Brussels Airport rejects “Hindu Prayer Room” idea

 February 18 2016,  12.49 PM IST || Pocket News Alert

Brussels Airport, despite its “Customer-focus” strategy, seems to have rejected the Hindus’ request of a designated “Hindu Prayer Room”.

Responding to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed’s email of January 24, Cindy Wullems, Customer Feedback Officer Operations of Brussels Airport Company (BAC), emailed on February 17 saying that “For the moment, Brussels Airport foresees a place of worship for the religions recognized in Belgium (Catholicism, Orthodox, Anglicanism, Protestantism, Judaism and Islam)”, although she added that Zed’s e-mail “received our careful attention”.

Wullems, however, indicated that Zed’s feedback had been forwarded “to the departments concerned for further evaluation”. She also stated: “We sincerely regret your feeling of disappointment about the unavailability of a Hindu prayer room at Brussels Airport.”

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was very sad that despite Hinduism being a major world religion and a substantial number of Hindus travelling through Brussels Airport regularly, the airport authorities did not consider it worthwhile to establish a “Hindu Prayer Room”.

Brussels Airport, Belgium’s largest and one of the world’s leading airports, features Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Orthodox and Protestant “Places of Worship”; besides a “Humanist meditation room”; open to passengers in Pier A and Pier B.

It was an issue of fairness and equality in customer service, Zed pointed out, and urged CEO Arnaud Feist of BAC, which operates the Airport, to seriously relook into the issue.

Rajan Zed further said that prayer/worship to God was highly important in Hinduism, and it would be great to have “Hindu Prayer Room” at Brussels Airport so that Hindu passengers did not miss their daily worship rituals/rites while travelling through it; which might include recitation of texts, repetition of mantras and dhayan (meditation).

Hindus would appreciate Brussels Airport if this “Hindu Prayer Room” had murtis (statues) of popular deities, copies of sacred scriptures, a traditional bell and recorded devotional music. He or other Hindu scholars would be glad to help, if asked, regarding the structure of “Hindu Prayer Room”, Zed noted.

Rajan Zed also urged King Philippe and Prime Minister Charles Michel to work towards recognizing Hinduism in Belgium. Belgian government seemed to be literate enough to understand the simple fact that Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought, Zed added.

Brussels Airport, Belgium's gateway to the world whose history goes back to 1915 and whose tagline is "the heart of Europe", served almost 23.5 million passengers and about half a million tons of cargo in 2015. BAC is the limited company in which Belgian State has 25% shares. Its strategy includes “We put our customers first: everything we do is for our customers.” “We take their needs into account and implement extra measures to meet their requirements in our concepts”, its “Service” statement adds.