Since Aztec Center closed last May, many organizations, including the Muslim Student Association, have expressed being inconvenienced by the lack of resources available. There is now no permanent meditation space available on campus.
Although the Cross-Cultural Center has extended the invitation to allow individuals to meditate, Hassan Abdinur, president of MSA, said it is out of the way.
Abdinur said prayers are held in front of Manchester Hall, a centralized location. However, it becomes inconvenient when it rains. He said prayer is one of the foundations of Muslim practice.
“As a Muslim, it is our obligation to pray,” Abdinur said. “We believe, yes, school is really important, but as a belief ideology, this is mandated upon us as Muslims so we have to pray.”
Communication Director of MSA, Tasnim El Mezain, said it is difficult because she has to find quiet places around the university to pray instead of just going to a room dedicated for meditation.
“Before, it used to be easier because we were able to concentrate more, and not have to worry about people crossing us,” Mezain said. “You have to make sure wherever you pray, it is not noisy, or nobody is going to cross you while you are praying or try to distract you.”
Mezain said she sometimes uses a napkin instead of a mat, but it is not much of a hassle. She said it is not as bad as she thought it would be.
“I’m getting used to it for something that is temporary. I am really hoping that we are able to get (a prayer space) as soon as the Aztec Center is done,” Mezain said. “I can wait for a year and then be rewarded with an actual room that I can pray in. “
Dr. Aaron Bruce, San Diego State’s chief diversity officer, said everyone is looking forward to the opening of the new Aztec Student Union next year.
He said the reconstruction has temporarily inconvenienced a variety of organizations and individuals because the building was frequented on a regular basis.
“There are some minor inconveniences due to the reconstruction of the new Aztec Center,” Bruce said. “I am looking forward to the new student union that will provide important facilities and resources for our campus community.”
Bruce said it is important to acknowledge the diversity of the Muslim community and not all students feel inconveniences. Some students pray before school, after school or do not pray at all. Some students just meditate and do not pray because the room is for meditation and reflection.
The new Aztec Student Union is scheduled to open in fall 2013. A mediation room will be provided.