TOKYO unveils "Mosque on Wheels" to help Muslims : A large white and blue truck pulled up outside a stadium to central Japan and slowly expands into a place of worship.

*Welcome to the Mobile Mosque*.

As Japan prepares to host visitors from around the world for 2020 Summer Olympics, a Tokyo sports and cultural events company, has created a Mosque on wheels that its head hopes will make Muslim  visitors feel at home.

Yasuharu Inoue, the CEO of Yasu Project , said the possibility that there might be not be enough Mosques for  Muslim visitors in 2020  is alarming for a country that considers itself part of the  international community.

His Mobile Mosques could travel to different Olympic venues  as needed. "As an open and hospitable country, we want to share the idea of "omotenashi" [ Japanese hospitality ] with Muslim people," he said in the interview.

" The first Mobile Mosque was unveiled earlier this week outside  Toyota Stadium, a  J-League soccer venue in Toyota City, which is also the headquarters of the  car company with the same name.

The back of the modified  25-ton  truck flipped up to reveal an entrance and then the side slide  out, doubling the width of the truck.  The 48-square-meter  [ 515 square foot] room can accommodate 50 people.

Muslim guests prayed inside the mosque, which includes  outdoor taps and a washing area for ablution.

Indonesian students, who were victims of the   2004  Indian Ocean Tsunami  also participated in the debut ceremony.

" The Mobile Mosque is very important to Muslim people such as Japanese people or tourists. Muslim tourists who visit Japan, " said a  14 year old  Nur Azizah. "I want to show my friends."

An estimated  100,000  to  200,000  Muslims live in Japan.

Tatsuya Sakaguchi, a  Japanese guest, expressed hope that the  Mobile Mosque would help open people's minds  worldwide.  "Looking in from the outside at the people in the mosque, they looked very happy, " said Sakaguchi, the representative director of an Osaka retail company.

Inoue said the inspiration came to him on a trip to Qatar four years ago.

Initially, the project organizers plan to target international sporting events both in Japan and overseas. Inoue said he hopes the project will do more than fill a gap in religious infrastructure.

"Going forward, I would be so happy if people  from Indonesia, Malaysia, Africa, the Middle East and, for example,  refugees who are coming from Syria are able to use the mosque as a tool to promote   world peace," he said  [Agencies].


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