Dark-haired young men started arriving about 12:30 p.m., piling their backpacks and coats in the narrow hallway. One by one, they slipped off their shoes and darted into an "ablution station" for ritual washing. Then they filed silently into room 302 of Loras Hall.
For the first time in its 128-year history, the University of St. Thomas has its own Islamic prayer rooms, as well as ritual washing stations for observant Muslims.
The prayer rooms, which opened in September, reflect the surging number of students from Middle Eastern countries flocking to the Catholic university in St. Paul.