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Sunday, August 27, 2006

All’s in a name, if it’s Hitler’s Cross - Faithwise Review of the Week

  • All’s in a name, if it’s Hitler’s Cross - Jews frown on restaurant ‘gimmick’, The Telegraph, August 24, 2006
    Playing with Hitler is like playing with fire, and the owners of Hitler’s Cross should have known it.

    The multi-cuisine restaurant-cum-coffee bar that last week threw its doors open in Kharghar in Navi Mumbai is in the centre of a controversy with the small Jewish population furious because it was promoted with posters of Hitler and Nazi swastikas.

    No, Nuremburg noodles or Auschwitz soup or Mauser pizzas are not on the menu here or anything that could offend your sensibilities. But the Israeli mission in India today asked Mumbai authorities to change the restaurant’s name.

    “We hope Indian authorities will ensure that Hitler being such a mass murderer does not get any rehabilitation,” Israel’s consul general in Mumbai, Daniel Zohar Zonshine, told Reuters.

    “There is a limit to gimmick. In India, we believe, if something like this hurts the sentiments of a community, it can be treated as a criminal offence.”

    Those who run the 1,000 sq ft restaurant have removed a poster of Hitler and the swastika pasted in the restaurant following the outrage from the Jews. But they are refusing to bend further and change its name.

    “I have no sympathy for Adolf Hitler. The name was just chosen because it seemed so radically different from any other restaurant name. I don’t understand why no one has raised objections to at least a dozen such brand names,” 26-year-old managing director Punit Sabhlok said.

    Furiously rattling off the names of kid’s fashion labels, liquor brands and tobacco products bearing Hitler’s name, Sabhlok said similar standards would have to be applied to everybody.

    “I don’t wish to change the name of my restaurant, but if they insist, I would want them to change the names of all these other brands as well. Why only me?”

    Shakeer Siddiqui, a managing partner of Hitler’s Cross which serves pizzas, salads, coffee, Indian grub and hookahs in the Indian-styled seating section, felt likewise.

    “Hitler is just a German surname. I can understand if somebody’s sentiments are hurt if we say Adolf Hitler’s Cross or have a name which glorifies Hitler in any way. The swastika is also a holy Indian symbol.”

    If nothing else, the sound and fury have generated good business at Hitler’s Cross. Today, hundreds poured into the restaurant, most of them students from nearby educational institutions. continue reading...

  • Letters to God
    is a new series of 13 half-hour programs, and will air on Vision TV in Canada, and on the Faith and Values channel in the US early next year...
    Be on our new TV series! PTV Productions
  • Woman Deliberately Burns to Death at Husband's Funeral
    A woman in central India has died after apparently engaging in self immolation, or the deliberate setting of one's self on fire. She was attending the funeral of her late husband, who was being cremated on a pyre.
  • Hindu judge is Pakistan's acting chief justice
    Islamabad, Aug 23 (IANS) Justice Rana Bhagwandas, a Hindu, took oath here Wednesday as acting chief justice of Pakistan in the absence of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry who left on a foreign tour. TeluguPortal.Net
  • Monday, August 21, 2006

    DailyJoke @

    Clean Humor
    A Jewish businessman in Chicago sent his son to Israel for a year to absorb the culture.
    When the son returned, he said, "Papa, I had a great time in Israel.
    By the way, I converted to Christianity."
    "Oy vey," said the father, "what have I done!" He took his problem to
    his best friend.
    "Ike," he said, "I sent my son to Israel, and he
    came home a Christian. What can I do?"
    "Funny you should ask," said Ike. "I, too, sent my
    son to Israel, and he also came home a Christian.
    Perhaps we should go see the Rabbi."
    They explained their problem to the Rabbi.
    "Funny you should ask," said the rabbi.
    "I, too sent my son to Israel, and he also came home a Christian.
    What is happening to our young people?
    They prayed, telling the Lord about their sons.
    As they finished their prayer, a voice came from the heavens,
    "Funny you should ask,"
    said the voice. "I, too, sent my son to Israel... " source

    The Buddhist Hotdog Vendor
    A Buddhist approaches a hotdog vendor and says: "Make me one with everything."

    He gives the vendor a $20 bill and waits. Finally he says: "Where's my change?"

    Says the vendor: "All change must come from within." source

    Saturday, August 19, 2006

    Women can enter Sabarimala Temple - Faithwise Review of the Week

    Women can enter Sabarimala By K. Venugopal, The Asian Age - News Worldwide, 8/19/2006

    Thiruvananthapuram, Aug. 18: The Kerala government on Friday expressed its willingness to allow women to enter the famed Sabarimala temple. The Marxist government’s response came hours after the Supreme Court issued notice to it on a petition challenging the provision barring entry to women.

    Women aged between 10 and 50 have so far not been allowed into the temple of the celibate deity, Lord Ayyappa.

    Kerala’s devaswom minister G. Sudhakaran told reporters here on Friday that if the Supreme Court asked the government a straight question, on whether women should be allowed to enter the temple, the government would say yes.

    "How can I say no if the Supreme Court asks me such a question?" asked Mr Sudhakaran, a rather outspoken leader of the state’s ruling CPI(M). He, however, hastened to add that the government would not voluntarily offer its opinion to the court.

    "We are not against women entering the temple," he said. "At the same time we are bound to uphold the high court verdict endorsing the rule barring women"....

    In 1991, the Kerala high court had upheld the temple rules preventing women from entering the shrine. The Travancore Devaswom Board, which runs the temple, had firmly ruled out any changes in the rules after a recent emergency meeting. The chief priest of the shrine, Tantri Kantararu Maheswararu, also said that women should not be allowed into the temple....

  • Govt cautions against Mumbai ‘miracle’ water, Press Trust of India
    Posted online: Saturday, August 19, 2006
  • Madonna Crucifixion Act: Media Hype? @ Beliefnet
  • Why Evolution is Kosher @ Beliefnet
  • Christ Was Not a Christian @ Beliefnet
  • What kind of value is created in networks: symbolic value @ Faith Commons
  • Comparing Creeds and Power With Commitment and Purpose @ Faith Commons

    Quote of the Day: He who wrongs a Jew or a Christian will have me as his accuser on the Day of Judgment. — Prophet Muhammad

    For all the emphasis that today's clerics put on the Prophet's war record, he spent a total of less than a week in actual battle in the 23 years of his prophethood. He advised his followers to "be moderate in religious matters, for excess caused the destruction of earlier communities." A moderate himself, he smiled often, spoke softly and delivered brief sermons. "The Prophet disliked ranting and raving," wrote Imam Bukhari, the ninth-century Islamic scholar of the Prophet's sayings. Ayesha, the Prophet's wife, reported that "he spoke so few words that you could count them." His most famous speech, during the Haj pilgrimage in AD 632, which laid down an entire covenant, was less than 2,800 words.

    Muhammad was respectful of Christians and Jews. Hearing the news that the king of Ethiopia had died, he told his followers, "A righteous man has died today; so stand up and pray for your brother." When a Christian delegation came to Medina, he invited them to conduct their service in the mosque, saying, "This is a place consecrated to God." When Saffiyah, one of his wives, complained that she was taunted for her Jewish origins, he told her, "Say unto them, `my father is Aaron, and my uncle is Moses.'" continue reading The Muslim malaise, HAROON SIDDIQUI, Aug. 20, 2006.
  • Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    Prayers for birth at Yama temple - Faithwise Review of the Week

    What is making news?

    Coimbatore in India is in headlines for a spiritual matter. Source: Deccan Chronicle on the web, August 07, 2006

    Coimbatore, Aug. 6: A shrine for the Lord of Death, Yamadharmaraja, is very rare. A 306-year-old temple with Lord Yama as the presiding deity, which might well be the only one in the country, draws big crowds at Vellalur, about 20 km from here.

    People seem in awe of the idea of a temple to a god who is more feared than worshipped. R.M. Pazhanisami, the seventh-generation priest of the temple, explains that Lord Yama is visualised not just as the god of death, but also as the god of dharma, of right conduct in life.

    Devotees throng the temple with absolutely no sense of fear to seek common favours, such as a child for a childless couples or marriage for a grown-up daughter. “No, they do not ask Yama to call them later than it is due,” says the priest with a smile.

    “My duty as a priest is to convey Yama’s advice to seekers who come with offerings of lemon, betel leaves, coconuts, fruits, sugar and ghee (clarified butter). Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are reserved for enquiries on business ventures. Other days are for guidance on family matters. And on Sundays, just like any of us, Lord Yama takes a holiday from his sessions with mortals,” he quips.

    The priest, who performs puja thrice a day at the temple to the god of death, reveals that the temple, consecrated in 1971, is maintained by the Thevar community. “My great-grandfather had a dream as though Yama appeared in a place that seemed absolutely real and familiar. His search for the place began and ended in the fields at Vellalur, which belonged to a brahmin landowner. My ancestor found the brahmin and expressed his desire to construct a temple for Yama there. The latter agreed at once. The descendants of the man who turned this vision into reality have been in charge of the temple since then, with rights of worship by turn,” he says.

    Says Neelamegalai, a resident of Vellalur and a devotee frequenting the temple for years: “The circle is sacred to Lord Yama and hence the temple flaunts spherical architecture. Nestled amidst the sugarcane saplings, the walk through the narrow footpath to get to the temple is a pleasant experience in itself.”

    Before one reaches the Chittira Puttira Yamadharmaraja temple, a small shrine to Andichi Amman stands as a sentinel. She is the sister of Chitragupta (or Chittira Puttira as Tamils have it), Lord Yama’s celestial scribe. She is usually placated first.” At the entrance to the main temple is Lord Ganesha.

    Then the main chamber opens the door to the sanctum into which only men are permitted. For women, the hall is the final halt for darshan. The fearsome figure astride a buffalo with menacing horns is Lord Yamadharma. The idol faces the south, holding in one hand the ankus to guide his black mount while the other hand grips the whip that draws man at the destined moment. Chitragupta sits to his right with his “register of good and bad deeds of humans while on earth”.

    The temple has some strange myths. It is said that Lord Yama has strong likes and dislikes. He will not tolerate black thread or cloth. Coconuts must be offered whole, and no yellow flower is allowed in worship. His colourful garland is of oleander, tuberose and basil. Standing with the hands clasped at the back is considered “disrespectful” to Lord Yama and invites misfortune.

    Other news stories:
  • Muslims aim to weed out black sheep, Mohammed Wajihuddin, [12 Aug, 2006 2329hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
    MUMBAI: A section of Muslims in Mumbai has saluted the British Muslim who alerted the authorities about the alleged plot to blow up US-bound flights in London.
  • Dalit graves in TN dug up - By Padmini Sivarajah
  • Importing Third World values, WASHINGTON DIARY, Dr.Manzur Ejaz, Daily Times, 08-09-06
    Pro-rich economic policies of the last 25 years, combined with influx of cheap labour from Latin America and the rest of the world, have changed the core of American society. The traditional egalitarian philosophy is fast giving way to Third World type class/caste differentiations;
    >>>>see also at Amazon: Decade of Greed - 1980s;

    >>>>Bribery: who pays, who refuses, what are the payoffs? / Jennifer Hunt, Sonia Laszlo.
    "We provide a theoretical framework for understanding when an official angles for a bribe, when a client pays, and the payoffs to the client’s decision. We test this framework using a new data set on bribery of Peruvian public officials by households. The theory predicts that bribery is more attractive to both parties when the client is richer, and we find empirically that both bribery incidence and value are increasing in household income. However, 65% of the relation between bribery incidence and income is explained by greater use of officials by high-income households, and by their use of more corrupt types of official. Compared to a client dealing with an honest official, a client who pays a bribe has a similar probability of concluding her business, while a client who refuses to bribe has a probability 16 percentage points lower. This indicates that service improvements in response to a bribe merely offset service reductions associated with angling for a bribe, and that clients refusing to bribe are punished. We use these and other results to argue that bribery is not a regressive tax"--National Bureau of Economic Research web site.

    >>>>Whither are we drifting? the opinion of an independent conservative journal on the situation, the Montreal "Herald" says ..
    [S.l. : s.n., 1886?]-- Verso contains article entitled: Bribes to ministers of the crown : contractors buy influence with gifts, purses, and family settlements.

  • A Muslim woman's Hindu temple in Varanasi, March 9, 2006
  • From church of the churchless... Submitted by reido on Wed, 08/09/2006, @ Faith
  • Sunday, August 06, 2006

    Religion and the state: why moderate religious teaching should be promoted

    This is all-ado-about, I think, disseminating information to promote secularism, pluralism, tolerance, etc. Here is one such attempt, by Professor Amitai Etzioni.

    I read this article, but failed to get the complete picture. One reason is the article has no citations. And citations, more specifically for a librarian, are important way to connect, corroborate and communicate. Please read the article and leave your comments at my blog.

    “Religion and the state: why moderate religious teaching should be promoted” / Amitai Etzioni. Harvard International Review, 2006 Spring; p. 14-17.

    “The case of religious education in the Islamic world suggests that the U.S. should actively promote religion overseas, albeit not in any and every form…..” Abstract Find a source for full text

    Saturday, August 05, 2006

    August 7 lucky for Muslims - Faithwise Review of the Week

    The following is a news report. The last section, here, has more references to the number seven in other faiths.

    source: Deccan Chronicle on the web August 7 lucky for Muslims, Saturday, August 05, 2006

    This August 7, the world will witness a unique date combination that signifies this magical figure 786 — the seventh day of the eighth month of the sixth year of the new millennium, or 786 for short. Apart from the religious importance a majority of the Muslims attach to this number, 786 has astrological, historical, mathematical and astronomical significance too. This unique combination is repeating itself after 100 years and it will recur only after a century.

    The number 786 is a gematrical (numerical) value of the Islamic invocation Bismillahi’r Rahmani’r Rahim, or In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, which every Muslim is commanded to recite before doing any work. Muslims in the Indian subcontinent revere 786 and print it on wedding and other invitation cards and put it down on paper before they start to write anything.

    However, Muslims in other parts of the world do not attach any religious significance to the number and write Bismillah (In the name of Allah) in full. According to Islamic scholar Hafiz Syed Shujath Hussain, in Arabic there are two methods of arranging letters, one of them being the Abjad (ordinal) method. Early Islamic scholars have assigned an arithmetic value to each of the Arabic letters from one to 1,000.

    The letters are arranged as Abjad, Hawwaz, Hutti, Kalaman, Safas, Qarshat, Sakhaz and Zazagh. This arrangement was based on the gematric system adopted in West Asian languages like Aramaic, Phoenician and Hebrew. “We get the magical 786 if we take the arithmetic values of all the 19 letters in Bismillahi’r Rahmani’r Rahim,” he points out. Besides the Islamic importance, 786 has historical significance because the famous Abbasid Caliph, Harun Rashid, assumed the throne on September 14 in the year 786 CE.

    It was during his regime, and perhaps in the year 786 CE, that the gematrical value of Bismillah (786) was calculated and arrived at by Islamic scholars and linguists of his court, says Muslim religious teacher Maulana Abdul Kareem. Mathematically speaking, 786 is a sphenic number (a positive integer that is the product of three distinct prime factors). In other words, 50 can be partitioned into powers of two in 786 different ways, points out senior mathematics lecturer V. Radhakrishna. Also, 786 might be the largest “n” for which the value of the central binomial coefficient is not divisible by an odd prime squared.

    This number is significant even in astronomy and astrophysics, leave alone astrology and numerology. The New General Catalogue refers to NGC786 as a magnitude 13.5 spiral galaxy in the constellation Aries. An asteroid has also been named as 786 Bredichina.

    The triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn occurs very rarely and so far this astronomical event has been witnessed only thrice in living memory as it occurs only every 800 years. It was first recorded in 7 BC (the Star of Bethlehem in the sky at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ ), then in 786 CE, and the last time in the year 1583, according to an astro-mathematical calculation prepared by the University of Helsinki in the US.

    Astrologers point out that the ubiquitous astrological predictions trace their origin to the year 786 BC. This year is considered of great importance to astrology as it was the year of the official opening of the new temple dedicated to Babylonian god Nabu at Calah, an ancient city of Assyria. Nabu is represented by the planet Mercury and is considered the god of astrology among other things.

    Mufti Ibrahim Desai is of the view that the numerical 786 cannot replace the written Bismillah. In a fatwa, he says the tradition of writing 786 was not present during the days of the Prophet. It was introduced about 150 years after his passing away. “Whosoever uses 786 with the intention to obtain Allah’s blessings is a misguided person and any attempt to justify it is ignorance,” he observes.

    However, Mufti Muhammad Khaleel Ahmad of the 130-year-old Jamia Nizamia is of the view that 786 is allowed and permissible to write with the intention of gaining blessings. All-India Muslim Personal Law general secretary Abdul Rahim Qureshi told this paper that “786” is written only in India and Pakistan.

    It does not have any Islamic significance except that it is a numerical code for Bismillah.

    Interestingly, if the letters in “Lord Hari Krishna” are to be given gematrical value in Arabic, the total numerical value of Hari Krishna will sum also up to 786, says Hafiz Shujath Hussain. Eminent astrologer T.M. Rao, however, does not see any astrological significance for August 7, 2006. “It is just like any other day, except that it has a significant combination of the numbers 7, 8 and 6,” he adds.

    See also:
  • Abjad - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • Abjad numerals - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • Abjad - Factbites
  • THE NUMBER SEVEN, Blavatsky, H. P. [a Multifaith perspective]
  • From other blogs: 786
  • Number seven in world religions
  • Friday, August 04, 2006


    Random quote series. The following quote is yours faithfully:

    The quote of the month comes from a much-publicized design document by Microsoft, which details how computers made to order to run Vista should look like. "We want PCs to be objects of pure desire" the document says. Interpreting this is left to the astuteness of our readers. [quoted in BitDefender Newsletter]

    See the full picture about the desire: Microsoft, Design Guru It's pushing a sleek new hardware vision to PC makers. Will they bite? Business Week, JULY 27, 2006

    More business like innernet content from my previous post:
    Visualizing the Innernet or Visual Display of the Website's Infostructure

    All the above is not above the Desire Under the Elms (1958), the play by Eugene O'Neill.

    More quotable quotes from my other blog: Library & Information Science Quotations

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