Wednesday, December 15, 2010


FREDERICIA, Denmark (FP) - Children skip across the roof of a mosque and play hide and seek in a Hindu temple: this unusual playground is designed to build tolerance as religious relations are cooling in Denmark. Volunteers from various faiths in Fredericia helped to create the seaside playground, which opened in August in a town proud of its 18th-century role as a refuge for Europe’s persecuted. There is a green mosque with a golden dome, a red and white brick village church and a brightly coloured Hindu temple.
“It is fun to see what a mosque looks like and a Hindu temple and to play with children from other religions,” says nine-year-old Caroline as she scrambles among the model buildings. “It is good to through tolerance seek to prevail over prejudice,” says Mehdi Mozaffari, a professor of Islam and Islamism at the Aarhus University.

And the playground is “a great way for parents to introduce their children to other religions and cultures”, says Hanne Ravn, in her 50s, who lives in a neighbouring village. “It is important for parents to talk to their children, to teach them to be tolerant and open to others, from a young age,” she says.
“It allows us, through games, to learn more about other religions,” says Joydal Sritharan, a 12-year-old Dane of Sri Lankan origin and one of very few Hindus living in Denmark. Sritharan’s grand uncle Antoni, a Hindu patriarch visiting from the Netherlands, agrees. “It is a good thing to teach children other ways to get to know each other,” he says.

Fredericia mayor Thomas Banke is mindful of the religious disputes behind so many of the world's conflicts. "This is why it is essential to teach children that religion must be used not for killing each other, but to talk to each other, play together, whatever our beliefs," he says, adding he's proud municipal funds contributed to the "bridge between religions" playground. Many religions have sprung up, and some give stress on penance, some on charity, some on prayer, etc. There are even so many branches into each religion, and each one proclaims to be the most important. We need to find harmony among all, and recognize the true essence common in each.

Student: Why are there are so many different religions in the world?
Śrīla Sridhara Mahārāja: In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Uddhava posed this same question, “Why in the name of religion are there so many “isms” in the world? Will every “ism” that is found here independently take me to the goal? Or is there any gradation?” Krishna told him, “When the creation began, I transmitted the truths of religion into the heart of Brahma, the creator; and from Brahma, that came to his disciples. But according to the different capacity of those disciples, what they received was a little changed when they delivered it to others. ... There must be religious differences, but one who can catch the real internal meaning of the truth will be saved. Others will be misguided, and it will be a long time before they are delivered. Once having a real connection with a bona fide guru, he won’t be lost. In this way Krsna answered Uddhava’s question in the Eleventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, and it is quite intelligible. It is neither unreasonable nor dogmatic. If we are sincere, we won’t be lost.

Śrīla Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Mahārāja :
“Sri Guru & His Grace”
Chapter Nine: “A Religious Jungle”
Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library

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