US based Hindu religious leader, Rajan Zed has backed the demand for inclusion of traditional African religions at inter-religious centre at the Rio Olympic Games 2016. According to reports, the inter-religious centre at the Olympic Village (which will host over 17,000 athletes and officials) will have a room for each of the following religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada today, urged International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and Rio 2016 Organizing Committee President Carlos Arthur Nuzman to add one such room for traditional African religions also.
Rajan Zed indicated that there were estimated over 100 million adherents of traditional African religions, including about 600,000 in Brazil itself. Moreover, Olympics needed to be more inclusive and not exclusionary.
Zed further said that Rio Olympic Games should celebrate diversity as existence of different religions was a sign of God’s generosity and was positively willed by God.
Rajan Zed, however, thanked Rio Olympic Games for recognizing the intersection of spirituality and sports by creating inter-religious centre at the Olympic Village, saying that it was a step in the positive direction. It was highly important to meet the spiritual needs of all participating athletes, Zed added.
Rio Olympic Games 2016, from August 5 to 21 in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), will see 206 countries participating in 42 sports disciplines, reports added.