In a remarkable interfaith gesture, northern Nevada clergy accorded reception to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed in Reno on July 22 evening to honor his recent opening of United States House of Representatives in Washington DC with a prayer.
Christians (various denominations), Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews, Baha'is, Jains and Zoroastrians joined to celebrate various achievements of Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism.
Organized by Nevada Clergy Association (NCA) and hosted by Saint Anthony Greek Orthodox Church, various religious, political and civic leaders listed Rajan Zed's various achievements in the areas of religion, interfaith dialogue, Roma (Gypsies) people of Europe, Hinduism and helping the helpless.
Besides Zed, other speakers included Nevada Senator Greg Brower, Sparks Mayor Geno R. Martini, Nevada Solicitor General C. Wayne Howle, Reno City Council Member Sharon Zadra, Nevada Clergy Association President Right Reverend Gene Savoy, Jr., Roman Catholic Diocese of Reno Curia Moderator Reverend Robert W. Chorey, Quorum of the Seventy Member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints George Marion Keele, Saint Anthony Greek Orthodox Church Presiding Priest Father Stephen R. Karcher, International Church Fellowship Bishop Dr. William John Wynn, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd Pastor Paul J. Bodin, Dr. Muhammed A. Quddus of Northern Nevada Muslim Community, Matthew T. Fisher of Reno Buddhist Center, Jewish youth leader Daniel R. Sanchez and Baha'i teacher Roya Galata.
Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish and Baha'i prayers were read on the occasion in English, Arabic, Pali and Hebrew. Oscar Dallas Smith, III, rendered invocation on flute; Thakur Chakrapani Singh performed on Kachhapi Veena and was accompanied by Peter Fairley on tabla; Spirit Singers, lead by Leslie Alice Fudge, delivered a goodwill song; Tsurunokai Taiko gave a drumming item directed by Diane Wong; and Toni de Salvo of Church of the Good Shepherd accompanied by Chrissy Greenawalt provided prayer response on hand bells.
Rajan Zed was garlanded by Mayor Martini, Bishop Savoy, Father Karcher, Keele and Fisher. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, in a signed letter to Zed, said: "I am honored that this religious leader is part of the Reno Community and the State of Nevada". United States Congressman Mark E. Amodei, in a letter to Zed on the occasion, wrote: "Rajan Zed has been a proponent for religious diversity as seen through his continual push for open dialogue and discussion with important and complex issues".
Zed, speaking on the occasion, stated: We are all looking for the truth and are headed in the same direction. Dialogue brings us mutual enrichment and helps us overcome caricatures and prejudices passed on to us by previous generations. Let us learn from each other and live harmoniously.
NCA President Savoy says that Nevada is proud of Zed's spreading the message of peace and love nationwide and worldwide through prayer.
Rajan Zed has also read the opening prayer in United States Senate in Washington DC in 2007; besides reading opening prayers in State Senates of Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Indiana, Alaska; State Assemblies/Houses-of-Representatives of Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Alaska; city councils of Phoenix, San Jose, Las Vegas, Fresno, Bakersfield, Anaheim, Hartford (Connecticut); in addition to various other city councils in California, Nevada, Utah, Maryland, Virginia; and county commissions/boards in California, Nevada and Utah. Many cities in USA have named October 25 as "Rajan Zed Day".
Zed, bestowed with World Interfaith Leader Award, is a global Hindu and interfaith leader, who besides taking up the cause of religion worldwide, has also raised huge voice against the apartheid faced by about 15-million Roma (Gypsies) in Europe.