Hindus Flock to Orange Coast College Prayer Room Idea

Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, likes the idea of a prayer room at Orange Coast College.EXPAND
Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, likes the idea of a prayer room at Orange Coast College.
rajanzed.org

As the Orange Coast College Senate considers the installation of a multi-faith prayer room on the Costa Mesa campus, Hindus are welcoming the idea.

The OCC International Multicultural Committee proposed creating a quiet space on the 25,000-student campus open to all faiths.

The idea came after a student emailed an administrator about a place on campus where students can pray multiple times a day, according to Jessica Riestra, president of the OCC InterClub Council.

That prompted Riestra to call for creation of an interfaith space to not only serve religious students but foster unity among people of different faiths, who currently meet away from one another on and off campus. 

An interfaith space "would be a step in the positive direction," agrees Rajan Zed, president of the Reno, Nevada-based Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement.

A prayer room would lead OCC students to have a "spiritually meaningful life in addition to material success after they graduated," said Zed, who praised campus leaders for recognizing "the intersection of spirituality and education."

Zed also recently blessed a mediation room installed at Emerson College and the quest for a designated Hindu prayer room at Lehigh University.

Riestra says a prayer room recently opened at San Diego State University.

UC Irvine has the Jericho House of Prayer, or JHOP, at the university as well as a quiet/prayer room at UCI Medical Center in Orange. Cal State Fullerton also has a prayer/mediation room, and the chapel at Chapman University in Orange is open to members of all faiths.

Such spaces can generate controversy. ecause that was where the Muslims prayed. 

Dortmund Technical University in Germany closed its prayer room last month after disputes over the actions of Islamic students who required Muslim women to wear veils inside and be seated separately from men during services. Such practices violated campus gender equity rules, the university ruled.


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