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Hindu prayer appeal in Iceland Parliament rejected
A request for inclusion of some Hindu verses before the inaugural session of the Iceland Parliament on October 1 has been disapproved. The appeal was made by a Hindu activist, Rajan Zed to the deputy secretary general of the Iceland parliament.
THE REQUEST for a Hindu opening prayer before the start of next Iceland Parliament session on October 1 has been rejected.


Replying to the Hindu leader Rajan Zed's request, deputy secretary general of Althingi (Icelandic parliament) Thorsteinn Magnússon wrote, "There is a long tradition for conducting a Lutheran mass at the opening of the Parliament and there are no plans to change this tradition."


On October 1, every year since 1845, the new session of the Icelandic Parliament opens with a mass in the Cathedral in Iceland, organised by the Evangelical Lutheran Church (the state church in Iceland). According to Magnusson, there is no process to request for change regarding opening prayers at the Parliament. A priest designated by the Bishop of Iceland conducts the mass.


Althingi is believed to have been established at Thingvellir (about 40 km east of Reykjavík) in 930 AD and is functioning in Reykjavik since 1845. Under the terms of the Constitution of the Republic of Iceland (founded in 1944), the Iceland Parliament, together with the President of the Republic, exercises legislative power.


Rajan Zed, who is the president of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a communique to Sturla Boovarsson, president of Althingi, has requested recitation of a short opening prayer from ancient Hindu scriptures before the opening of the next Parliament session on October 1, 2008.
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