Hindu activist Rajan Zed has called on newly re-elected Icelandic president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson to introduce multi-faith prayers at the start of parliament this September.
Traditionally, the first day of parliament begins with a Lutheran mass at the Dómskirkjan cathedral. Members of parliament are not obliged to attend, although many of them do. In a press release from Rajan Zed – a prominent Hindu activist who gained international attention in 2007 due to a controversy in the US Senate over opening with a Hindu prayer – he calls upon the Icelandic president “to introduce multi-faith prayers by leaders of major religions instead of just Lutheran mass at the Reykjavík Cathedral”. The statement continues:
Rajan Zed pointed out that Iceland was becoming increasingly religiously diverse nation and the nation’s Parliament should represent all Icelanders instead of just one denomination. This tradition needed to be relooked at and changed to a more inclusive event. Moreover, this breached the equality of religions, Zed added.
Statistics Iceland does not list a category for Hindus in Iceland, who are instead classified as “Other”.
This is not the first time Zed has made the request. He also called for the same action in 2008, when his request was rejected.