----Religion, Cultural Diversity and Safeguarding Australia
See also my previous post:
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updated, Oct 26, 2006
Putting feeling into content
Government bodies, academia and information providers are increasingly adopting podcasts to exapnd the reach of thier message. IWR discovers the benefits of podcasting
By Tracey Caldwell 06 Oct 2006
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From GUI to E(motional) UI, September 11, 2006
"In 1988, Apple Computer produced some video scenarios showing how future computers would be able to understand hand gestures, read text, and respond to voice commands. Almost 20 years later, the world is still waiting for a natural way of using computers—though we are beginning to see some of our wildest dreams slowly emerge from the chaos of high technology and become real. In 2006, it is easy to believe that the masses will soon be able to use a computer without any keyboard or mouse. Beyond the constrained space of our personal computer's monitor, keyboard, and mouse, I'm looking for the sort of revolution that would overtake the wild dream of Blade Runner. I can envision huge 3D virtual worlds and systems that are smart enough to feel a user’s mood and respond intelligently. Now, where do you want to go today?" (Leandro Agrò - UXmatters) continue reading
The Mahim episode was an eye-opener, triggering a debate not just in Mumbai, but in the country, over Faith Vs Science.
All through August 19, thousands of Muslims poured into Mumbai from all parts of the country, heading for the Mahim sea front in central Mumbai, where ‘sweet water’ was first discovered on a Friday night.
In preparation for Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October 2006, the North American peace church relief and development agency, Mennonite Central Committee, is working with US congregations to help pastors and church leaders gain tools to understand and respond to situations of sexual abuse or violation that impact the congregation writes Marla Pierson Lester for MCC. Continue reading
Rather belatedly, I am listening to two August broadcasts by Andy Kershaw, focusing on Rai music in Algeria. These are excellent programmes, comparable to his similar recorded travels elsewhere in the world which I have mentioned before on this blog. A highlight is a 'live' recording of Rachid Taha. There are a number of other recordings by other artistes (in a variety of locations, including a hotel bedroom!). Radio 3, Andy Kershaw in Algeria
The BBC are also presenting a series of programmes under the banner 'Unconvering Iran'. This includes TV and radio materials. I haven't had a chance to listen to them yet, as there are several hours worth of material. Continue reading...
Multicultural, multilingual and determined to defend her right to be so, prominent author Elif Şafak's ruffling of establishment feathers in Turkey has resulted in a lawsuit for “denigrating the Turkish national identity” that begins here Thursday.
The novels of the 35-year-old Şafak, peopled with uprooted characters that switch nationality, religion and even sex, has managed to offend almost all sectors of Turkey's complex establishment. continue reading
A student organization is out to conquer "Islamophobia" on Ontario's college and university campuses.
The Canadian Federation of Students launched a task force yesterday that will go from school to school across the province to hear from Muslim students who have had good and bad experiences because of their religion.
"I've noticed differences in how people treat you," U of T student Ausma Malik said, adding the treatment can be subtle and come from both students and faculty.
Malik will sit on the task force made up of Muslims and non-Muslims from inside and outside the student community.
The task force started as a campaign against "Islamaphobia, anti-Semitism and racism" after Muslim students at Ryerson University were targets of hateful graffiti and posters two years ago, said Jesse Greener, the federation's Ontario chairman. continue reading
The schism between Islam and the West seemed to grow deeper this month, as the pope’s comments about Islam incited worldwide riots. FP spoke with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder of the multifaith Cordoba Initiative, about the pope’s controversial remarks, the future of dialogue among religions, and the U.S. role in bridging the divide with the Muslim world.
Cover Story Reality for the Rest of Us By Bill Dahl AsI looked out over the Pacific ocean, sun setting in the west, Irealized the gift that purpose-driven theology had bestowed upon me:the passion to pursue a relationship with God, beyond the boundaries ofthe horizon. I began to realize that perhaps, “God is bigger than theChristian faith.”(12) Maybe there’s more to God than what we presentlyportend to comprehend. I was at a point in my life where, as one authorrecounted, “We must learn how to perceive the living God who isbuilding a new world in unexpected places and shapes; indeed, we mustlearn what it means to enter the new world of God. In short, we mustrelearn the meaning of being a Christian.” It was time to move on,pursuing the God of More. continue reading
Next-Wave Ezine - September, Issue #93
Reframing sad thoughts
Mind-based therapy created to fight depression, Daily meditation is used to stop negative thinking, Sep. 8, 2006. ROBIN HARVEY, LIFE WRITER The Toronto Star,
Sandra, a Toronto woman in her early 40s, has a problem with recurrent depression. For four years, she tried "almost every approach there was" to stop it.
"Nothing worked for long," she says. "I'd take medication, they'd say increase the dose, then I'd get worse."
Then she heard of a study at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) run by psychologist Zindel Segal, who was testing a program of therapy that has shown promise in patients who frequently relapse into depression.
Called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, it was developed to help people with depression and is being tested at CAMH with a $2.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health in the U.S.
Mindfulness is the practice whereby a person is intentionally aware of his or her thoughts and actions in the present moment, non-judgmentally. Largely associated with Buddhism, in which it is called sati, the practice of mindfulness is also advocated by such people as medical researcher and author Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, psychologist Nathaniel Branden and philosopher Ayn Rand. Psychologist Ellen J. ...
That We May Know Each Other is a new study document on United Church-Muslim relations in Canada today. The resource can be used in congregational studies and then used to form responses to the proposed statement on the relationship of the United Church and Muslims in Canada. These responses will be used as a basis for developing a final statement to be presented for approval at General Council 39 in the summer of 2006. ~ That We May Know Each Other is now available on-line in PDF format [below] and will be available as a print resource at the end of February through UCRD. Congregations can request a complimentary copy at that time (with an accompanying four-session study process). ~ Congregations and other United Church groups are then invited to respond to the proposed Muslim-United Church relations statement, offering final responses by May 1, 2005. Feedback on the study document is also welcome.
Table of Contents: Chapter 1. Why this document is needed ~ Chapter 2. A Brief History of Islam ~ Chapter 3. The Islamic Way of Life ~ Chapter 4. The Quran, The Bible and Revelation ~ Chapter 5. Understanding Our Differences ~ Chapter 6. Common Challenges and Paths Toward Change ~ Chapter 7. Paths of Reconciliation ~ Appendix A: The Trinity and Christian-Muslim Relations ~ Appendix B: On Hostin Muslim Visitors or Visiting a Mosque ~ Appendix C: Comparative Fundamentalism ~ Appendix D: The Commission on World Mission ~ Appendix E: The Contribution of Wilfred Cantwell Smith ~ Appendix F: Advice for Christians Reading the Quran ~ Appendix G: Stories in My Neighbour's Faith
Selected by Beliefnet.com as a guide and authority for online interfaith dialogue
This is a personal selection. A further selection of the ten most essential books is indicated by TOP TEN. Material on particular dialogues can be found in the specialized '100 Books on -- Jewish-Christian Dialogue, -- Muslim-Christian Dialogue, -- Hindu-Christian Dialogue and -- Buddhist-Christian Dialogue.' Comments and suggestions to Kenneth Cracknell, Professor of Theology and Global Studies, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas, 76129., email K.Cracknell@tcu.edu
Full Text of Pope Benedict's speech
APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
TO MÜNCHEN, ALTÖTTING AND REGENSBURG (SEPTEMBER 9-14, 2006)
MEETING WITH THE REPRESENTATIVES OF SCIENCE
LECTURE OF THE HOLY FATHER
Aula Magna of the University of Regensburg, Tuesday, 12 September 2006
I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on - perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara - by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. It was presumably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than those of his Persian interlocutor. The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur'an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship between - as they were called - three "Laws" or "rules of life": the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur'an. It is not my intention to discuss this question in the present lecture; here I would like to discuss only one point - itself rather marginal to the dialogue as a whole - which, in the context of the issue of "faith and reason", I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue. Continue reading ...
He is the secretary of World Congress of Faiths
Priest converts to Hinduism, sparks row: The Times of India, 15 Sep, 2006 1622hrs ISTAFP
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Anglican priest David A Hart, whose open espousal of Hinduism has sparked a debate in British religious circles, says he will continue his exploration of the 'oneness' of religion unfazed by the consequences it could have on his priesthood.
"Some people say my license as a priest is under review. I am not doing anything wrong here. I am a convert to the Hinduism here because that is the local religion. And practicing Hinduism is in no way incompatible with my faith in Christ," Hart, now staying at Karumam near here, said.
After coming to know about his "conversion", Church Times of the Church of England (C of E) has launched a debate and online poll on the feasibility of allowing Hart to officiate as a priest.
Attached to the diocese of Ely in England, 52-year-old Hart had taught theology at the University of Derby for several years. Though he had visited India several times since 1987, he came here for an extended stay last year teaching English and theology in a local seminary.
Dressed in a saffron 'dhoti' and pristine white shirt, Hart the other day enthusiastically mingled with local crowd in celebrating Sri Krishna Jayanthi and, a few days back, was seen worshiping Lord Ganesh.
Hart said he had not received any official communication from the Bishop of Ely about his priesthood being reconsidered.
Hart's 'pooja room' at his house here has pictures of Christ and Krishna, Virgin Mary and Saraswati, the Hindu Goddess of art and learning.
There is even a plastic 'nagar,' the serpant revered and worshipped by the Hindus. Also, on the wall of the drawing room was displayed a poster depicting the holy places of Islam. Continue reading
Gods too are under threat from predatory land sharks, if one goes by the encroachment of temple lands in the State. It seems land grabbers are not afraid of divine wrath. Be it the fiery Varaha Laxmi Narasimhaswamy of Simhachalam or the serene Lord Ram in Bhadrachalam, all deities and their dwellings are fair game for them.
Of the 4,20,028 acres of temple lands owned by the endowments department in Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Guntur, Kurnool, Warangal and Hyderabad, 60,843.47 acres are under illegal occupation and 24,349.66 acres are caught in litigations of various kinds. Major temples whose lands are under encroachment include Jagannadhaswamy Balaji Mutt in Ramayapatnam (54 acres), Dharmatopu temple in Tangutur (5.17 acres), Sri Ramalingeswaraswamy temple of Chimakurthy (2.05 acres), and Sri Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy temple in Peddadornala (13.41 acres).
Apart from this, lands belonging to Nageswaraswamy temple in Tangutur, Sri Madana Gopalaswamy temple in Chirala and Sri Lakshmi Chennakeshavaswamy temple in Markapuram have also been encroached upon. Agriculture lands constitute 3,49,359 acres of the total endowments lands, while forest lands amount to 27,213 acres. Encroachment of endowment lands is highest in Warangal with 19,228.12 acres followed by Visakhapatnam with 14, 858.77 acres and Hyderabad with 12,122.85 acres.
Not all encroachers are professional land grabbers. Some are poor Dalits who have built dwellings in these lands. But the majority consists of “invisible” bigwigs with political clout. The government has initiated action against several encroachers and has succeeded in removing them from endowment lands. But several have pre-empted the government by moving court. “We are trying our best to check encroachments in temple lands,” said endowments commissioner Dinesh Kumar. “But the properties are huge and staff strength is low.”
The government also tried to regularise some of the lands, but the High Court recently put a stop to it and asked it to dispose of its lands through public auction if necessary. “But the fact remains that auction can be conducted only if the lands are free from encroachments,” pointed an endowments official. In East Godavari, about 6.37 acres of wet land and 585.17 acres of dry land owned by the endowments department is under unauthorised occupation or caught in legal disputes.
Thanks to an HC stay on acquisition of endowments land, the Indiramma housing scheme for the poor has also come to a halt here. Meanwhile, endowments officials in Khammam are fighting a bitter battle to recover 1,835 acres of encroached lands including 906 acres belonging to the Sita Ramachandraswamy Temple at Bhadrachalam. Mr V.S.C.V. Subba Rao, assistant commissioner of endowments in Ongole, said that 135. 46 acres owned by the department was under illegal occupation. “We have filed cases against some encroachers,” he said.
The scene is no better in Nellore. About 16.05 acres of wet land, 40.11 acres of dry land and 48.61 acres of non-agriculture land have been illegally occupied. Here, it is Dalits who are occupying most of the lands with the support of Left parties while lands in urban areas have been occupied by others including a former Telugu Desam councillor. In all, 928.23 acres belonging to Sri Kodandaramaswamy temple of Buchireddypalem has been under encroachment for decades.
In Gudur, officials are unable to take action on a farming society which has failed to pay the lease for 60 acres of land belonging Sri Kodandaramanjaneya temple because of political pressure. Similar is the case with 8.55 acres of prime land adjacent to historic Sri Chengalaparameswari temple. The land belonging to Kasi Visweshwaraswamy temple in Vatembedu was also encroached upon by local people with the support of political leaders.
Officials are unable to take any action both in Gudur and Sullurpet as they are not even allowed to take measurements of the land by the encroachers. In Vishakapatnam, of the 11,000 odd acres of Simhachalam estate, 4,000 acres are under encroachment. In Nizamabad, land sharks have swallowed 3,514 acres.
Recently, there was a huge controversy over relatives of panchayat raj minister J.C. Diwakar Reddy allegedly buying up lands belonging to the Sri Swamy Hatiramji Mutt. The minister denied that he had anything to do with it.
Mumbai, Sept. 9 (PTI): Actress and social activist Shabana Azmi has been named the recipient of this year's Gandhi Peace Award, which will be given to her at a ceremony to be held in the British Parliament next month.
Cyber Worship in Multifaith Perspectives, as is implied by its name, explores worship (i.e., Prayer, Praise, Scripture, Sacrament, Rituals, Confessions, Eucharist, Rites, Pilgrimages, Reflection, Contemplation, etc.) on the Internet. It is not an "everything you need to know" guide about the subjects of faith and belief, religions-online, religions on the Net, or religions in cyberspace. Rather, it is a book about religious and spiritual experience under the rubric, cyber worship, which is the variety of ways religious devotion is performed and carried out on the Internet. The term 'Cyber Worship' is a catchall phrase, which includes variants such as online worship, virtual worship, electronic prayer, cyber puja, cyber synagogue, and so on. Dr. Mohamed Taher has thus assembled a quick reference for two groups: those communities that are involved in Cyber Worship and business Webs that collaborate in sustaining wired environments. As such, this book provides an interesting and current perspective on a practice that will continue to grow in the future.
"Mohamed Taher's new book provides an indispensable guide for considering the resources of worship online, whatever the faith, wherever believers are located."—Bruce Lawrence, Duke University
"Cyber Worship in Multifaith Perspectives is an important and significant contribution to the new field of scholarship examining the religious dimension of the Internet. By employing Webmetrics, Dr. Taher presents readers with the most comprehensive and up-to-date mapping of the religious websites available, providing essential information for those wishing to better understand how religion functions and flourishes on the WWW and also those interested in using this new medium for their own spiritual quest."—Christopher Helland, Dalhousie University
RIYADH: Saudi clerics appear to have backtracked on controversial plans to ban women from praying at the centre of Islam's holiest shrine in Makkah.
At present, women can pray in the immediate vicinity of the Kaaba, a cube-shaped structure inside the Grand Mosque which forms the centrepiece of the Haj pilgrimage in Islam.
It is interesting how on occasions great minds belonging to two different civilisations, almost a world apart, express some of their basic thoughts in words which appear to be echoes of each other.
Schopenhauer, the famous German philosopher, describes the life of man on this earth in the terms of a weakling riding a very strong and well-built horse which is rushing along at breakneck speed in a hilly area. The problem, however, is that the horse is blind and without any reins or stirrups. The rider thus has no means whatever of controlling it and can only see helplessly that any moment the horse might dash itself against the rocks or plunge down a deep gorge along with him. His heart is thus in his mouth all the time: in fact, the danger to him is so grave and imminent that it makes him die a death again and again.
Ghalib expresses the same thought in almost identical terms. His couplet on the subject runs as follows:
"Rau mein hai rakhsh-i-umr, kahan dekhiye thamey/na haath bag per hai, na paa hai rakaab mein." (The steed of life is in a rush, let us see where it stops/ there are no reins in my hand, nor are my feet in any stirrups).
Are we finally beginning to get out of our communal nemesis? Well, the change in the political leadership at the top hopes to redefine the cultural heritage and reconstruct the religious thought to a nationalist thought. It’s time that the pure is separated from the profane. As Swami Vivekananda has rightly observed, “Each nation, like an individual, has one theme in life, which is at its centre. In India, religious life forms the centre.”
Hence a reawakened Hinduism (not religious bigotry, but a commitment to a selfless way of life and to the cultural heritage of the land) is a must to keep the country’s institutions from fragmenting. If the celebration of festivals without associating these with narrow religious motives is the first infantile step in this regard, let the spark spread everywhere so that spiritual secularism reigns.
Far from all the noise over Amsterdam and the war on terror, in the Ustad’s shehnai lies the note of reason
What was the difference between Hindu and Muslim, he asked. What, indeed, when he sang to Allah in Rag Bhairav (composed for Shiva) and brought to tears the Iraqi maulana who had just told him music was blasphemy, “evil, a trap of the devil”. Khan Saheb said, “I told him, Maulana, I will sing to Allah. All I ask you is to be fair. And when I finished I asked him if it is blasphemy. He was speechless.” And then Khan Saheb told me with that trademark mischievous glint: “But I did not tell him it was in Rag Bhairav.” click here to continue reading
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