Hindus have welcomed the raising of the Norse Pagan temple to be reportedly constructed in Iceland’s capital Reykjavik, starting next month.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, termed it as step in the positive direction for Iceland and Europe, signaling inclusivity and freedom of religion.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, commended the Reykjavik City Council for donating the land for this temple. Zed hoped that Council would also donate some land for the Hindu temple when local Hindus were ready to build their temple.
Said to be Scandinavia’s first Norse temple in 1,000 years since the Viking age, its structure (350 square meters) on a forested hill overlooking Reykjavik will reportedly be in the form of a half-buried circular dome, with roof allowing sunlight to enter. Both Reykjavik University and the University of Iceland are nearby. Temple will expectedly open in the summer of 2016. Iceland’s Asatruarfelagid (Asatru Association) will reportedly raise about $975,000 for building costs.
This seemed to be an effort of the descendants of Vikings to get back to their ancestral roots and the world should welcome it, Rajan Zed pointed out.
Stressing interfaith dialogue, Zed says that in our shared pursuit for the truth, we can learn from one another and thus can arrive nearer to the truth. Dialogue may help us vanquish the stereotypes, prejudices, caricatures, etc., passed on to us from previous generations.
When Iceland was constituted as a republic in year 930, it was based on the heathen religion. Currently, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland, the National church established by law, claims about 80% of Iceland’s population as members; and the rest are divided between Evangelical Lutheran Free Churches, Roman Catholic Church, Pentecostal, Buddhists, Baha’is, Muslims, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Orthodox, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Hindus, etc. Iceland is also said to have one of the highest rates of nonbelievers in the world and Norse Paganism is reportedly the second biggest religion after Christianity in Iceland. Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson reportedly leads Asatruarfelagid.
Cinematic Iceland is famous for its active volcanoes, hot springs and geysers; whose settlement began in 874 CE.