A Hindu spiritual leader from Nevada is disappointed he won't be allowed to lead a prayer in the P.E.I. legislature, and says the province should review its rules.
'It's bringing awareness to other religions.' — Rajan Zed
Rajan Zed made a formal request to give the opening prayer at Province House, but the request was denied because the Speaker of the house is the only person allowed to deliver the daily blessing.
"I was really surprised. I thought Prince Edward Island is an open society. I was expecting a positive response," Zed told CBC News in a telephone interview Tuesday.
"I think Prince Edward Island needs to have another look and change their policies and let other people, let different kinds of prayers [be] held."
Zed first learned about P.E.I. when he was a child and read Anne of Green Gables, a novel that he said left a lasting impression on him. It was that lifelong interest that led to his request to deliver the opening prayer in the legislature.
Zed has read the opening prayer in several political arenas, including the U.S. Senate. He said it's rare to be turned down. He's also made a request to the New Brunswick legislature and he's still waiting for a reply.
According to the latest census, there are only 35 Hindu worshippers on P.E.I., but Zed said that doesn't matter to him.
"It's not bringing awareness to Hinduism. It's bringing awareness to other religions," he said.
"Prince Edward Island, I'm telling you, it will open up one day but it may take some time."
Zed said he won't try changing the rules on P.E.I. He'll leave that up to the politicians.