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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Funeral law fails ethnic groups

Rigid regulations undermine immigrants' freedom to practise final rites, study finds

Oct 27, 2007 Prithi Yelaja, Staff Reporter, Toronto StarVINCE TALOTTA/TORONTO STAR: Pundit Roopnauth Sharma of the Shri Ram Mandir temple in Mississauga has been talking with the province about where Hindus can dispose of cremated ashes.

Death may be the final frontier when it comes to testing the limits of multicultural accommodation in Ontario.

Rigid provincial and municipal regulations regarding funerals and burials, created primarily to accommodate western Judeo-Christian customs, are forcing faith communities to adjust to the law rather than have the freedom to practise their final rites, according to a new study from Ryerson University.

"Along with the mainstream population, the immigrant population is aging and dying, too, in large numbers, so now these issues are coming to the forefront," says study author Sandeep Agrawal, a professor of urban and regional planning. continue reading

See also in the same aisle and shelf:

Ashes to ashes, By Suelan Toye, September 28, 2007

Urban planning Prof. Sandeep Agrawal has studied the barriers faced by ethnic groups who wish to follow their funeral customs.

Ethnic families often face cultural barriers in Ontario when they wish to honour their loved ones' passing with culturally appropriate burial rites, say Ryerson University researchers.

"Since Canada prides itself as a multicultural society and its citizens are committed to sustaining their cultural heritage, we need to find ways to encompass these same ideals when members of our ethnic communities pass away," says Associate Prof. Sandeep Agrawal, the lead author of Funeral and Burial Sites, Rites and Rights in Multicultural Ontario. The paper will be published this month in Citizenship and Immigration Canada's publication, Our Diverse Cities. continue reading

The Resume of Jesus Christ

The Miraculous Winking Jesus Christ Posted by Lana Shi Jie's

NB. For similar resources Google it

Monday, October 29, 2007

Flying While Sikh?

Dear Friends:
Guru Fateh.
Please distribute widely and encourage people to support Sikh Coalition and other Sikh organizations that are doing such good work.

What You Need to Know as a Sikh Air Traveler click here

Download the Sikh Air Travelers Guide and Bill of Rights [English version] [Punjabi version]

We Need to Know Whether the New Policy is Working!
Click Here To Document Your Air Travel Experience Good or Bad

Best, Amritjit Singh (on Fulbright assignment in Graz , Austria)

See also:

  • Should The Government Profile Muslims At Airports? By Kamran Memon Civil Rights Attorney

  • Canada needs registered air travellers program, Air India inquiry told
    Kim Bolan, Vancouver Sun, Tuesday, October 23, 2007

  • Traveling in Troubled Times, by Duane Wells

  • Sikhs Laud New Airport Rule on Turban Screenings
    By ASHFAQUE SWAPAN, Special to India-West

Friday, October 26, 2007

Parents Fake Religion To Avoid Vaccines

Religious Or Not, Growing Numbers Say They Are To Get Out Of Vaccinating Their Kids

BOSTON, Oct. 17, 2007, CBS News

(AP) Sabrina Rahim doesn't practice any particular faith, but she had no problem signing a letter declaring that because of her deeply held religious beliefs, Rachel Magni gets a hug from her daughter Stella Magni, 4, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2007 at their home in Newton, Mass. Magni pursued a religious exemption so her 4-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son, who have never been vaccinated, could attend preschool. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole)her 4-year-old son should be exempt from the vaccinations required to enter preschool. She is among a small but growing number of parents around the country who are claiming religious exemptions to avoid vaccinating their children when the real reason may be skepticism of the shots or concern they can cause other illnesses. Some of these parents say they are being forced to lie because of the way the vaccination laws are written in their states. “It's misleading,” Rahim admitted, but she said she fears that earlier vaccinations may be to blame for her son's autism. “I find it very troubling, but for my son's safety, I feel this is the only option we have.” continue reading

Thursday, October 25, 2007

American youths bridge religious divides

By Jane Lampman Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the October 24, 2007 edition

Teens in a Boston suburb lead the way in building relationships among religious faiths in their community through Interfaith Action, a program that has captured attention abroad.

Teenagers of different religious backgrounds participated in a Hindu dance inside a synagogue in Sharon, Mass., on Sept. 30. It's one of various teen-led interfaith activities.

Together: As part of the 'Sacred Seasons' event, Muslims broke their Ramadan fast at a Sukkot meal at the Temple Israel synagogue in Sharon, Mass.

Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu families gathered at a dinner arranged by high-school students in Sharon, Mass. The teens made sure the food met the dietary requirements of all the faiths. Read the full article [info courtesy: AL Reynolds]

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bid to de-recognise a unique world heritage site representing pluralistic traditions

BJP wants de-recognition of Champaner Word Heritage Site
Submitted by kashif on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 14:21.

Saffron brigade’s bid to de-recognise a unique world heritage site representing pluralistic traditions
By Rupa Abdi,

It is unfortunate how all fundamentalists, both Hindu and Muslim, share a general dislike for all that is good and beautiful in this world. First it was the turn of the Taliban to tear down the beautiful sculptures of Lord Buddha at Bamiyan in Afghanistan and now it is the turn of the Saffron brigade in Gujarat to try and de-recognise the unique Champaner-Pavagadh UNESCO heritage site – a 27sq km archeological park which represents pluralistic culture and traditions in a communally divided Gujarat. Its derecognition would mean that it will no longer be protected from vandalism, wear and tear and encroachment, ultimately resulting in its destruction. Read more

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Christian pastor's Ramadan in Turkey

Middle East Online
(photo: Galeri Istanbul/Y.Karaduman)

Recently, I was invited by the Turkish Cultural Centre to travel from Singapore to Turkey to participate in a documentary series on Ramadan observance in Istanbul. Samanyolu TV, a national Turkish television station, developed a documentary series last year on Ramadan in different countries and they were now looking to reverse the scenario by inviting foreigners to Istanbul to join in the Ramadan activities of Turkish families. The material they produced is the major component of a three-hour programme that appeared each day just before the... Read full article

In the shelf and aisle: Christian Muslims Photos Ramadan Turkey

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Religion and the 50th Anniversary of Sputnik I

"My October looks very busy at the moment so while we are here on the verge of the 50th anniversary of that historical event, let’s quickly review for the young folks what happened, or what seemed to happen, when Sputnik, the first ever earth satellite, built in Russia, began to orbit the Earth every 96 minutes on October 4th 1957. It had a skin of polished aluminium and was visible from Earth. Continue reading @ The Gates of Horn Douglas Buchanan,'s original article
The background story:

1957: Sputnik
(Battle in the Schools)

Sputnik launches push for science education. The Soviet space capsule Sputnik is the first human-made structure launched into outer space. Fearful that the Soviets are gaining an edge in the space race, the U.S. government rallies to improve science education. The National Science Foundation sponsors textbooks written by professional biologists that stress evolution as the "warp and woof of modern biology." Increasingly, high schools -- even in the South -- begin teaching evolution. The reforms lead teachers to challenge the anti-evolutionist laws in place since the 1920s. But the new textbooks and reforms also spawn protest from many conservative Christians. @ Evolution: Religion: Evolution Revolution,

Sunday, October 14, 2007

To Offer Your Heart

According to Sharon Salzberg, faith is not a set of beliefs, but the act of opening our hearts to the unknown.
Sharon Salzberg has been practicing and studying Buddhism for more than 30 years. A renowned spiritual leader and meditation instructor, she is the cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. The message in her latest book, "Faith," offers insight to practitioners of any religious tradition.

In an interview with Belief Net, Sharon answers the question "What does faith mean to you?" this way:

Faith means several different things to me. It means having the courage to go forward into the unknown. I think we spend so much of our lives trying to pretend that we know what's going to happen next. In fact we don't. To recognize that we don't know even what will happen this afternoon and yet having the courage to move forward--that's one meaning of faith. continue reading "Sharon Salzberg on Faith" @ Faith Commons

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Divine inspiration: Witness the spectacle of Turkey's mystical dervish dancers

The Independent
Monday, October 01, 2007
By Frank Partridge
For years they could only perform in secret. Now that has changed. Back then, I did have an excuse for such spectacular ignorance. For much of the 20th century this brotherhood of mystic dancers had been driven more or less underground by the Turkish government, anxious to keep a lid on religious movements which might undermine the new republic. continue reading Belfast Telegraph

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The year of living biblically

When A.J. Jacobs, Esquire magazine's editor-at-large, spent 12 months following the Bible literally, the quest transformed his life in divine, and ridiculous, ways
Globe and Mail October 5, 2007
In this excerpt from his forthcoming book, The Year of Living Biblically, A.J. Jacobs, who was born Jewish, but raised in an agnostic household, begins his quest to understand the relevance of faith in the modern world. Following the most arcane laws he can find in a waist-high stack of Bibles - stoning adulterers, avoiding clothes made with mixed fibres, playing a 10-string harp - Jacobs' year-long journey into biblical literalism reveals some surprisingly relevant wisdom within the most ancient texts. continue reading: The Globe and Mail

Amazon.comThe Significant Seven Spotlight Title, September 2007: Make no mistake: A.J. Jacobs is not a religious man. He describes himself as Jewish "in the same way the Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant." Yet his latest work, The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible, is an insightful and hilarious journey for readers of all faiths. Though no fatted calves were harmed in the making of this book, Jacobs chronicles 12 months living a remarkably strict Biblical life full of charity, chastity, and facial hair as impressive as anything found in The Lord of the Rings. Through it all, he manages to brilliantly keep things light, while avoiding the sinful eye of judgment. --Dave Callanan

From Publishers Weekly: What would it require for a person to live all the commandments of the Bible for an entire year? That is the question that animates this hilarious, quixotic, thought-provoking memoir from Jacobs (The Know-It-All). He didn't just keep the Bible's better-known moral laws (being honest, tithing to charity and trying to curb his lust), but also the obscure and unfathomable ones: not mixing wool with linen in his clothing; calling the days of the week by their ordinal numbers to avoid voicing the names of pagan gods; trying his hand at a 10-string harp; growing a ZZ Top beard; eating crickets; and paying the babysitter in cash at the end of each work day. continue reading at

If you'd like to hear A.J. Jacobs talk about his new book, "The Year of Living Biblically," check out this audio interview link. [Info courtesy: Bob Andelman]

See also:

  • How others juggle faith, secularism, by Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star
  • Friday, October 05, 2007

    Hate crime against Sikh boy inspires anti-bullying website

    Posted : Thu, 04 Oct 2007 09:27:07 GMT Author : Parveen Chopra, (c) Indo-Asian News Service

    New York, Oct. 4: A hate crime against a Sikh schoolboy here has led to the start of, a website dedicated to helping Sikh students fight bullying in school. The website is designed as an interactive resource tool, featuring a discussion forum, videos, and downloadable presentations. Parents and teachers can also use the website’s sample lesson plans and games to teach others about Sikhs.

    Sikh Coalition, a New York based community organisation, started in response to an incident earlier in 2007 in which a Sikh boy’s turban was forcibly removed and his hair cut by a schoolmate in New York’s Queens area. The boy has since changed schools for safety reasons and a jury has indicted the culprit. After the attack, the Sikh Coalition issued a civil rights report, ‘Hatred in the Hallways’, on the problems Sikh children face in school.

    The report, based on a survey of New York City Sikhs, revealed that nearly 75 per cent of Sikh boys in the Queens borough — which has a concentration of Sikh households — are harassed or intimidated because of their long hair and turban. People call them “Osama bin Laden” or “terrorists”, often threatening or physically harassing them. is a way for Sikh children to feel proud of their identity and to give them the tools to combat bias in school.

    The Sikh Coalition has also been working with the department of education over the past few months to make New York City schools safer for Sikh children. On September 25, schools chancellor Joel Klein sent a letter to all school principals in New York City stressing the importance of diversity in schools, and pointing to the hair-cutting incident as a cautionary example.

    Monday, October 01, 2007


    PS. Info courtesy: Prof. Amritjit Singh
    "I got this from a woman online. A friend of hers died who had a great sense of humor and always used to say that when she died she wanted a parking meter on her grave that says "Expired". So her nephew got her one on ebay! She said that her grave is right by the road so everyone can see it and many people have stopped to get a chuckle." Submitted by John Hutchinson

    The grave site of Barbara Sue Manire who died in 2005 and is buried in Highland Cemetery in Okemah, Oklahoma, includes the parking meter as shown in the photo showing when she expired.

    See also:
  • "Time-Expired" Grave Site
  • Related Posts with Thumbnails