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Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve brings together Houston Jews, Muslims

Kate Shellnutt, 12/21/11, Houston Chronicle (blog)
Kate Shellnutt is the web producer for

About 50 Jews and Muslims will pray and light a menorah for Hanukkah during their interfaith Christmas Eve gathering.

...On Christmas Eve, Jews and Muslims may find themselves with nothing to do while Christian neighbors plan fancy dinners and special church services.

For the past two years, the Jewish and Muslim communities in Houston have taken advantage of their free schedules to gather together to learn about each others’ traditions and find commonalities as minority faiths. continue reading
[Info courtesy: Amin H Karim MD,]

On the same shelf:
  • A Muslim Imam's Plea to Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him), by Imam Syed Soharwardy
    [Info courtesy: Haider Ashraf Group:]
  • Dallas Morning News - How did your faith shape you in 2011. THE JOURNAL OF PLURALISM, December 20, 2011
  • For Muslims celebrating Christmas, it's a holiday, not a holy day, Los Angeles Times - 12/23/11
    At a time when Christmas is being pulled in different directions, it's not unusual for Muslims to use the occasion as an entry into American culture — no different from signing up their kids for Little League. But most clerics frown on the practice. ...

    Sahira Traband, here with her sons Teo, 10, left, and Mikail, 6, is a Muslim who decorates her house for Christmas, hangs stockings and puts gifts under the tree. She views the holiday as a happy time that doesn't conflict with her faith in Islam. “The magic of Christmas is the part we celebrate,” said Traband, 45. “We didn’t get into the whole religious thing.” (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times / December 19, 2011)
  • Jews, Muslims continue volunteer alliance, WDIV Detroit - 12/23/11
  • Christmas fading in the Holy Land, Salon - 12/23/11
  • Ottawa: Jews and Muslims present Comedy Show for Christmas‎ Canadian National Newspaper
  • Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Quran with Bhagavad Gita in a communal harmony class

    Monday November 21, 2011 10:27:29 AM, Asit Srivastava, IANS

    Varanasi: Holding the Quran in one hand and the Bhagavad Gita in the other, Mukhtar Ahmad conducts "a class of communal harmony" at a madrassa in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi district to enable students to draw similarities between Islam and Hinduism.

    Welcome to Bahrul-Uloom madrassa (Islamic seminary) in Chittanpura town where like Ahmad several other Muslim teachers are involved in imparting lessons of brotherhood and unity to inculcate "moral values" in their students.

    "Our main objective behind teaching Hindu scriptures along with the Quran is to undertake a comparative study of the holy books of the two religions to enable our students to draw similarity between Islam and Hinduism," Ahmad, a teacher at the Islamic seminary, said.

    "By drawing similarity between the two religions, students will be able to correlate the teachings of Quran with those of the Bhagavad Gita and other Hindu ancient text, which in turn would enable them to respect the two religions in the same manner," he added. continue reading

    On the same shelf:
  • Quran with Bhagavad Gita in a communal harmony class, Mayank Kumar, Aaj Ki Khabar,
  • Quran with Bhagavad Gita in a communal harmony class, FnF Correspondent ,
  • Quran with Bhagavad Gita in a communal harmony class, Canada India Education Council
  • Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    New Publications on the Theme: Cyber Worship and Online Religion

    On the same shelf (see below articles in Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet on the topic of online religion / cyber worship in different faiths, including Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, etc.):
  • Vaishnava Cyber-Puja: Problems of Purity and Novel Ritual Solutions
    by Karapanagiotis, Nicole, University Heidelberg Philosophische Fakultät. Institut für Religionswissenschaft 2010, in Online - Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet [Vol. 04.1 Special Issue on Aesthetics and the Dimensions of the Senses, ed. by Simone Heidbrink and Nadja Miczek ]
  • Seeing the Divine through Windows: Online Puja and Virtual Religious Experience
    Author: Herman, Phyllis K. Year: 2010. [Vol. 04.1 Special Issue on Aesthetics and the Dimensions of the Senses, ed. by Simone Heidbrink and Nadja Miczek ]
  • Hindu Embodiment and the Internet, Author: Scheifinger, Heinz [Vol. 04.1 Special Issue on Aesthetics and the Dimensions of the Senses, ed. by Simone Heidbrink and Nadja Miczek ]
  • Introduction to the Special Issue: Religions on the Internet - Aesthetics and the Dimensions of the Senses, Author: Heidbrink, Simone ; Miczek, Nadja [Vol. 04.1 Special Issue on Aesthetics and the Dimensions of the Senses, ed. by Simone Heidbrink and Nadja Miczek ]

  • "Tweeting Prayers and Communicating Grief Over Michael Jackson Online"
    by Jimmy Sanderson; Pauline Hope Cheong, The Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 30, no. 5 (2010): 328-340
  • "Sacred Island or World Empire? Locating Far-Right Movements In and Beyond Malta"
    by Mark-Anthony Falzon; Mark Micallef, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 16, no. 3 (2008): 393-406
  • "Spirituality, Religion, and Globalization" by Sudhir Kale, Journal of Macromarketing, 24, no. 2 (2004): 92-107
  • "Cyber Synagogues - On the Web, architecture students in Germany reconstruct houses of worship destroyed by the Nazis" by Daryl Scott Lindsey, Architecture : the AIA journal. 88, no. 10, (1999): 134
  • Cyber hymnal : dedicated to the glory of God.
  • Cyber cafe trades websites for worship: The Hard Disk Cafe doesn't look like your typical house of worship. By The Calgary Herald
  • Wednesday, November 09, 2011

    Cybertheology Revisited

    What would Jesus hack?
    Cybertheology: Just how much does Christian doctrine have in common with the open-source software movement?
    Sep 3rd 2011 | The Economist
    "THE kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these,” Jesus said of little children. But computer hackers might give the kids some competition, according to Antonio Spadaro, an Italian Jesuit priest. In an article published earlier this year in La Civiltà Cattolica, a fortnightly magazine backed by the Vatican, entitled “Hacker ethics and Christian vision”, he did not merely praise hackers, but held up their approach to life as in some ways divine. Mr Spadaro argued that hacking is a form of participation in God’s work of creation. (He uses the word hacking in its traditional, noble sense within computing circles, to refer to building or tinkering with code, rather than breaking into websites. Such nefarious activities are instead known as “malicious hacking” or “cracking”.)..." Continue reading

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    First multifaith crematorium in UAE to open

    Extract: - Aftab Kazmi - ‎Oct 15, 2011‎

    Ola Salem, Oct 17, 2011
    AL AIN // Ten kilometres west of Hili border port in Al Ain, a multifaith graveyard and crematorium had sat for years, untouched and unused.

    The cemetery occupies 40000 square metres and has a facilities building, including a church, a waiting room, and chambers of municipality services. Al Ain: The new crematorium in Al Foah district in Al Ain will shortly be... Continue

    The facility included a church, a waiting room, and municipality services chambers and is equipped to allow the people perform their religious rites in accordance with best environmental practises.

    The facility comes as a major relief especially to expatriates, who used to struggle due to lack of a place to bury or cremate their loved ones .. continue @ Zee News See also Gulf Today

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    More religious pamphlets for government workers

    By Tom Godfrey, Toronto Sun
    September 27, 2011

    TORONTO - Ontario government officials say the success of an employee guide to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has prompted other publications for workers who celebrate Diwali, Christmas and Easter.

    A “Ramadan: the Muslim Month of Fasting” guide was issued to 67,000 Ontario government workers last July telling them to be “sensitive” to Muslim co-workers because they are fasting and praying from dusk to dawn.

    The document advises managers to provide a safe room for Muslims to pray and that they may require to make more trips to the bathroom to wash before they pray. They are required to pray five times a day.

    Jason Wesley, of the Ministry of Government Services, said similar publications have been sent to workers “explaining the significance of the Jewish observances of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.”

    Wesley said guides to mark the Hindu festival of Diwali and Christian celebrations of Christmas and Easter are planned for release. continue reading

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Meditation Builds Brain Cells

    info courtesy: Awakening Potentials

    Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT) Meditation Found to Boost Brain Connectivity
    (Aug. 18, 2010) —

    Just 11 hours of learning a meditation technique induces positive structural changes in brain connectivity by boosting efficiency in a part of the brain that helps a person regulate behavior in accordance with their goals, researchers report. continue reading

    On the same shelf:

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    The changing face of the church in Andhra Pradesh, India

    Deccan Chronicle July 13, 2011

    It’s a well-documented fact that people adopt aspects of other cultures around them. The churches in Andhra Pradesh are following this custom and Indianising some of practices. At St Andrew’s Orthodox Church, West Marredpally, a Dwaja Stambam has been erected. A common phenomenon in temples, and seen in the Kerala churches, it is the first of its kind in the state.

    With a cross on top, bells and imprints of the saints, the bronze Dwaja Sthambam stands tall, highlighting how Indian Christians are adopting the religious customs of their Hindu brethren. During parish feasts the faithful light the multi-storied traditional lamp in front of it. Fr Koshy Thomas, the vicar at St Andrews, says, “The Dwaja Stambam flag pole is seen in Kerala churches but in Andhra Pradesh we are the first ones to have adapted this Indian tradition. For us, this is a flag-hoisting pillar, with a cross on top and imprints of the martyrs of the Church. A flag will be hoisted during festivals. This is one of our efforts to proclaim the Gospel of the Lord.”

    Already, meditation rooms, small kiosks resembling Hindu shrines and lamps are a part of churches. Fr Anthony Raj, executive secretary of the AP Federation of Churches, which has conducted several inter-religious dialogues, says, “It is easy to relate Lord Jesus to local customs and traditions and the adaptation of these, by the Church, has been taking place from centuries.” Catholic historians say that there are striking similarities between the systems followed at shrines, in marriages and in pujas. Mr Gurram Pratap Reddy, a Catholic historian and writer, says, “Adopting Hindu customs, though not new, has taken a new shape with latest trends like the Dwaja Sthambam. In fact, French priests wore saffron dress, three hundred years ago and they are called Swamis. Even today, in villages, Fathers are called Swamuluvaru. In marriages too, several Hindu traditions are followed, like wearing a mangalsutra and tying the knot thrice. In a relatively recent trend, deekshas, similar to Ayyappa and Bhavani deeksha, are being taken up like the lent season.” He adds, “At Christian shrines, devotees break coconuts, and tonsuring has become common.”

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Indians win faith fellowship for first time

    Horizons Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi, May 17, 2011
    Four Indians have been selected for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s youth leadership programme, Faiths Act Fellowship, the first time that the country finds representation among 30 fellows.

    ... The four Indian Fellows will work together in interfaith pairs with two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in New Delhi for the next year.

    Aparajita Bharti, a 21-year-old Buddhist from Vikas Puri is going to be paired with Sarmistha Pattanayak, a 24-year-old Hindu from Bhubaneswar. Ayesha Nusrat, a 22-year-old Muslim from New Delhi will be linked with Rohit S, a 21-year-old Hindu from Bangalore. They will receive a month of training in London before starting their year-long interfaith service.

    ... The fellows are from a diverse cross section of the faith traditions: 10% are Hindu, 30% Muslim, 3.3% Sikh, 3.3%, 6.6% Buddhist, 3.3%, Bahá’í, 26% Christian, 3.3% Quaker and 17% Jewish, including the various denominations.
    continue reading

    On the same shelf:
  • Birmingham University student chosen for Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation Fellowship
  • Friday, May 13, 2011

    An introduction to Islam for Jews - Reading now

    An Introduction to Islam for Jews by Reuven Firestone @ Philadelphia : JPS/Jewish Publication Society, 2008. 298 p. ISBN: 9780827608641.

    What do the reviewers say:
  • Herbert E. Shapiro - Library Journal
    This well-written, scholarly book provides an overview of aspects of Islam that may be unfamiliar yet of interest to contemporary Jews.
  • AJL Newsletter - Rachel Simon
    This authoritative and readable book is of value for students and general readers alike.
  • Midwest Book Review
    An Introduction to Islam for Jews is perfect for any Jewish reader seeking an understanding of Islam... a scholarly yet accessible title.
  • Publishers Weekly
    Firestone extends a real effort to be fair to both sides; in his discussion of Muhammad's massacre of between 600 and 900 Jewish men, for instance, he reminds readers that the Jews had committed treason and points to examples in the Hebrew Bible where Israelites engaged in similar tactics. Part two digs into the foundations of Islamic law and belief, discussing the Qur'an, the prophetic tradition, key doctrines and sharia law.

    About the Author:
    Reuven Firestone is professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles and director of the Institute for the Study and Enhancement of Muslim-Jewish Interrelations (ISEMJI), a program of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California

    On the same shelf:
  • Did the Jews pray as Muslims do ?
  • Do the Jews ever pray like the Muslims?
  • Prostration
  • Sunday, May 08, 2011

    Faithwise Review of the Week

    • Messenger Muhammad Asks: Hey Osama.. Why Did You Kill? by Seckin Islamoglu
      A survey about Islam, Muslim, Muhammad (sav), Jihad and Terrorism This book answers these basic questions: "What is Islam? Who is Muhammad (sav)? Who is called a Muslim? What is Islamic Struggle (Jihad)? Is Terrorism an Islamic method? Can those who apply non-Islamic methods be representatives of Islam and Muslims? Can one reach success and get Allah's consent with non-Islamic methods?" It tells the differences between Jihad (Islamic methods of struggle) and Terrorism (evil methods of struggle). It is an invitation to repentance for the cruel who use both individual (organizational) terrorism and state terrorism. And at the same time, it introduces the illuminating profile of the exemplifying life of Muhammad (sav); it is for those who seek the truth.
    • Osama Bin Laden Killed By U.S. Forces-Dallas Morning News Newspaper, Monday May 2, 2011, New, unread newstand copy.
    • Sustainable Peterborough (Ontario): United in Faith [An evening with Sustainable Peterborough, visioning our future through the eyes of faith. Share your ideas and hopes as input to the Greater Peterborough Area's Sustainability Plan.
      Wed. May 18, 7-9 p.m., George Street United Church auditorium, 534 George St. N. ]
    • Is bin Laden Really Dead? Osama Bin Laden Death Skeptics Grow As Lynne Blankenbeker, New Hampshire State Rep, Voices Doubts
    • Hasidic Newspaper Photoshops Hillary Clinton Out Of Iconic Picture

    • World to end May 24 weekend: kook or prophet By Mark Dunn, Parliamentary Bureau, Toronto Sun

    • Halevi: The burial at sea and the history of Shariah. [Watery Grave, Murky LawBy LEOR HALEVI]

    • End of Mideast Wholesale, By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

    • Know thy neighbours, Eboo Patel and Samantha Kirby, Hindustan Times [What can we make of this? Rev. Jim Wallis, a leading progressive evangelical voice in America, has a saying: “God is personal, but never private.” By imagining religion only as a private affair, we ignore the important public elements of faith — whether it means garnering strength from prayer during times of chaos or living out religious convictions by protecting others so they can practise freely]

    • Putting Multifaith Education at top of the Agenda: Henry Luce Foundation Awards $350,000 Grant to Episcopal Divinity School

    • Om shanti om! Deccan Chronicle
      According to the Vedas, the universe was created with the word “Om” and today, it is a proven fact that the beej mantra of Hinduism has several benefits for the body and the soul.

      Chanting “Om” stimulates the central nervous system, giving relief from mental health issues including depression, anxiety and even epilepsy. The mantra has the potential to work on the Vagus nerve, stimulating the brain through its auricular branches. The Vagus nerve is one of the 12 pairs of cranial nerves and extends from the brain to the abdomen.

      A team of researchers from the psychiatry department of the Advanced Centre for Yoga, attached to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, has concluded that the “Om” mantra has neurohaemodynamic potential i.e. improves blood flow to the brain, thus increasing brain function and that of the central nervous system.

      Dr B.N. Gangadhar, one of the researchers, told this correspondent that stimulation of the Vagus nerve is used to treat depression and epilepsy. Since chanting the mantra stimulates the Vagus nerve, it can have a potential role in clinical practice.
  • Swimwear firm apologises for carrying Goddess images on bikini Deccan Chronicle
    Extract: An Australian swimwear label company, which triggered a controversy by depicting an image of Goddess Lakshmi on a bikini bottom and front of a model, has apologised to the Hindu community for hurting their sentiments.

    "We would like to offer an apology to anyone we may have offended and advise that the image of Goddess Lakshmi will not appear on any piece of Lisa Blue swimwear for the new season, with a halt put on all production of the new range and pieces shown on the runway removed," said a statement issued by the Lisa Blue Swimwear.
  • Sunday, April 24, 2011

    Godmen of India again in news headlines

  • Hindu holy man dies: Sathya Sai Baba had millions of followers, The Associated Press, Apr 24, 2011
    Born Nov. 23, 1926, in Puttaparti, the guru was first named Sathyanarayana Raju.

    In 1940, he declared himself an "avatar," or reincarnation, of another Hindu holy man called the Sai Baba of Shirdi, a town in the western Indian state of Maharashtra who had died in 1918.

  • Bhagwan Satya Sai: Faith Marginalizes Reason, Ram Puniyani, Communalism Watch, April 27, 2011

  • Sai Baba: Guru who didn't dabble in politics, TNN | Apr 25, 2011,
    SPIRITUAL JOURNEY:The mortal remains of Sri Sathya Sai Baba kept in the Sai Kulwant Hall in Prashanthi Nilayam at Puttaparthi on Sunday. The body will be kept in this huge and ornately decorated hall on Monday and Tuesday for devotees to pay their final respects, before being interred there on Wednesday Morning
  • A chequered spiritual-philanthropic journey, S. Nagesh Kumar, The Hindu, Apr 25, 2011
    HYDERABAD: Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the spiritual guru who passed away at Puttaparthi on Sunday morning, enjoyed a large following in India and abroad that cut across religious and national boundaries.
    Sathya Sai Baba 'Dead body'
  • Corruption, Religion And God-men, Central Chronicle - 8 Apr 2011
  • Sathya Sai Baba’s death – no miracles Robert C Priddy
  • Baba said he would return stronger

  • No govt interference in Sai Trust: Baba Ramdev

  • Swamis, Celibacy And Sex Scandals. By Ram Puniyani. 21 March, 2010
  • Sathya Sai Baba Deceptions Exposed, Robert C Priddy
  • Miracles by 'Godman' just simple tricks, Montreal Gazette - Joe Schwarcz - 16 Apr 2011
  • Baba Ramdev: Yogi or Commissar? | By Ram Puniyani

  • Sex scandals: a bad week for India's 'godmen'
  • The lust for a man-made god, Ha'aretz - Yaakov Meir

  • Vamps and margins talk back Nisha Susan
  • Is Anna Hazare the new Gandhi? by Asghar Ali Engineer
  • Anna Hazare's Campaign: truly Gandhian, truly evil, Radha Rajan
  • E=mc^2: Why Anna Hazare will fail!
  • Anna Hazare Movement: Its' Project Brahmanism! By Goldy M. George
  • Modi Godman sex scandal
  • Of Ali Baba, Yahoo Baba and Forty Thieves: Sid Harth
  • India's God Krishna Was the King of Jerusalem |
  • SAIBABA AND OTHER GODMEN by asghar ali engineer
    Extract: A real religious person is not builder of empire but subvert it. Whosoever built empire failed in spiritual sense and whosoever subverted established empires became great.
  • Blah Blah Ramdev and India's love for nonsense Raheel Khursheed
  • Guru or seth? Business Standard, Jun 19, 2011
    Right on top of Swami Ramdev’s hate list are corrupt politicians (hang them, he says), followed by homosexuals (cure them, it’s a disease) and multinational corporations (drive them out of our pious land). Manipulative multinationals, says the yoga guru and crusader, suck out more money than they bring in, and take jobs away from local artisans and craftsmen. In his utopian scheme of things, there is no role for multinationals — the Rs 300,000 crore worth of black money stashed abroad is back in the country to run its power plants, build roads and reach water to the fields; people do an honest day’s work, after an hour or two of Yoga in the morning, and read religious texts before they hit the bed... continue reading
  • Baba Ramdev and Sathya Sai Baba – The Saffron Criminals? By Sai Arjun, The Chakra News

    On the same shelf:

  • Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    Taxes: Buddhism and Fiscal Policy

    Birth, Old Age, Sickness, and Taxes: Buddhism and Fiscal Policy, State of Formation
    So, Asvaghosa equates excessive taxation with more personal transgressions, especially theft; Surata objects to the covetousness that high taxes inflict on a king and the financial pain they inflict on the citizenry; and, Nagarjuna objects to the financial and emotional pain that the undue hardship of high taxes cause. The renowned Nyingma Buddhist philosopher and teacher Jü Mipham Gyatso (1846-1912, Derge, eastern Tibet) nicely sums up all of these sentiments in his Advice on the Way of the King, saying,

    Forcefully taking a reasonable tax from the wealthy,
    even when they haven't offered it,
    is like being compensated.
    This is not “taking what hasn't been given.”

    Forcefully taking from the poor
    can be either a wrongdoing or not a wrongdoing:
    In order to prevent gamblers and prostitutes
    from wasting the wealth obtained illicitly,
    if you take from them, it is said to benefit both
    and is not a wrong-doing.
    When someone has lost property through fire, etc.,
    tax them lightly.

    If one doesn't care for the sentient beings
    who haven't any means, this is a wrong-doing.

    Later, he reiterates,

    If one doesn't collect taxes which are reasonable,
    and not take equally from the rich and poor
    according to their situation, is that just?
    From all subjects who pay taxes
    take in accord with their land,
    the season, and their wealth, without harming their home.
    Do not burden them unbearably.
    In the manner of a cow eating grass
    On the same shelf:

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    What a Rabbi Learns from Muhammad: IslamiCity

    By: Rabbi Allen S. Maller

    I first studied Islam when I was a student at UCLA almost 50 years ago, Then again while I was in Rabbinical school. Over the years I continued to read the Qur'an and other Islamic books. I read these books as the Prophet taught his followers in a Hadith "not as a believer, and not as a disbeliever". What does that mean? ...

    ...I would like to begin by sharing my understanding of several Ahadith that have taught me about my own religion. My understanding is reflected in my application (gloss) of each insight from my perspective as a Liberal/Reform Rabbi.

    ...Most Americans that I have spoken are amazed to hear such liberal and flexible statements coming from a religion that they think is ridged and fanatical.

    ...Nevertheless as a Reform Rabbi, I realize that in many ways Muhammad showed seventh century Jews in Arabia how to reform Orthodox Judaism to bring it back to the simpler rules of the Torah.. continue reading: What a Rabbi Learns from Muhammad @ IslamiCity* -

    On the same shelf:
  • A Reform Rabbi Learns from Muhammad, By Rabbi Allen S. Maller, in The Fountain Magazine, March - April 2008: Issue 62.
  • Understanding Islam: The First Ten Steps [Written by a Fellow in Christian-Muslim Relations]
  • Do I Kneel or Do I Bow?
  • Did the Jews pray as Muslims do ?!
  • Tuesday, March 08, 2011

    Cyber Worship Revisited - Need to sort out your sins? There's an app for that

    Herald Tribune, Thu 10 Feb 2011

    Can your iPad or iPhone bring you closer to God? A new application for the devices aims to help Roman Catholics who haven't been to the confessional booth in a while keep track of their sins, one Commandment at a time. The $1.99 "Confession: A Roman Catholic App" can't grant forgiveness -- you still need to receive the sacrament from a real, live priest like always. The app's designers and some believers see it as a way to spur Catholics back into the habit of repenting. "There's a reason we designed it for these mobile devices: We want you to go to confession," said Patrick Leinen, one of the developers and a co-founder of the company Little... continue reading: Herald Tribune,

    More Online Confessions, Resources here:

    Here is a sample from inside the Book: Cyber Worship in Multifaith Perspectives--full of resources that will facilitate building bridges in a Multifaith society. Table of Contents / Reviews

    Chapter 2. 'Cyber Worship as-is On the Web'

    Resource of the Week is: Museums of World Religions (see description, reviews, etc., page 70). Order with Publisher:Order from Publisher

    My related posts:
  • Special Issue from Religious Studies Review on Religion & Internet
  • Cybersins and Digital Good Deeds
  • Christian Librarianship
  • Web Vastu or A Spiritual Worldview for Marketing Website
  • Online - Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet
  • Cyber Worship in Multifaith Perspectives
  • Friday, February 18, 2011

    Understanding Islam: The First Ten Steps - Reading now

    About the book:
    "The faith of a billion Muslims today, developed over fourteen centuries, is sympathetically and skillfully presented in this marvelous introduction. Hewer's extensive knowledge and contextually sensitive presentation yield an exceptionally rich and faithful account, presupposing no prior knowledge of the traditions, without orientalist, Western, or Christian biases. Includes diagrams, glossary, and easy to follow references to the Qur'an."

    What others say about this book:
    "Understanding Islam is a model in the genre. --Yahya Michot, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford University

    "This is a clearly written and well-organized book that is a fine introduction to Islam. The author ably shows how the rich heritage of Islam is celebrated and expressed in the faith lives of Muslims." --John Kaltner, Rhodes College, author of Islam: What Non-Muslims Should Know.

    Written by a Fellow in Christian-Muslim Relations (St. Ethelburga's Centre, London) with twenty years' experience, Understanding Islam is an introduction to Islamic theology, customs, philosophy, worldview, culture, scholarship, and history, accessible to lay readers of all backgrounds and featuring a fair amount of black-and-white photographs. ... Understanding Islam is as unbiased as humanly possible in its straightforward presentation. Enthusiastically recommended particularly for public libraries, and also as a detailed primer for anyone from lay people to scholars seeking to educate themselves about Islam and the people who practice it. - By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)[source:]
    Related links:
  • C. T. R. Hewer, Understanding Islam: An Introduction
  • Presence & Engagement Network: Understanding Islam Course: A ten-week course offered free throughout Greater London
  • Review by Burkhard Weitz, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Wntr, 2008
  • More reviews, here
  • Understanding Islam by Dr. Chris Hewer, Fortress Press (2006, fourth impression: 2010), 244 pages.

    Chapter One: The wider picture: creation from a Muslim perspective
    Chapter Two: Muhammad, the last in the chain of Prophets
    Chapter Three: The Qur’an, the Revealed Word of God
    Chapter Four: An overview of Islamic history
    Chapter Five: The central beliefs of Islam
    Chapter Six: The principal practices of Islam
    Chapter Seven: A Muslim life
    Chapter Eight: Living constantly remembering God
    Chapter Nine: Islam and other faiths
    Chapter Ten: Muslims in Britain and Western Europe
    Further reading
    Each salat (the five times each day ritual prayer) is made up of number of cycles of prayer, called rak'at.
    ... Each rak'a comprises recitation of the Qur'an, bodily postures and prayers, said aloud or silently (p. 102).
    Previous posts on the same shelf:
  • Reading now: Do I Kneel or Do I Bow?
  • Did the Jews pray as Muslims do ?!
  • Friday, February 11, 2011

    Online religion and social media - The Church of Facebook

    The Church of Facebook: How the Hyperconnected Are Redefining Community by Jesse Rice, David C. Cook; (2009)

  • Overall it is very well researched and offers good insights that show whats-up in terms of the emotional and spiritual dynamics of Facebook (albeit, limited to Christian perspectives):
    CPA - Continuous Partial Attention - This is the impulse to constantly check Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. It's motivated by the desire to not miss anything. It creates an artificial sense of crisis. It can cause a person to become over stimulated and unable to focus on what's right in front of him. (P 102)

    "In affect the hyperconnection of Facebook changes the nature of our relationships by turning our friends into audiences and us into performances... Our actions are often based on what we think our invisible entourage might like best." (P 112)

    People can become dependent on Facebook for their identity, self-worth, and decision making. (P 145, paraphrase)

    "[Genuine] community is less about `best-friendship' and more about intentional engagement with the people in our lives... maybe it's not the increasingly online nature of our relationships that is affecting our relationships most. Perhaps it is our `relational consumerism' that needs changing." (P 172 & 173)

    "Life can all to often feel like little more than a knee-jerk reaction to urgent emails, phone calls, meetings, and decisions." (P 190) -- extracts courtesy: Paul Steinbrueck "" (Safety Harbor, FL)
  • It shows the how Facebook is also allowing the open society to turn closer to God (this book is not about evils of Facebook)

  • Misleading title: For those who want to see the vertical religious resources (such as, Online Access to God, Online Temple, they have to go elsewhere); See my book: Cyber Worship in Multifaith Perspectives and then go to the cited links for an online Temple, For a Online Ritual),
  • The book is simply about communitas (borrowing a title of scholarly book on online religion); but here communitas is just about the horizontal connection between the people (not necessarily faithful; and not necessarily congregational get-to-gether-ness)

    On the same shelf:

  • The Church of Facebook: How the Hyperconnected Are Redefining Community [Unabridged] [Audible Audio Edition]
  • When Religion Meets New Media
  • Social Media and Religion @ Facebook
  • Pope Blesses Social Networking
  • Thy Kingdom Connected: What the Church Can Learn from Facebook, the Internet, and Other Networks (mersion: Emergent Village resources for communities of faith)
    Dwight J. Friesen
  • GOD's FACE IN FACEBOOK - A Fascinating True Encounter, Joseph Rubbens
  • Who's In Your Orbit?: Beyond Facebook Creating Relationships That Matter, Mike Muhney
  • Vatican bans confession by iPhone / Vatican bans iPhone 'God app'
  • Tuesday, February 08, 2011

    Cyberspace Personality Who Moved the Hearts of the Chinese in 2010

    Kebab vendor, Updated: 2011-01-28

    Better known as Alim, the 40-year-old had been selected as the "Cyberspace Personality Who Moved the Hearts of the Chinese in 2010" for his decade-long help for needy people.

    When Alimjan Halik touched down at Urumqi, capital city of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, he was feted like a returning hero. Better known as Alim, the 40-year-old had been selected as the "Cyberspace Personality Who Moved the Hearts of the Chinese in 2010" for his decade-long help for needy people.

    During that time, he donated almost all of his earnings - more than 100,000 yuan ($15,000) - from his humble kebab business in Bijie, Guizhou province.

    Born into a poor family with six siblings, Alim left home to earn a living in 1997 with only a kebab roaster. In Bijie, someone reached out and gave him a helping hand. As the city found a place in its heart for Alim, its citizens developed a taste for his lamb kebabs. But he seldom spends money on himself, preferring a simple meal of noodles and bread, sometimes leftover kebabs. He lives in a rented room in a shabby house, his leather shoes rescued from a rubbish bin.

    Over the past decade, Alim has helped more than 200 students from poor families, and 10 of them have entered university.

    On the same shelf:
  • 85 tribal Muslim and Hindu couples tie knot
    Cartoon by China Daily
  • Marriage bells toll in cyber churches
  • Sunday, February 06, 2011

    Gandhi, Akbar among world's top icons: Time Magazine

    Mahatma Gandhi, Mughal emperor Akbar and Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama have been named by Time magazine among the world's top 25 political icons.
    Deccan Herald, New Delhi, Feb 6 (IANS)
    "Though the country was later divided (and Gandhi assassinated), his role in the bloodless revolution ... paved the way for other social movements including America's struggle for civil rights," Time added.

    The magazine said Akbar helped a fragile collection of fiefs around Delhi to grow into what became the Mughal empire. He presided over a flourishing of the arts, sponsoring artisans, poets, engineers and philosophers.

    Calling him a "canny warlod", Time said that while he was a Muslim, Akbar was spiritually curious and hosted religious scholars from Hindu gurus to Jesuits, besides trying to meld Hinduism and Islam.

    "While the creed no longer lingers, the ethos of pluralism and tolerance that defined Akarb's age underlines the values of the modern republic of India."

    The Dalai Lama, Time said, is "not only the greatest and most public advocate for Tibetan rights and the virtues of Tibetan Buddhism, but also for interfaith tolerance and peace as well to people around the world.

    "To countless Tibetans, the Dalai Lama is a spiritual leader and a head of state in absentia. For decades - and from exile since 1959 - he has worked to resolve tensions between Tibet and China.

    "And like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. before him, the Dalai Lama done so in a manner defined by non-violence and tolerance.

    "The Dalai Lama's humility has endeared him to presidents and religious leaders of several countries, affording him the opportunity to raise awareness and drum up support for Tibet on a global scale," the magazine said.

    Top 25 Political Icons
    Feb. 6 marks the 100th birthday of the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Few political figures in recent memory have matched the Gipper's charisma or enduring appeal. We look at other world leaders whose legacies have stood the test of time

    Full List
    Some Famous Folk
    Mohandas Gandhi
    Alexander the Great
    Mao Zedong
    Winston Churchill
    Genghis Khan
    Nelson Mandela
    Abraham Lincoln
    Adolf Hitler
    Ernesto "Che" Guevara
    Ronald Reagan
    Franklin Roosevelt
    Dalai Lama
    Queen Victoria
    Benito Mussolini
    Akbar the Great
    Margaret Thatcher
    Simón Bolívar
    Qin Shi Huang
    Kim Il-Sung
    Charles de Gaulle
    Louis XIV
    Haile Selassie
    King Richard the Lionheart &

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Give Respect and Get Respect - Excellent insights

    Here is what I found on the subject of Respect:

    “Hey you! RESPECT Me!!!” …(No! It doesn’t work that way now)

    Kinds of Respect:
  • Saturday, January 01, 2011

    Julia Roberts’s conversion is among top ‘religion stories’ of 2010

    Jan 1, 2011, DNA India

    The conversion of Oscar-winning Hollywood actress Julia 'Pretty Woman' Roberts to Hinduism is among the top-20 '2010 Religion Stories of the Year' list created by the Religion Newswriters Association (RNA).

    In this list, Roberts, the only Hollywood personality to make the list, is in the company of Pope Benedict XVI, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, and the Reverend Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham), among others.

    An RNA release on the subject said: "Hinduism gains more of the spotlight through the... word of star Julia Roberts's conversion to it."

    Roberts, who grew up with a Catholic mother and Baptist father, became interested in Hinduism after seeing a picture of Hanuman devotee Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba, who died in 1973 and whom she never met.
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