research since those things aren't available in every shop. They're very happy with the mini-mosque because it's used often. If people would ask every day for fries, he says, they'll set up a fries stand. That's also the reason why they set up a motel, because their customers often asked where they could sleep.
The mini-mosque offers unexpected commercial benefit. Termote says that when a Muslim customer lands in Belgium and has a choice of a Dutch truck or one of their, he often chooses them. With the prayer area he doesn't have to worry about keeping watch of prayer times.
'This is an huge gift for Muslims', says Abdel Ben Brahim of the El Nour mosque in Roeselare. "It shows that the boss understand his employees and customers. Because it happens all too often that Muslims come to us complaining that it's difficult for them to work because they don't have a place and time for prayers. I'm very happy with this initiative. I pray to Allah to thank him for this good news."