05/01/2012 04:57 EDT | Updated 07/01/2012 05:12 EDT

Atheist files complaint with Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission over prayer

SASKATOON - An atheist who says he was offended by a Christian prayer at an event in Saskatoon has filed a complaint with Saskatchewan's Human Rights Commission.

Ashu (AH'-shoo) Solo was at a volunteer appreciation dinner two weeks ago when a city councillor prayed before the meal.

Solo asked the city to apologize and to promise never to use prayer again at civic events, but no apology came.

Letters from across the country supporting the city were on the agenda at a council meeting Monday night.

There were also letters siding with Solo.

Solo says the matter is a human rights issue because it violates the separation of religion and government.

"It's a lot of people strongly supporting me, even Christians who strongly support me, who don't want to see the government used to impose their religious beliefs on other people," he said.

"It's an abuse of office in that they're trying to use their office to impose their religious beliefs on other people. I'm sure most Christians would have a problem if a Muslim got up and offered a prayer according to his religion, or a Scientologist got up and offered a prayer according to his religion."

Solo says it should take about a month for the commission to process his complaint.