Hinduism and other religions are treated a cults instead of respectable religions in Europe.
Rajan Zed, the Hindu priest from the US, who became famous after his opening prayer at a state senate, is making waves in the international ciruit.
Hinduism is not recognized as a religion in Europe
"Hindus presented a groundbreaking memorandum to European Parliament (EP) President Hans-Gert Pottering on Wednesday asking Hinduism to be recognized fully and officially in all the 27 member states of EP.
Rajan Zed, acclaimed Hindu statesman from USA, who met with Pottering in his Brussels office Wednesday on an historic invitation to discuss Hindu issues and promote interfaith dialogue, listed fifteen more European Hindu issues besides recognition.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, also asked for announcement of Diwali as major festival of European Union (EU), consulting Hindus at national levels on religious and related issues as equal partners, adequate Hindu representation in various EU bodies, fair treatment of all major religions instead of patronizing only one kind of religion or denomination, complete freedom of practice of chosen religion by the citizens, availability of suitable and adequate facilities for Hindu funerals, and promotion of interfaith dialogue.
Rajan Zed said that acquiring permits for building new Hindu temples was a difficult and cumbersome process and many times ended in delay or denial. He asked for introduction of comparative religion as a subject in high schools, including all the major religions of the world, and added that states should work for more assimilation and inclusiveness of all major religions.
Zed told Pottering that EU should ensure better labeling of foods clarifying that whether the contents included any non-vegetarian (meat, seafood, eggs, etc.) matter or the contents were purely vegetarian.
Rajan Zed further noted that there were reports that in an EU country, schools refused to mention "Hindu" in the "religion" column of student records and asked students/parents to bring certificates to prove that they were Hindu. This practice should be stopped immediately and whatever religion the student (in case he/she was adult) or his/her parents (in case he/she was minor) mention, should be included in the records, Zed stressed.
Zed pointed out that in an EU country, municipalities reportedly avoided writing "Hindu" in the "religion" column on birth certificates and instead wrote "no religion" or left blank. Municipalities in EU area should be clearly directed to write whatever religion parents of the child (whose birth certificate they were issuing) told them to write, without asking any questions.
Zed also mentioned that there were allegations of glass ceiling for top jobs and institutional discrimination."
No equality of religions in Europe
"MALTA CRIMINAL Code reportedly makes one liable to imprisonment up to six months for publicly vilifying 'Roman Catholic Apostolic Religion', while committing such act against 'any cult tolerated by law' makes one liable to imprisonment only up to three months.
Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it seemed to imply that except Roman Catholic, other religions and denominations, including Hinduism, were just one of the cults.
Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued that it was perturbing to note that a country of European Union, which prided itself for its human rights initiatives, apparently treated crimes against religious sentiment of 'other' religions/denominations as less serious than against majority religion and described religions/denominations other than majority religion as cults.
The Venice Commission of Council of Europe in a report concluded that 'offence of blasphemy should be abolished'. It states core values of effective democracy as: pluralism, tolerance, respect for human rights and non-discrimination. It points to education leading to better understanding of the convictions of others and to tolerance."
Hindus ask for compensation for Roma deaths
"Hindus have asked for minimum one million euros compensation for each of the Roma and other victims of lead poisoning in northern Kosovo.
Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was highly shocking to learn that that the world let this environmental health and humanitarian disaster happen in 21st century Europe, which boasts of its human rights record.
According to reports, lead poisoning caused severe and sometimes irreversible organ and brain damage, including death and abortion, to Roma and other families relocated to these camps in a polluted area near a lead smelter in Mitrovica temporarily (some say for maximum 45 days) in 1999 by the United Nations following the Kosovo war on land reportedly highly contaminated with lead, zinc, arsenic and other metals. They still remain on this toxic land, thus further aggravating already existing health problems.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that United Nations, European Union, Kosovo Government, World Health Organization (WHO) and others involved should formally apologize to affected families besides compensating each victim (family of the victim in case the person died due to lead contamination) with minimum one million Euros each.
Rajan Zed further said that an independent enquiry should be instituted into this preventable disaster. Immediately relocate affected families from this so called toxic wasteland, arrange thorough medical treatment for them, find them safe permanent housing, improve their health condition, and provide them livelihood support, Zed adds.
An investigation by Kosovo Ombudsperson Institution concerning this lead contamination, concluded “that the elements of the case give rise to a continuous violation by UNMIK (United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo) of more than one international human rights standards directly applicable in Kosovo, among which the right to life, the right to health, the right to adequate housing, the principle of non-discrimination and several rights enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”"
Hindus urge Norway to treat religions equally in schools
"Hindus and Jews have asked Norway to treat all major religions evenly while teaching religion in its schools.
Rajan Zed, acclaimed Hindu statesman; and Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, prominent Jewish leader in Nevada and California in USA; in a joint statement, said that syllabus of subject “Christian knowledge and religious and ethical education”, taught in Norwegian primary and lower secondary schools, was firmly based in the majority religion and culture, thus resulting in minority faiths getting step-motherly treatment.
According to reports, under this religious education, approximately 55 per cent of the teaching hours are allocated to Christianity; about 25 per cent on Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and other religious diversity and views on life; and approximately 20 per cent on philosophy and ethics. This class is mandatory, without any exceptions for children of other religious groups.
According to Norway Education Act: Teaching in Religion and Ethics shall—provide a “thorough knowledge” of the Bible and Christianity…, provide a “thorough knowledge” of the Evangelical-Lutheran faith and of different Christian denominations, provide “knowledge” of other world religions and philosophies of life, promote understanding and respect for Christian and humanist values,…
Zed and Freirich argued that offering equal treatment to each of the major world religions and non-believers’ viewpoint would make the Norwegian schoolchildren well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow."
"Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights of Council of Europe, in his Viewpoint published on April 27 on Council website, said, “Anti-Gypsyism continues to be a major human rights problem in Europe – governments must start taking serious action against both official and inter-personal discrimination of Roma”.
He cited incidents where Roma children were forced to strip and violently slap one another in a Slovakia police station, sudden eviction of Roma families in Belgrade without alternative accommodation, etc. He asks in the Viewpoint, “Would this have happened to non-Roma?”
A joint statement recently released by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, and the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, said, "Our organisations are deeply concerned by the continuing discriminatory treatment and exclusion of the Roma, and particularly by the recent escalation in hate motivated incidents and racist rhetoric reported in a number of States.”"