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Monday, November 27, 2006

Is There A Biblical Case For Voluntary Human Shields? - Faithwise Review of the Week

  • Is There A Biblical Case For Voluntary Human Shields? by Correspondent Beverly Darling, Mon 27 Nov 2006
    Extract: Perhaps the greatest example of a voluntary human shield was Jesus and his revolutionary act of civilly disobeying the violent political and religious structures of the Roman Empire, and nonviolently attacking Rome’s executive powers by being executed (no pun intended) on the cross. In this act, he unmasked the aggressive and hateful ideologies that were common and utilized by the current authorities of the religious and state powers: redemptive violence and salvation through war. Unfortunately, they are still used today.
  • Clergy as Wounded Symbol, by Rabbi Susan Grossman, Virtual Talmud @
    I agree wholeheartedly with Rabbi Waxman that clergy, of any faith, must be careful to see themselves, and allow themselves to be seen, as real human beings with human weaknesses and flaws. As Henri Nouwen so eloquently writes in his book, "The Wounded Healer," this ability to identify others’ suffering with the suffering in our own hearts, rather than maintain a role of aloofness, is a prerequisite for true ministering to the needy.
  • Religious Relic Crusader Battles Online Auction Giant @
    Hardly an hour goes by without Thomas Serafin or one of his cyber-sleuths checking what eBay has to offer.
  • Circle healing: Strength of spirit, Toronto Star Nov. 26, 2006, MARIE WADDEN, ATKINSON FELLOW
    Extract: Circles are sacred shapes for the Anishnawbe people. In Hollow Water, circles of people are used to heal the scars of sexual abuse, which once threatened to engulf the community of 950. Their solution to this most heinous crime has been both successful and scorned: Embrace the abuser. In their world of justice, jails are a last resort.
  • Israeli Supreme Court Approves Overseas Gay Marriages, By Rachel Pomerance
    Religion News Service,
  • Clash with Hasidim easily resolvable, Multiculturalism accommodates all within the rule of law, says Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star Nov. 19, 2006
  • Fans claim God behind South Africa’s early batting collapse Monday November 27 2006
  • Saddam's Palakkad link, [in Kerala, South India] T S SREENIVASA RAGHAVAN, [ 26 Nov, 2006 0250hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
    I’m praying for his welfare. Daily, I do archana in his name at the Shiva temple here. I’m certain he will come out unscathed,” Nair says, throwing his hands towards the heavens. [see also other stories about this store @ Google]
  • India sees God as creator, not controller, Sunday, 26 November , 2006, 21:48
  • good religion, bad religion @ Faith Commons
  • The Great Story, Submitted by Richard Blumberg, @ Faith Commons
    “[It] is a way of telling the history of everyone and everything that honors and embraces all religious traditions and creation stories.
  • Controversy dogs Britain's first state-funded Hindu school
  • Christians dig deep for graveyard plot
    India's Christians are running out of space to bury their dead, leading some to pay small fortunes to book their final resting place in a relative's grave.

  • Thursday, November 23, 2006

    World’s Religions after September 11 Congress - Faithwise Review of the Week

  • World’s Religions after September 11 Congress : September 11-15, 2006, Montreal
    [A post conference report]
    Thank you to all of our participants who joined us during this unforgettable event. The goal was to bring together the various religions of the world, in an ecumenical spirit, to address the many issues facing the globe today, in the hope that it would help all of us become better human beings. That goal was reached.

    Over 2025 individuals from 84 countries around the world attended the World’s Religions after September 11 Congress. A total of 225 speakers assisted in over 8 Workshops, 18 Plenary presentations, 47 Panels and 236 Individual presentations over the course of the 5 day congress. Additional highlights included the morning observances, the unique cultural evenings and the daily Youth and Religion workshops that drew in over 200 youth participants. Continue reading about the congress, and words from the President of the Congress, Prof. Arvind Sharma

  • 25 years of renouncing religious intolerance
    This November marks the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. The anniversary is especially timely, said Asma Jahangir, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, as it is “particularly important to challenge the rising tide of intolerance that we witness today.” [See also: United Nations' declarations on religious intolerance]
  • Hope for Parsis on brink of extinction, Arunima / CNN-IBN
    To preserve the last vestiges of their community, Delhi Parsi Anjuman is accepting offspring of mixed marriages [Parsis=zoroastrians, followers of Iran's oldest religion]
  • New-age Sufism disappoints clerics Sufism, the devotional path to soul\'s realization has become a fashion statement, much to the disappointment of Islamic clerics. [new age movements=modern & / or 20th century philosophies]
  • Faith meets science on Ganga's banks
    priest who is also a hydraulic engineer is using science and his own faith to spread awareness and clean Ganga.
  • Court notice to Premji in domestic violence case [dating allowance]
  • Sperm has religion, caste too, Abantika Ghosh, The Times of India
  • Religious intolerance can precipitate WW-III former Director General of National Human Rights Commission, D R Karthikeyan
  • Sikh air travellers permitted to carry kirpans, Indo-Asian News Service
  • Kangaroo court backs rapist godman in Bengal village, Express Network
  • Spiritual cable connection with God
    Television channels offering programmes on spirituality, yoga and self-realization are topping the popularity charts. [more at IBNLive: Faith in Progress;
  • Racism force Sikhs to cut hair in UK
  • Stop using the Cross to fuel a cultural row, Christians advised @ Faith Commons
  • Vatican shift on contraception could signal hope for millions @ Faith Commons

    See also previous post: overseas indians turn to web for festival prayers; New Media and Religious Information Seekers; and Cyber Worship in Multifaith Perspectives]
    Rant of the day
    Praying, and feeding children, would rank pretty high on most people's list of inoffensive and even wholesome activities. There are plenty of larger issues embedded in these two outrageous stories -- about racism and religious intolerance in the war on terror, misogyny and puritanism, disregard for basic individual freedoms -- but I'd like to also point out that flying is an increasingly miserable experience for everyone. Read full article: Flying While Arab, Liza Featherstone, The Nation, BLOG | Posted 11/22/2006
  • Friday, November 17, 2006

    New Media and Religious Information Seekers

  • Too idle to read the Bible? It's in a blog
    London: If pious Muslims follow the Koran, might Christians and Jews benefit from a closer read of their scriptures too? Can Biblical verses help make them better people, better parents, or even get along better with their in-laws?

    People interested by such questions who haven't got much beyond the Adam and Eve story can join a man reading the Bible at, an online daily magazine.

    In 'Blogging the Bible', a vaguely religious man plods gamely through scripture, asking down-to-earth or occasionally irreverent questions, and getting thousands of emails in response. continue reading

  • SMS from Saudi Arabia promoting conversion to Islam, 15 November, 2006,
    Dialling “Call Me to Islam” is an initiative for those who want to know more about the Islamic faith, in nine languages
    Jeddah (AsiaNews) – “Call Me to Islam” is an initiative launched in Saudi Arabia by dawah activists to convert non Muslims to Islam via short message service (SMS) or receive information about Islam, Saudi daily Arab News reported.

    Dawah, which literally means ‘summons’, refers to Muslim responsibility to invite others to Islam. Now some activists have decided to go a step further. Anyone interested in learning about Islam can send an SMS to +966-55988899 and leave their names, nationality, language, religion, job and mobile number.

    The ‘spread Islam via SMS’ idea is the brainchild of Muhammad Al-Eiban, from the al-Badia Office for Foreign Communities, which operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. continue reading

  • National conference on the media and a multi faith society. 31 March 2004 London
  • International Conference on Media, Religion & Culture, 2006

    See also:
  • When Religion Meets New Media
  • Google: new-media "Religious Information"
  • Google: New-Media Religion

    See my previous post:
  • Overseas Indians turn to Web for festival prayers
  • Save the Time of the Godly: Information Mediators Role in Promoting Spiritual & Religious Accommodation

    Technocrati Tags:
    Digital media.
    New Media
    Cyber media
  • Monday, November 13, 2006

    Montreal gym, synagogue clash over attire - Faithwise Review of the Week

  • Montreal gym, synagogue clash over attire
    Updated Sat. Nov. 11 2006, News Staff
    The Park Avenue YMCA in Montreal has become the flashpoint of a clash between an ultra conservative Hasidic Jewish group and a parade of spandex-clad female exercisers.
    We have a problem with women being dressed immodestly, and we don't believe in our children seeing that,' explained congregation member Mayer Feig. See also:
    Hasidic Jews battle neighbourhood gym over revealing attire
    Vancouver Sun (subscription), Canada - 8 Nov 2006
    MONTREAL -- Tight and revealing workout wear angered Hasidic Jews whose Montreal synagogue is across the alley from a YMCA.

  • Dalai Lama calls for sparing Saddam Hussein's life
    MUMBAI (Reuters) - The Dalai Lama urged Iraqi authorities on Monday to spare the life of Saddam Hussein, sentenced to death this month, saying the guilty should get a chance to reform.
  • Only 23 Parsi families left in the capital
    New Delhi, Nov 13. (PTI): Only 23 Parsi families are now residing in the National Capital while among the minorities, Muslims are the largest chunk who have chosen their abode here.

    According to the Delhi Minorities Commission's annual report 2004-05, which has been tabled in the Delhi Assembly, there are only 23 Parsis families staying in the city.

    As per the Census 2001, minorities constitute 17 per cent of the total population in Delhi with Muslims taking the lead having 11.7 per cent followed by Sikhs at 4 per cent and Christians at .9 per cent, says the Commission's report, which was presented on Saturday.

    Number wise, there are 16,23,520 Muslims, 5,55,602 Sikhs and 13,03,19 Christians living in the National Capital, while the number of people hailing from the Buddhist community stand merely at 23,705.

    Though Jain community constitutes just 1.1 per cent of the total population of the city, it is yet to be notified as a minority despite recommendations from the State Commission to the Delhi Government.

    "The Jain community has made several representations to the Delhi Minorities Commission to recommend to Delhi Government to declare the community to be bracketed under minority community. The Commission recommend the Government to do so," says the report.

    The Delhi Minorities Commission was set up by the Delhi Government in 2000 with an aim to look into the problems faced by the minorities in the city. [see also Jain minorities]

  • Secret sutra found in rubble of Bamiyan Buddhas Agence France-Presse, Tokyo, November 12, 2006
    A part of a Buddhism sutra was found inside one of the two giant Buddhas of Bamiyan, providing a hint for unveiling the mystery surrounding the creation of the statues, a Japanese news agency reported on Sunday.
    The fragment of the scripture was believed to be the original Sanskrit document, written with the letters often used in the sixth and seventh century, according to a Kyodo news dispatch from Kabul.

  • U.S. drops Vietnam from religious intolerance list
  • Widows sue to get Wiccan symbol approved see also: Available Emblems of Belief for Placement on Government Headstones and Markers
  • The Chinese connection:
    New discoveries from Asia suggest the Dead Sea Scrolls may not be as old as we think
  • A reality check on terrorism, Nov. 16, 2006. THE TORONTO STAR, HAROON SIDDIQUI
    While there is by now a full comprehension of the disaster that is Iraq, there is still not enough understanding of the parallel bankruptcy of the greater war on terrorism and the political and media discourse that has accompanied it.

  • Sikhs blame British policy of 'Asian' tag, Rashmee Roshan Lall
    [ 17 Nov, 2006 2110hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
    LONDON: British Sikhs have stepped up their attack on the UK's politically-correct policy of lumping Sikhs and Hindus with the omnibus tag 'Asian' instead of clearly identifying Muslims as the offenders when needed, just 48 hours after a Scottish Sikh teenager was viciously attacked by a white gang and forced to submit to having his long hair hacked off.

  • Saturday, November 11, 2006

    AMEER KHUSRO : A GREAT SUFI PHILOSOPHER - President of India : Recent Events


    AMEER KHUSRO : A GREAT SUFI PHILOSOPHER - President of India : Recent Events

    I am delighted to participate in the inauguration of 702nd Urs Celebration of the great Sufi Poet Hazrat Ameer Khusro at Urs Mahal, Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, New Delhi. My greetings to the organizers, priests, devotees of dargah, literary personalities and distinguished guests. I have visited, Urs Mahal, Hazrat Nizamuddin, 3 years back. I am extremely happy to visit again to attend the Urs festival of Sufi Poet Hazrat Ameer Khusro, who was known to be the most ardent disciple of Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia. When I am in the midst of devotees of these two great souls, I am reminded of the statement of the famous teacher of Ameer Khusro, Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia, who said, “If a man places thorns in your way, and you do the same, it will be thorns everywhere”. This statement captivated my mind and took me to various spiritual thoughts of our nation. Another important thought of Amir Khusro which inspired me is his concern for the poor farmers.


    Rumi says, “Angel is free because of his knowledge, The beast because of his ignorance, Between the two remains the son of man to struggle” Good poetry and music indeed elevates human beings to a high level of life. continue reading

    Thanks to Jay Bhatt for this info. [Jay is Information Services Librarian for Engineering, Drexel University]

  • Yet we share the same home - Our Indus Valley
    Examples of deep Indian nature of our culture is can be seen in every aspect of our lives, including our marriage traditions, superstitious myths, and even Qawali music that we consider Islamic. According to Hindu mythology classical music has a divine origin. Both the Vedic and the Gandharva systems of music were nurtured in the hermitage of Rishis, and songs of devotion and prayers are an integral to prayer and traditions. Amir Khusroo, father of Qawali (Kawali) style of music, showed his remarkable genius 900 years ago by combining the concept and themes of the religious Indian ragas with devote songs to saints of Islam. The chorus of claps signifies how angles in Islam are said to clap when divine souls are in their presence. Qawali music evolved over time and is not only enjoyed by Muslims and Hindus alike, but thanks to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, it has a significant following around the globe.

  • Morality touched by emotion
    By Firoz Bakht Ahmed
    In a myriad ways Hindus and Muslims have a lot in common with each other.
    One religion is as true as another, Robert Burton said in his book The Anatomy of Melancholy. On the same lines Bernard Shaw said, “There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it. It should be emphasised that throughout history, there has never been a separation of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs on the basis of religion.”

    Technocrati Tags
    Amir Khusro
  • Friday, November 10, 2006

    Ceremony and ritual - rant of the day

    Ceremony and ritual allow us to:

    Raise energy
    Release the past
    Bring clarity
    Celebrate change
    Gather information
    Contact guides
    Clear out old patterns
    Explore fears
    Honor our ancestors
    Bless a new endeavor
    Move stuck emotions
    Set intent
    Open stuck areas
    Express gratitude
    Ask for guidance
    Create closure
    And much more!

    For more on days of signifiance, Search the Multifaith Library's catalog

    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    Churches oppose takeover law - Faithwise Review of the Week

  • Churches oppose takeover law, Deccan Chronicle on the web, November 09, 2006
    Hyderabad, Nov. 8: All churches in the State have come under one umbrella to fight the proposed legislation of the State government to control and protect church properties. The AP Federation of Churches (APFC), an apex body of Catholic, Protestant and other Christian denominations, is demanding that they should be exempted from State control on the lines of the recent order exempting Shridi Sai Baba temples and Vasavi Kanyaka Parameswari temples.

    A House committee set up by the State Assembly in May 2005 had recently recommended a legislation on the lines of Wakf Act and Hindu Charitable and Endowments Act. APFC executive secretary Fr Dr Anthoniraj Thumma said, “There are some cases of illegal occupation of church properties by builders and others with the connivance of some members of trusts and societies of churches particularly in Kurnool, Nellore and Vishakapatnam. Because of a few instances no one can generalise that all the church properties have been occupied. The majority of church properties are safe and are well controlled.”

    “There is no single instance of illegal occupation in the Catholic Church. Even in other denomination churches, synods and councils are regulating all sales,” Dr Thumma added. Church properties are registered under the Indian Trust Act or Society Registration Act and are done as per the rules of these acts. “Church properties are private properties similar to those owned by any private registered trust or society,” Dr Thumma said.

    The federation argued that church properties differ from endowments and wakf properties. “Our properties are not gifted by individuals or by erstwhile rulers on will deed. All church properties are registered and have sale deeds. They are totally of private nature,” said Dr Thumma.

  • International Peace Festival, 1st – 3rd December 2006,
    Mumbai based organisations* under the banner of "Forum for Peace and Justice" in collaboration with Peace for Life - a Philippines based global solidarity network have taken the initiative to organize a International Festival on the theme 'Peace and Justice'. The significance of this theme is very relevant especially in the context of war, conflict and crime against humanity. In this context there is an urgent need to uphold the desirability and principle of peace that can only be realised through the actualisation of justice with democracy, equality and strengthening the principles of secularism. Details

  • India is facing 'cultural fracture': Naipaul
  • Lawyer behind court veil row
  • Pakistan judge bars women lawyers from wearing veils in courtrooms
  • Caught Between Love and Tradition
    Abdul Hannan Faisal Tago, Arab News
    RIYADH, 8 November 2006 — The case of a young Filipino Muslim woman who was caught holding hands with her non-Muslim boyfriend in Riyadh has brought to the fore a serious disagreement between leaders of the Batha Islamic Guidance Center in Riyadh and Muslim religious leaders from the southern Philippines.
  • Distributing Condoms, In the Name of Allah, Submitted by Rabbi Daniel Brenner on Mon, 11/06/2006 -
  • Saturday, November 04, 2006

    India does not belong to any single race - Faithwise Review of the Week

  • India does not belong to any single race, Indo-Asian News Service, New Delhi, November 2, 2006,
    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday stressed that India would remain a pluralistic country where "socio-religious variety" was respected and said the country did not belong to any group of religious extremists.

    The prime minister also called for dialogue between different religious groups for better understanding among them.

    "While rituals, theologies and institutions might vary from religion to religion, the basic religious values are common in all the great religions; the basic values in one religion are complementary to the other.

    "Dialogue is the only way to promote better understanding between the various religious communities," he said.

  • York gives prof. place to toke up, Nov. 3, 2006. DANIEL GIRARD, Toronto Star,
    York University is cool with a criminology professor smoking pot on campus.
    Brian MacLean will get his own private, ventillated room beginning Monday after the school agreed to accommodate his use of medical marijuana for a severe form of degenerative arthritis.

  • Morality comes from nature, not God, Faith Commons
    Dawkins suggests that a New Ten Commandments is called for. He offers up this example that he found on an atheist website. It makes a lot more sense to me than the Old Ten Commandments.
    (1) Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you.
    (2) In all things, strive to cause no harm.
    (3) Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect.
    (4) Do not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted.
    (5) Live life with a sense of joy and wonder.
    (6) Always seek to be learning something new.
    (7) Test all things; always check your ideas against the facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them.
    (8) Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you.
    (9) Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others.
    (10) Question everything. Full article @ Church of the Churchless

  • Muslims negotiate cost of peace in Gujarat villages, Neelesh Misra, Sunderna (Gujarat), November 3, 2006
    In a few months, it will be five years since Shakil Bhai last heard the call of the muezzin from the mosque by his village pond.

    In a few months, it will be five years since the life of the gentle grocer and his community changed.

    Muslims in many villages have given up azaan, or the call to prayers from mosques. In others, they cannot openly sell meat, and must observe festivals with a low profile. Most significantly, a large number of Muslims have had to withdraw criminal cases they had brought against fellow villagers, a necessary condition for their return.

  • Expedition to foster inter-cultural dialogue, Gulf News, Friday, November 03, 2006.
    Connecting Cultures was launched in the United Kingdom by Evans in 2005.

    "After spending almost nine years in the Middle East, I felt that the media portrayal in Europe was not in conformity with the reality of the Middle East region. Connecting Cultures was set up to bridge this gap in perceived notions by promoting inter-cultural dialogue in which people meet face-to-face and discuss various issues," Evans said.
  • Witness: The World Under God? Religion but not compassion in Missouri: One state, under God (sort of), Alan Freeman, today at 4:08 PM EST
    Missouri’s God, it seems, believes in personal responsibility above all. Taking care of one’s neighbours doesn’t seem to figure into the equation.
  • Friday, November 03, 2006

    Worship yours and respect all

    Innovation and serendipity are two things that amaze me. These transcend time and space, and have no limits, whatsoever! See the followong title:

    Jai Srimannarayana - Worship yours and respect all

    courtesy: Philosophy and Religious studies Blog

    Wednesday, November 01, 2006

    Pop culture versus God

    Pop culture versus God
    Branded by the light, TORONTO STAR, Oct. 31, 2006. JEN GERSON, LIFE WRITER

    They enter oblivious, hands outstretched, fat cheeks and watery eyes staring skyward to the Lord.

    They are to leave warriors. Convinced by arguments crafted from statistics and fear, these children of God are told they are to be the salvation of a generation in decline, one beset by the perils of pop culture, advertising and corporate greed.

    They absorb those lessons, squealing in delight whenever a speaker mentions the righteousness of Jesus.

    Then they head to McDonald's.

    This is downtown Hamilton, Friday night. Full story
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