NORWAY, March 24, 2015 (NRK): Norway’s fourth Tamil temple has opened, in Alesund. Three priests, from England, Denmark and Oslo, came to do a “water vessel ceremony” to consecrate the place, which will be repeated every twelve years. “In order for a building to be considered a temple it must be consecrated. If it has not been blessed there won’t be any spiritual power.” says Rasathurai Sathinalingam who is chairman of the board at Alesund Hindu Cultural Center. “Now that we have a permanent meeting place it will be easier to give a religious education to our children,” explains Mrs. Suki Ponnuthurai.
About 350 Hindus live in the surrounding More and Romsdal coastal district. Even though the temple is primarily for Hindus, people of other faiths are welcome. “Yes, everyone can come here,” Sathinalingam exclaims. Among those who came to express congratulations to the Hindu community on this occasion was Oystein Engas, head of the Norwegian Lutheran Mission. Despite the fact that Engas is head of the local missionary work, he says that it is good for Christians to practice tolerance for other religions and he emphasizes that there will be no attempts to try to convert any of the Hindus here.
[HPI adds: The Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora has created small community groups of Tamils in small cities around Norway. One such place is Alesund on the west coast of Norway. Their presence, customs and religion is seen as something really exotic and different to most Lutheran Norwegians who constitute the overwhelming majority of the population. That a Hindu temple could open in such an environment is looked at with a sense of awe. A couple of reporters were sent out to cover the story. See Source above for their video. This is translated from the Ny Norsk language of western Norway, and the place names are reproduced without the language’s special diacritical marks.