Orlando Airport to Build Separate Muslim Prayer Room

Orlando Airport to Build Separate Muslim Prayer Room

Orlando Airport to Build Separate Muslim Prayer Room

Orlando, Florida, may be home of Disney World, the “Happiest Place on Earth,” but its airport is not making the Rev. Franklin Graham too happy. In fact, he’s quite incensed at a decision that Orlando International Airport has just made.

The airport has decided that it would create a Muslim prayer room at the tune of $250,000 of taxpayer money. The “Reflection Room” is scheduled to open September 1.

Rev. Graham has vehemently objected, writing on Facebook: “Let’s call this what it is — a mosque. The airport already had an interfaith prayer room since 1983 (with prayer rugs available in it) — but that wasn’t enough. How loud do you think the objections would be today if they spent $250,000 in taxpayer money to build a new prayer room exclusively for Evangelical Christians? Or for Jews or Mormons or any other group? Why do Muslims get preference?”


Many large American airports have had prayer chapels for some years, and they have altered their primarily Christian orientation to present more of an interfaith feel to adapt to travelers of different faiths.

Interfaith Prayer Room at Albany Airport, New York
Interfaith prayer room at Albany Airport, New York.

But Orlando is adding a separate prayer room for Muslims after Emirates Airlines announced that they would begin non-stop flights from Orlando to Dubai. The President of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, Imam Muhammed Musri, naturally approved, saying, “These rooms provide travelers an opportunity to pray in their own way and have peace before they take on a long flight.” Why Muslims cannot find peace in a pre-existing interfaith prayer room which has already supplied them prayer rugs is beyond me.


So Muslims get their own prayer room at Orlando International, but at Denver International Airport a proposed addition of a Chick-fil-A restaurant has been stalled by the Denver City Council. Because the company’s president, Dan Cathy, has supported traditional marriage, one council member called the restaurant chain a “moral issue on the city,” and an openly gay council member said she was worried about “corporate profits used to fund and fuel discrimination.”


Chick-fil-A issued a statement in response to the Denver City Council:

“Chick-fil-A, Inc. and its franchised restaurant owners are equal opportunity employers, employing more than 75,000 individuals who represent many diverse viewpoints, opinions, backgrounds and beliefs.”

Look, if the people of Orlando approve of their taxpayer money being used to build a separate prayer room to specifically cater to Muslims, then I have no quarrel with their decision. But I think Rev. Graham is correct: if Catholics or Protestants or Jews were to request prayer rooms tailored to their theologies and worship styles, they would be sent packing, and told to use the interfaith prayer room down the hall and to their right.

If a popular and profitable restaurant like Chick-fil-A is rejected at a major airport simply because its president has made public his personal Christian beliefs, and Muslims are readily accommodated at another, then we see another example of how we have lost any sense of religious neutrality in this country.

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

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