CLAREMORE, OKLAHOMA, March 15, 2021 : A Hindu prayer spoken before tonight’s city council meeting in Claremore has residents up in arms. It’s the first time in the city’s history where a Hindu prayer has opened a meeting. The city welcomed the offer to pray to show the town is quoted open for diversity. As this Hindu priest delivered his invocation before Monday’s city council meeting in Claremore, some guests in attendance were visibly upset. One woman even took a knee and another turned her back.
We spoke with city officials recently on Good Morning Oklahoma, where they expressed excitement about the opportunity to show that Claremore is open for diversity. But following the prayer, several people took to the podium to question the city’s decision. “It’s just out of the ordinary for here, I don’t have anything against Hindus, it’s just not my religion,” said Claremore native Connie James. Despite the concerns, one local Hindu priest tells me opportunities need to happen more often. Priest Kumar Gurukkal, is a Hindu priest in Tulsa. He says the words they share in these prayers are based on peace and karma. A local Baptist pastor shared a statement with us saying, “I am all for religious freedom. In order to have it myself, I must be willing to give it.”