By John Ensor •
Published: 25 Nov 2023 • 17:32
Bristol Airport's Multi-Faith area.
Bristol Airport recently announced it had opened an area where worshippers of various faiths can congregate for prayer and reflection. However, the news didn’t quite get the reaction they had hoped for.
On Thursday, November 23, Bristol Airport unveiled the multi-faith facility located outside its main building, writes the Independent. The airport issued a post on the social media platform Twitter/X: ‘This week, we have opened a new multi-faith area in the free waiting zone.
‘Located just off the Silver Zone roundabout, the new area provides customers with a private space to reflect and pray whilst waiting to collect friends, family or loved ones.’
Responses on X were swift and savage. One user remarked, ‘You’ve just stuck a sticker on the smoking area. You aren’t fooling anyone!’ Someone else posted: ‘It looks like a bus shelter.’
Sarcastic comments came thick and fast: ‘It’s absolutely beautiful, and congrats to the photographer for capturing it so well,’ which was countered by, ‘Just wait until you see the inside,’ accompanied by a glorious photo of the interior of a richly decorated gothic cathedral.
One person added: ‘Had to check several times to see if this isn’t a parody account,’ while another enquired, ‘Is it available for weddings?’
While acknowledging Bristol Airport’s intention to be inclusive, Tahir Mahmood, chairman of the Hazrat Bilal mosque in Bristol, expressed disappointment. He noted that the shelter was ‘cold, dark and exposed to the weather,’ urging the airport to emulate the higher standards of other UK airports.
Father Mark Elliott Smith, identified as a Catholic priest, shared his thoughts on X: ‘I can’t imagine anyone wanting to pray the Rosary in a space that will be cold, bleak, and smelling like a urinal. Frankly, it’s an insult.’
Daniel Sugarman, the director of public affairs at the Board of Deputies of British Jews, also weighed in, saying, ‘In a way, this tweet has indeed been a multi-faith experience in that it has brought people of all faiths together to note how very strange this is.’
The airport spokesperson defended the decision, stating the space was established a mile from the terminal due to an ‘increase in customers requiring a multi-faith area in this location.’ They added, ‘This newly created space was provided after consultation with users of the car park to provide immediate shelter and dignity prior to winter.’
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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