Hindus urge Germany to be more open to ‘other religions’ and ‘outsiders’

Nevada (US), Dec 31: Hindus have urged Germany to adopt more pluralistic approach.

Well known Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Germany needed to have a comprehensive and honest debate and open-hearted dialogue about integration and pluralism and be more open to "other" religions.

According to a recently concluded survey on religious plurality in Europe by University of Munster and TNS Emnid, the Germans are much less tolerant of Muslims and other non-Christian religions than their Western European neighbors.

"They are also less willing to concede equal rights to other religions. Compared to the other Europeans, their image of Hindus, Buddhists and Jews is more negative", according to Professor Detlef Pollack, who was director of the study.

The survey points out that only 49 per cent of respondents in West Germany and 53 per cent in East Germany think that all religious groups should have equal rights as compared to 86 per cent in France.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that German politicians should be more tolerant to "outsiders" and instead of blaming multiculturalism as a failure, they should make more efforts to create a society where all Germans could learn to live together in peace and mutual trust despite seriously different traditions, beliefs and backgrounds.

In a speech in Potsdam (Germany) on October 16, Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly said that the so-called 'multikulti' concept, where people would 'live side-by-side' happily, utterly failed; and anybody not speaking German was not welcome. Horst Seehofer, Prime Minister of Bavaria, Germany's largest and oldest state, was quoted as saying that 'multikulti' was dead and there was no room in Germany for more people from alien cultures. Various other German politicians had also expressed strong anti-immigrant feelings in the recent past.

Rajan Zed pointed out that Merkel and others should show more maturity and responsibility when talking about "others" who were simply different, and not give in to unnecessary hysteria. It was simply irresponsible to stigmatize an entire ethnic community. Germany needed to stay away from the racist sentiment and chauvinism and check the facts on immigration more closely. "Others" living in Germany were also human beings and should have the same rights as any German.

Hindu statesman Zed quoted "Leviticus 19:33-34": "When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you. You shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God."

Country of Ludwig van Beethoven, Martin Luther, Albert Einstein, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms, Bertolt Brecht, Max Planck, Hermann von Helmholtz, Joseph von Fraunhofer, Gottfried Leibniz, Friedrich Schiller, Brothers Grimm, Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, University of Heidelberg, about 103 Nobel laureates, Oktoberfest, etc., needed to learn to be more inclusive, seek a unity that celebrated diversity, and create a national dialogue based upon mutual trust and understanding, Rajan Zed added.

Copyright Asian News International/DailyIndia.com