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Hindus urge religious solidarity on poverty front

News Release, Tue, 23 Dec 2008 NI Wire

Lauding Pope's call on fighting poverty, Hindus have urged all religions to come together on this issue and make poverty eradication a moral priority.

US based Hindu religious leader Rajan Zed, in a statement, said that poverty was a monumental crisis and biggest challenge facing world today and it should be dealt at an emergency level. All religions should join hands to hone a common ground to deal with this grave crisis in the most effective way.

Zed, who is the president of Universal Society of Hinduism, agreed with Pope Benedictus XVI's message under "Fighting Poverty to Build Peace" on World Day of Peace (January 1) posted at Vatican website, which said, "…we all share in a single divine plan: we are called to form one family in which all – individuals, peoples and nations – model their behaviour according to the principles of fraternity and responsibility."

Rajan Zed pointed out that world religions should develop a global partnership to stamp out hunger and poverty, promote gender parity, battle AIDS and other diseases, bring about environment sustainability, and ensure universal basic education. As all the faith traditions told us to help the poor, so we as world's religious leaders should give priority to the needs of the poor.

He further stressed that religions needed to redouble their efforts in poverty eradication as poverty and suffering were more pervasive than previously estimated. Economics, politics, and markets should also take an ethical approach. Pope was very right when he said, "…peace can be built only if everyone is assured the possibility of reasonable growth".

Rajan Zed further said that problems like severe malnutrition; spiralling food prices; ineffectual government programs; lack of access to medical facilities, potable water, energy sources, sanitation; illiteracy; etc., required to be immediately dealt with world over. Poverty had lead to many other societal problems, which we faced today.

Zed warned that world should wake up to the magnitude of the emergency of poverty. Raising people above the poverty line was an achievable task. It just needed strong political and social will and should be treated as a crisis.

Religion was the most powerful and far-reaching force in our society and could prove very influential in handling common concerns like human improvement, peace, ecological responsibility, social & economic development, etc., Rajan Zed added.

Pope Benedict heads the Roman Catholic Church, which is the largest of the Christian denominations. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents. Moksha is the ultimate goal of Hinduism.

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