FORUM OF EUROPE LAUNCHED
(13 June 2007)
organisations from all over Europe joined together to launch the
Hindu Forum of Europe on 13 June 2007at the European Parliament
in Brussels and it aims to be a first point of contact for the European
Commission, European Parliament and other EU institutions in dealing
with issues like participation of European Hindus in public policy,
interfaith cooperation and EU legislation.
the presence of senior Parliamentary presence from Britain, European
MEPs and Ambassadors, the launch event was hosted by British MEP
Robert Evans, and supported by MEPs from many EU nations. Home Office
Minister of State for Security and Policing from the UK, Tony McNulty
MP, who hosts one the countrys largest Hindu population in
his constituency, was one of the key-note speakers at the event.
that have joined together to form the Hindu Forum of Europe (HFE)
include the Hindu Council of the Netherlands, Hindu Forum of Belgium,
Hindu Forum of Britain, Italian Hindu Union and the National Council
of Hindu Temples UK.
Bhatia, President of the National Council of Hindu Temples UK, was
elected the President of the Hindu Forum of Europe by its Administrative
Council. Mahaprabhu Dasa from the Hindu Forum of Belgium was elected
the Secretary and three Vice Presidents were also elected on the
HFE Board, and they include Harilal Halai, Chair of the Cultural
Committee of the Hindu Forum of Britain, Swamini Hamsananda Giri,
Secretary of the Italian Hindu Union and Bikram Singh, Secretary
of the Hindu Council of the Netherlands.
Bhatia, President of the Hindu Forum of Europe, said: The
organisation was formed as a result of several meetings between
Europe wide Hindu bodies held in Belgium and London, which identified
a gap in communication between EU institutions and the 1.5 million
Hindus living in Europe.
have four areas of interest: EU legislation and community consultation;
interfaith cooperation in Europe; and promotion of positive images
of the European Hindu community; and protection of human rights
and security issues. Now, European legislators and policy makers
will have a forum to communicate effectively with a community that
has made such a substantial contribution to the European way of
Halai, Vice President of HFE, added: The British Hindu community,
which numbers 750,000 is the largest in Europe. We hope that our
experience of engaging with the British government in contributing
to the cohesion and integration agendas of this country will go
a long way in making a difference in Europe.
Singh, another Vice President of HFE commented: Holland has
the second largest Hindu community in Europe, and already has five
state-funded Hindu schools and a TV channel dedicated exclusively
to Hindu programmes. We hope that the HFE can make a big difference
in how Dutch Hindus reach out to the rest of Europe.
guests at the launch included the Ambassadors of South Africa and
Mauritius, leading figures from the European bodies of other faith
communities and officials from EU institutions
Hamsananda Giri, who speaks on behalf of the Hindu community at
several interfaith events, said, We believe that the Hindu
Forum of Europe will provide a wonderful opportunity for us to speak
to the other faith communities at a pan-European level. This will
help in increasing bilateral and multi-lateral dialogue between
Hindus and the other faith communities in Europe.
Dasa, concluded. It is with great pleasure that the Hindu
Community of Belgium welcomes the creation of a European Hindu body
and since Belgium is at the heart of Europe we hope that we can
facilitate the dialogue between the Hindu Communities around Europe
and the European institutions like the Parliament, Commission and
Council. We also hope that Europeans will perceive Hindus as a positive
contribution to the multi cultural European society.