First of all, Muslims should strive as much as they can to build their own places of worship, which should be built according to Islamic Shari`ah, structurally sound, without extravagance or decoration. If the Muslims cannot build their own mosques and they need a place to pray, and they cannot find anywhere other than that interfaith prayer room, then performing prayer in that place is permitted. However, praying towards statues and pictures should be avoided, and they should be covered or concealed if they are in the direction of the Qiblah.
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a Senior Lecturer and Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: “Prayer requirements are very simple and precise. The place we pray in should be clean and should not be contaminated by Najasah or filth. It should be free of idols and statues. If we have a choice, we should ask for an empty room that can consecrated as a Musalla. If any of these conditions cannot be met, then the principle of jurisprudence ‘al-mashqqah tajleb at-tayseer’ or ‘whenever there is hardship the law is relaxed’ is applied.
If, therefore, the only room available for prayers is an inter-faith hall where pictures and statues are found, we can pray there provided we cover them up. This is the least we can do. There is nothing wrong with praying there, and Allah only ask us if we violated the laws intentionally. We are required only to fear Allah to the best of our ability.
In conclusion, you are allowed to pray in interfaith rooms provided they are kept clean and you cover up the images with a wrapper or curtain.”
Moreover, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, former president of the Islamic Society of North America, adds:
“It is permissible to pray in any place, as long the place is clean or tahir. After the conquest of Jerusalem when the Caliph ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, was visiting a church, the time of prayer came, and the people of the church told him to pray there if he wanted. ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, did not say that we were not allowed to pray in a church. He told them that he would not pray there because he did not want to see Muslims later take other people’s places of worship.
In addition, it is not allowed to pray in a place where the pictures (i.e. the crosses that are displayed) or statues are in front of the praying person, unless no other place was available.
Sometimes it happens that one has to pray in a university, a hotel, at the airport or some other place and one sees pictures hanging in the direction of the Qiblah. If one cannot find any other place then one should put some Sutrah in front of him and pray without looking towards those pictures.”
To conclude, if one is uncomfortable about praying in an interfaith room, or if the university does not provide such a facility, then he could pray in a secluded spot outdoors in good weather or in any empty classroom or other place that is not specified for prayer as long as the place is pure for prayer as stated above.