City of Reno proclaims a day after Rajan Zed led interfaith-forum


Kemmannu News Network, 31-08-2012 14:34:20


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City of Reno (Nevada, USA) has proclaimed August 29, 2012 as “Faith Forum Day” after acclaimed religious statesman Rajan Zed coordinated “Faith Forum”, a highly popular one-of-a-kind weekly dialogue on religion at a Gannett publication which has completed 83 weeks without any gap.

Zed, who has been bestowed with “World Interfaith Leader Award”, led a panel of distinguished leaders of various religions and denominations to produce this weekly discussion Forum in Pulitzer Prize winner Reno Gazette-Journal (RGJ), involving important religious issues affecting the area-country-world.

Reno Vice Mayor David Aiazzi (4thfrom left), RGJ Publisher John Maher (6th from left), Faith Forum coordinator Rajan Zed (5th from left) and Faith Forum panelists and Reno City Council members after proclamation of Faith Forum Day.

Reno Vice Mayor David Aiazzi read and presented the Mayor Robert A. Cashell signed proclamation carrying City Seal to Rajan Zed and other Faith Forum panelists in the Reno City Council meeting on August 29, congratulating panelists and RGJ Publisher John Maher and Executive Editor Beryl Love. Maher also received the proclamation and spoke on the occasion.

Panelists currently include: Brother Matthew Cunningham, Chancellor of Roman Catholic Diocese of Reno (RCDR); Dr. Stephen Bond, Senior Pastor of Summit Christian Church in Sparks; Nicholas F. Frey, Area Public Affairs Director of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS); Dr. Sherif A. Elfass, President of Northern Nevada Muslim Community; Reverend Jikai’ Phil Bryan, Priest & Meditation Guide of Reno Buddhist Center; ElizaBeth W. Beyer, Rabbi of Temple Beth Or in Reno; Dr. Bradley S. Corbin, Baha’i Teacher; Father Stephen Karcher, Priest of St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Church in Reno. Dr. William Tell Gifford, Religion Professor of Truckee Meadows Community College; Dr. Thomas Butler, Pastor of Sparks United Methodist Church; R. Bruce Brinkerhoff  of LDS; Sharla S. Hales, Assistant Area Public Affairs Director of LDS; and Monique Jacobs, Director of Faith Formation of RCDR; have also participated in it.

City of Sparks (Nevada, USA), lead by Mayor Geno R. Martini, also issued a Commendation certificate in March last to Faith Forum “for creating this constructive dialog which has helped to foster mutual understanding, trust, and loyalty in the community”.

Beryl Love says that this Forum is a model on how to engage the community on a subject matter that touches their daily lives and hearts. It will continue, he adds.

Rajan Zed points out: Religion is complex. Religion is powerful. Religion is much more than our own particular tradition. There are interconnections and interdependencies between religions and there are differences. If we dig deeper, we shall find that we have more in common than in conflict. Faith Forum attempts to create harmony in the community.

RGJ, whose traces go back to 1870 and which has been recognized for its journalistic excellence, is one of the leading newspapers of Nevada and produces various other print and online publications also. McLean (Virginia, USA) headquartered Gannett is an international media and marketing solutions company headed by Gracia C. Martore.

Rajan Zed is a religious statesman who has taken up interfaith, religion, environment, Roma (Gypsies) and other causes all over the world. Read opening prayers in US Senate, various state senates and houses of representatives, counties and city councils all over the country. Invited by President of European Parliament in Brussels for a meeting to promote interfaith dialogue. Has been panelist for “On Faith”, a prestigious interactive conversation on religion produced by The Washington Post. President of Universal Society of Hinduism, Senior Fellow and Religious Advisor to New York headquartered Foundation for Religious Diplomacy, Director of Interfaith Relations of Nevada Clergy Association, Spiritual Advisor to National Association of Interchurch & Interfaith Families, etc.

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Hindus ask popular gaming event PAX to disallow videogame trivializing goddess Kali

Hindus have urged one of the largest gaming event in North America “PAX Prime”, being held at Seattle (USA) from August 31 to September two, not to allow play and distribution of SMITE videogame, which they say trivializes highly revered deities of Hinduism.

It was reportedly announced that SMITE will be playable on 50 stations at the PAX booth of its Alpharetta (Georgia, USA) headquartered developer Hi-Rez Studios and SMITE packages could be picked up at its store at promotional pricing.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that such a prominent gaming event; whose sponsors included prestigious companies like multinational semiconductor chip maker Intel, should show responsibility and respect the feelings of upset Hindus.

Hindus are upset at this online video action game SMITE in which the players assume the direct control of Hindu deities of Kali, Vamana and Agni. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, has already urged Hi-Rez Studios to immediately remove the Hindu gods from the game stressing that in a video game set-up; the player would control the movements of goddess Kali and other Hindu deities, while in reality the devotees put the destinies of themselves in the hands of their deities.

Rajan Zed argued that reimagining Hindu scriptures and deities for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Controlling and manipulating goddess Kali and other Hindu deities with a joystick/ button/keyboard/mouse was denigration. Goddess Kali and other Hindu deities were meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and not meant to be reduced to just a “character” in a video game to be used in combat in the virtual battleground.

Video game makers should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, as these games left lasting impact on the minds of highly impressionable children, teens and other young people, Zed added.

Catholics, Jews and Buddhists have already supported the Hindus perturbed by this inappropriate usage of Kali and other Hindu deities.

PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) Prime Seattle, which includes festival long tournament Omegathon, has been described as celebration of gamer culture.

Website of online video game developer Hi-Rez Studios described videogame SMITE as an “online battleground between mythical gods” in which players choose from a selection of gods. Erez Goren and Todd Harris are Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer respectively of Hi-Rez Studios, established in 2005 to provide online interactive entertainment.

Goddess Kali, who personifies Shakti or divine energy and considered the goddess of time and change, is widely worshipped in Hinduism. Vamana is the fifth avatar of Vishnu (the “preserver” in the Hindu triad with Brahma and Shiva as the aspect of the Supreme, who had ten incarnations to establish dharma). Agni is one of the most significant Vedic deities, second most frequently invoked in Rig-Veda.

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