They simply wanted a place to pray, as required five times a day for faithful Muslims. But in France, that’s not necessarily simple.
The country has relatively few Muslim prayer spaces compared with the population – one for every 1,200 by some estimates – and a group of five friends from a variety of backgrounds decided they could do something about a problem they found themselves facing every day.
They created an online community they called Salatsurfing, building an app and website to link the faithful with people willing to donate space. Salatsurfing lists about 150 spaces – homes or businesses – throughout France. About 2,500 people have joined since the geolocation service started in September.
Sofiane Benabdallah, one of the founders, says the idea is similar to Airbnb or Uber – with one crucial difference: The service is free and the space is donated.