Hinduism to be recognized by Belgium

Hinduism to be recognized by Belgium. This is what Rajan Zed wants. Zed said that there was need to reform the way religious groups were recognized and financed in Belgium. He also urged leaders and organizations of various religions active in Belgium to push for recognition of Hinduism as “we were all co-travelers looking for the truth and headed in the same direction”.

Belgian government reportedly accords recognized status to Catholicism, Protestantism (including Pentecostals and evangelicals), Anglicanism, Orthodox (Greek and Russian) Christianity, secular humanist groups, Islam, and Judaism.

Representative bodies for these religious groups receive subsidies from the federal, regional, and local governments. In 2010, government paid about $127 million to recognized religious groups.

Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought. What else Belgium wanted to fulfill its criteria of recognizing Hinduism? All it needed to do was to open a standard book on world religions and most of its doubts would be cleared.

As religious or “moral” instruction was reportedly mandatory in public schools and teachers were provided for recognized religious groups only, it was hindering Hindu children from learning about their own religion, Rajan Zed argued.

According to recently issued “International Religious Freedom Report 2010” on Belgium by US Department of State: “…conditions in Belgium were not optimal for groups regarded as “sects” or “cults”…government officials continued to have the authority to monitor religious groups…reports of societal abuses and discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice continued… sectarian organizations can be investigated… Jewish and Muslim groups reported incidents of discrimination, as did religious groups that had not been accorded official recognition by the government…227 complaints of religious discrimination were received in 2008…”

According to reports, about 60 percent of Belgium’s population identifies itself as Roman Catholic, four percent as Muslim, two percent as Protestant, one percent as Jewish, two percent as belonging to other religious groups, and 31 percent as nonbelievers. There are about 7,000 Hindus.

Belgium, which hosts European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is known for its chocolate, beer, waffles, Bruges, cartographer Gerardus Mercator, Big Bang theorist Georges Lemaître, painter Jan van Eyck, poet Emile Verhaeren, etc.

Druidry recognized as religion in the United Kingdom

The government of UK received an applause from the Hindus around the world for giving official recognition to Druidry as a religion. This is known to be one of the oldest religions of the isles.

Rajan Zed, Hindu statesman , said that all religions were different ways to relate to the Divine, different responses to the Reality and were a positive sign of God’s generosity.

Zed added that a more inclusive understanding of religion was needed and we should learn to live together with mutual loyalty despite our seriously different faiths. He urged world religious leaders to leave behind selfish motives and work together for greater ideals.

Rajan Zed argued that recognition for Druidry should have come much earlier as Druidry, one of the earliest known spiritual traditions of United Kingdom, had been reportedly practiced in the area for thousands of years, much before the arrival of other religions.

The decision by Charity Commission for England and Wales means that Druidry will enjoy the status of a genuine faith. Board Members were satisfied that “there is sufficient belief in a supreme being or entity to constitute a religion”.

Consideration of the various characteristics of a religion by the Commission include: belief in a supreme being or entity; worship of, reverence for or veneration of the supreme being or entity; cogency, cohesion, seriousness and importance in the belief system; an identifiable positive, beneficial, moral or ethical framework promoted by the belief system.

The Charity Commission registers and regulates charities in England and Wales. Dame Suzi Leather is Chair of its Board.

Definition and practice of Druidry as given in registration application includes: Druidry was the native spiritual tradition of the peoples who inhabited the islands of Britain and Ireland, spreading through much of Europe. As an ancient pagan religion, Druidry is based on the reverential, sacred and honourable relationship between the people and the land. Druidic practice is based on honour for the ancestors. And lastly, All life is deemed to be unconditionally sacred.

Zed appeals for sincere re-look at non-violence on “International Day of Non-Violence”

World needed to sincerely re-look at non-violence, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed stated in his message for “International Day of Non-Violence” marked by United Nations on peace icon Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday which falls on October two.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that non-violence was held as one of the greatest virtues in Hinduism and expressed the sacredness of life. Let us take a vow on this day to lead our lives without hurting others, Zed added in his statement issued in Nevada (USA) today.

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) was one of the few men in history to fight simultaneously on moral, religious, political, social, economic, and cultural fronts. He is held in high esteem globally for his philosophy of non-violence, his commitment to world peace, and his work for the upliftment of the downtrodden.