ARNSBERG, GERMANY, June 14, 2013 (Spiegel): The Hindu Temple in Hamm is one of the largest in Europe. Now, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has to recognize the temple club as a religious community and thus equate it with the Christian churches. This was decided in a recently published judgment of the Administrative Court of Arnsberg. The association had sued after the rejection of its application for recognition as a corporation under public law against the country. NRW can still appeal against the verdict in a higher court.
The status gives the Hindu community in Germany and Europe a representation. The court based its decision, in part, on the "significant religious needs" of the temple and the underlying association. The temple has become an important pilgrimage site of international importance. The annual temple festival draws up to 20,000 people.
The temple in Hamm-Uentrop was built in Germany in 2002 -- the first using traditional Hindu temple architecture. The construction cost of US$2 million was met by donations from the faithful. An earlier form of the temple was started in 1989. The temple association, along with pastoral care, operates schools and is committed to the care of the sick, migrants and prisoners.
Under the judgment (Case No. 12 C 2195/12) the Temple Association is a corporation under public law. This status is associated with several advantages, such as tax benefits and the right to regulate working conditions through their own canon law.