In a joint interfaith gesture, Hindu, Jain, Christian, Buddhist, and Jewish religious leaders last week urged the Beverly Hills, Calif.-headquartered Live Nation Entertainment to remove sacred Hindu, Buddhist and Jain icons from its Foundation Room upmarket nightclubs spread across eight major U.S. cities, calling it highly inappropriate.
Foundation Room nightclubs, part of the “House of Blues” network of Live Nation Entertainment, are located in Anaheim, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, New Orleans, according to an email received by India-West.
Hindu Indian American activist Rajan Zed, prominent Buddhist priest Matthew T. Fisher and Jain leader Sulekh C. Jain, among others, said in a joint statement in Nevada that placing highly revered Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain icons to adorn nightclubs was disrespectful, out-of-line, prone to desecration by patrons, and could be disturbing to adherents of these faiths, the email said.
Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that Hindu deities Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva, Lord Rama, Lord Hanuman, goddesses Durga-Saraswati-Parvati-Sita, etc., were meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be thrown around loosely in a nightclub for dramatic effects or mercantile/other agenda. Such denigration of sacred deities was hurtful to the devotees, he added.
Jain stressed that statues of Lord Mahavira and Lord Parshvanatha belonged in temples for veneration and not to be misused or mishandled by the patrons of nightclubs. The Indian American suggested that Live Nation Entertainment could donate these to Jain temples in the U.S. and the Jain community would gladly pay for their transportation.
Within 22 hours of their request to Mandalay Bay Casino to remove the Jain statue of Lord Mahavir from their Foundation Room, the management of the casino graciously agreed to remove the Jain statue, Sulekh Jain said.
According to a FOX5 report from Las Vegas, the Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay announced in a statement June 24 that the venue will remove the statue and apologized to anyone who was offended.
"The Foundation Room’s two-decade plus tradition of promoting racial and spiritual harmony through love, peace, truth, righteousness and non-violence is more important than ever. We deeply apologize to those who are offended by recent images and we will work diligently to ensure such insensitive depictions don’t happen again. Specifically, we are removing the statue Mahavira from our premises. We have always strived to promote dialogue to bring us closer together and are committed to this sentiment moving forward,” the statement said.