Toronto at Night by Benson Kua
Toronto at Night by Benson Kua

Special to

Concerned at the recent religion poll, Hindus have called Canada to organize a nationwide interfaith dialogue as a high-priority.

In view of Maclean’s magazine’s recent poll “What Canadians think of Sikhs, Jews, Christians, Muslims . . .”, which Maclean’s itself calls “disturbing”, acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed today urged Canada government to form a nationwide council for interreligious dialogue, including the leaders of major religions and non-believers. Similar councils should be formed in all the ten provinces, three territories, and ten major cities.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement today in Nevada (USA), said that Canada should introduce study of comparative religion in all public and private schools so that “we could understand each other better, see interrelations and inter-reliance among religions and even resemblance in doctrines.”

Rajan Zed argues that religion is a complex element of our lives and religion comprises much more than one’s own individual experience or specific tradition. God, as a sign of God’s munificence and benevolence, constructively wished presence of different faiths.

Zed pointed out, “We are all looking for the truth and we are all gravitated towards the same direction. In our shared exploration for truth, we can learn from one another and thus come closer to the truth. Dialogue will bring us reciprocal enrichment.  Dialogue helps us triumph over the biases, typecasting, and caricatures, handed down to us from previous generations.”

Rajan Zed listed cities where councils for interreligious dialogue should be formed initially as: Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Vancouver, London, Ottawa, Hamilton, and Quebec City. Later on these councils may be extended to other cities as well.

Canada, besides various Christian denominations, is home to considerable number of Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, aboriginal spirituality, etc., and about 16 percent with no religious affiliation. A 2006 Ipsos Reid Survey of Christian religious attitudes indicates that approximately 17 percent of the population attends a Christian church on a weekly basis. The Government observes Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Christmas Day as national holidays. Ontario funds Catholic religious education, while providing no funding for other religious schools.

Maclean’s, founded in 1905 and based in Toronto, claims to be Canada’s only national weekly current affairs magazine, which enlightens, engages and entertains 2.8 million readers. Kenneth Whyte is Editor-in-Chief. Canada, with Stephen Harper as Prime Minister, is second largest country of the world. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.