Brussels, Dec.11 (ANI): A delegation of Hindus have approached the European Parliament with a demand to give recognition to the community in its 27 member states.
A memorandum to this effect was presented to European Parliament (EP) President Hans-Gert Pottering on Wednesday.
American Indian community leader Rajan Zed met Pottering in his Brussels office and discussed issues related to the Hindu community, while advocating promotion of inter-faith dialogue.
He listed fifteen European Hindu issues, besides recognition.
They included announcing Diwali as a major festival of the 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.
Others included acquiring permits for building new Hindu temples, introduction of comparative religion as a subject in high schools, including all the major religions of the world and European states should work for more assimilation and inclusiveness of all major religions.
The EU should also ensure a better labeling of foods, clarifying whether the contents included any non-vegetarian (meat, seafood, eggs,) matter or the contents were purely vegetarian.
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.
This was the first major formal visit of a Hindu leader to EP during the current European Year of Intercultural Dialogue (EYID). Various other world religious leaders who visited EP as part of EYID include Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew, Dalai Lama, Grand Mufti of Syria and Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.
Rajan Zed stated in the memo that Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with a rich philosophical thought. EP and EU should be more attentive to the needs of Hinduism and Hindus, he concluded. (ANI)