Plans are under way to deploy “mobile mosques” to event venues, training camps and other sites at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics for use by Muslim athletes and other participants.
The mosques would be set up in large trucks, enabling them to be moved anywhere at any time for use by Muslims as secure places of worship..
The idea was devised by Yasuharu Inoue, a 58-year-old Tokyo resident who is president of an event organizing company. Inoue brought a footbath to the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, and held an event at the 2012 London Games to express gratitude for the support provided by foreign countries after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Through these and other events, Inoue has used the Olympics as an opportunity to bring together foreign and Japanese athletes and participants.
Inoue’s latest idea arose from a Japanese cultural project he helped organized in Qatar.
“Prayer is an essential practice for Muslims. I want to welcome them [to the 2020 Games in Tokyo] with Japanese hospitality by providing a comfortable environment for worship,” he said.
Inoue is working with domestic automakers and other entities to create the mobile mosques, and has asked an interior designer from Qatar to plan the interior.
The first model is expected to be completed this year, with plans to produce five to 10 units by 2020.
As Qatar will host the 2022 soccer World Cup, Inoue said he is also negotiating with its organizing committee over deploying mobile mosques for the event.
“I want the Tokyo Games to be an opportunity to expand Japan’s contribution to Islamic society globally, and in the future use [the mosques] at refugee camps, conflict zones and other areas for peaceful causes.”