Hindus have commended International Conference “Religion for the Benefit of People” held at Sofia (Bulgaria) on August 3-4 for attempts at building bridges, but were critical of it for ignoring Hindus.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was wonderful to bring various religions/denominations together at one platform for dialogue and arriving at a common ground, but Sofia Conference organizers should have included Hindus in the summit because Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about a billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that serious and honest interfaith dialogue was the need of the hour. More religions/denominations/organizations should come forward for interreligious summits about common religious concerns like human improvement, peace, ecological responsibility, social & economic development, etc., Zed added.
Participating religions/denominations/organizations in this international religion conference reportedly included Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Catholic Exarchate, Armenian Apostolic Church, Islam, Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom”, Russian Orthodox Church, etc. Besides Bulgaria; Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders from about 20 countries, including Turkey, Israel, Russia, Georgia, Romania, Cyprus, Greece, Macedonia; attended. Some of the religious leaders reportedly present were: Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, Head Rabbi of Tel Aviv (Israel) Meir Lau, Metropolitan Cyril of Varna, Bulgaria Head Mufti Mustafa Hadgi, Xanthi Bishop Panteleimon of Greece, etc.
Conference topics of discussion reportedly included religious and ethnic peace, upbringing of young people, challenges for religions in the current world crisis, poverty, rising nationalism, tolerance in society, etc. “Can different religions solve their problems together?” was also discussed. Second such conference is proposed for October 2012 in Varna (Bulgaria).
Some other world religions; like Buddhism, Sikhism, Baha’ism, Jainism, Shinto, Confucianism, Daoism, and Zoroastrianism; also reportedly went unrepresented in this Conference.