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Friday, August 23, 2013

Hindu Man Mistaken for Muslim Refused Service by JetBlue

Neetzan Zimmerman Aug 23, 2013, Gawker Media @
"New York-based data scientist Aditya Mukerjee admits that his physical appearance regularly ensures that he'll get hassled by airport security, but none of his past experiences with being "randomly selected" could have prepared him for the nightmare that ensued following a standard TSA pat-down earlier this month." continue reading

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Search Terms to find Religious and Spiritual Resources on the Internet

Here is a suggestion to use presice search terms when searching the Web. For a complete list of terms and related web resources see: Cyber Worship in Multifaith Perspectives by Mohamed Taher

From the above book, listed below are search terms (or keywords) for you to use when searching for resources about a specific religion / spiritual experience.

Mapping Alternative Traditions (aka New Age Religions/Spiritualities):
  •  Rituals, Magic, Spells, Meditating, Circle Casting, Invoking & Evoking…
Mapping Buddhism:
  • Prayer & Praise (Chanting, Samadhi Or Meditation)
  • Sacrament (Rituals)
  • Scripture (Dharma, Teaching, Three Baskets, Inspirational Devotions)
Mapping Islam:
  • Prayer (Salat, Dua, Ibadah, Rituals, Rites)
  • Praise (Darud, Qasida, Taarif, Salam, Naat, Vadhaif, Dhikr, Tasbeeh)
  • Scripture (Quran, Hadith, Inspirational literature)
  • Sacraments (Muqaddas, Mutabarrik, Tabarruk, Aathar)
Mapping Jainism:
  • Prayer (Prarthana, Puja, Seva)
  • Praise (Stuti)
  • Scripture (Shastra)
  • Sacrament (Prashad)
Mapping Judaism:
  • Prayer (Tefilah, rites, etc.)
  • Scripture (Hebrew Bible, Midras)
Mapping Sikhism:
  • Prayer (Ardas)
  • Praise (Salah / Sift)
  • Scripture (Bani)
  • Sacrements (Prasad)
Note: Some may ask: Why do we need to search or know what to search (terms, keywords, terminology, taxonomy, etc.)? It is because the Western terms or keywords for religious and spiritual experiences are different from the Eastern. In the Western usage the following are clear and don't confuse:
• liturgy / beads
• Gregorian chant
• plainsong or plainchant
• Gallican chant
• Christian hymnody
• hymn
• Exclusive psalmody
• Gospel [source:]
On the same shelf:

Monday, August 12, 2013

`God' Word Usage Counted as Harvard, Google Scan Digital Books

The history of publishing industry in the Google age has a different turn. It is not anymore quantifying the frequency of titles/articles published by authors, subjects, countries, decades, and centuries--aka bibliometrics. It is now about the socio-psycho-liinguistics, semantics, usage, keyword frequency, etc.

The following is one sample of this emerging scenario:
  • `God' Word Usage Counted as Harvard, Google Scan Digital Books Bloomberg
  • Changes in language and word use reflect our shifting values, UCLA psychologist reports, Study analyzes more than 1 million books published over 200 years, By Anna Mikulak and UCLA Newsroom
  • Language in books shows how we have grown more selfish, By Richard Gray, Telegraph
  • Google Book Tool Tracks Cultural Change With Words : NPR

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Ten Teachings Shared By All Religions: Sharing and Caring in Every Season

Extract from

"This document is uncopyrighted. All are encouraged to print, copy, and distribute it. It is available online at "
 From the book, The Message That Comes From Everywhere: Exploring The Common Core of the World's Religions and Modern Science, by Gary L. Beckwith, ISBN 0970112564.
1. One God
“The Lord is our God, The Lord is One” – Shema, Hebrew Prayer
“Allah is One” – Qura’an, 112:1
“The One is Lord of all the moves” – Rig Veda III.54.8 (Hinduism)
“There is only One God.” -Chief Seattle
2. God is Everywhere
“I fill the Heaven and the Earth.” – the Bible, Jer 23:24
“The whole world is Brahman.” – the Upanishads (Hinduism)
“How majestic is your presence in all the earth!” the Bible, Psalm 8
“We think of Tirawa (God) as in everything” Lenape Indian interview
3. The Existence of the Soul
“Fear not them which are able to kill the body but not able to kill the soul”
- Bible, Matthew 10:20
“A soul will not die” Qura’an 3:145
“For the soul there is never birth nor death. It is not slain when the body is slain”
- Bhagavad Gita (Hinduism)
“And it came to pass, as her soul was departing, (for she died)”
- Bible, Genesis 35:18
4. God is Inside of Us
“We know that He dwell in us because he has given us of his Spirit.”
- Bible 1John 13
“God dwelleth in all hearts” – Bhagavad Gita
“The One God is hidden in all living things” – the Upanishads (Hinduism)
“All animals have power because the Great Spirit dwells in all of them”
- Lame Deer, Sioux Chief
“The Kingdom of God is within you.” – Jesus
“He to whom you pray is nearer than the neck of your camel.”
– Prophet Muhammad(SAW)
5. Spiritual Knowledge is Accessible to Everyone
“All who dwell on earth may find you” – Jewish Prayer Book
“True knowledge can only be attained by a human being.” – Krishna
“Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave” – Prophet Muhammad(SAW)
“The sage who is intent on yoga comes to Brahman without long delay” -
Bhagavad-gita (Hinduism)
“Take heed of the Living One while you are alive, lest you die and seek
to see Him, and be unable to do so.”- Jesus, Gospel of Thomas
“Search with sincerity and in the end you will find the truth.” -Buddha
“If thou seekest hidden treasures, thou shall find the knowledge of God”
-Bible, Proverbs
6. God’s Name: “I AM”
Although all religions have different native languages, most contain
similar teachings about God’s name. Many of them tell us that God’s
name can’t actually be pronounced, or that giving God a name is like
putting a limit on something that is limitless. As well, many of the
religions have several names for God. One name that the religions
share is the phrase “I AM.” This is shown in Exodus 3:14 and John 8:58
of the Bible, and in the Shatapatha Brahmana of the Hindu faith. The
sacred word Soham for Hindus is translated as “I am that I am,” the
exact same phrase as in Exodus 3:14.
7. Compassion and Respect for Everyone
“All beings long for happiness. Therefore extend thy compassion to all.
He who wishes his own happiness, let him cultivate goodwill
towards all the world” – Buddha
“Love your enemies. Bless them that curse you. For if you love only
those that love you, what reward have ye? -Jesus
“Judge everybody favorably” – the Talmud (Jewish sacred book)
8. Morals: Don’t Kill, Lie, Steal, Covet
The Ten Commandments, the Ten Precepts of the Buddha, and verse
16:1 of the Bhagavad-gita all clearly state these and other shared
moralistic teachings.
9. All of Humanity is United
“God hath made of one blood all nations that dwell upon the face of the
Earth” -Bible, Acts 17:16
“All creatures are members of the one family of God” – Prophet Muhammad(SAW)
“Human beings, all, are as head, arms, trunk, and legs unto one
another” – The Vedas
“One thing we know. All men are brothers” – Chief Seattle
“All people are your children, whatever their belief, whatever their shade
of skin”
- Jewish prayer book
10. Peace and Nonviolence
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be known as the Children
of God.” – Bible, Mt 5:9
“And make not Allah an obstacle to your doing good and guarding
against evil and making peace between men,” – Qura’an 2:224
“… nonviolence, absence of anger, equanimity, abstaining from
malicious talk, compassion for all creatures, gentleness,
forgiveness, absence of malice, and absence of pride — these are
some of the qualities of those endowed with divine virtues.” –
Bhagavad-gita Ch. 16
“May Your children unite and do your will: to establish peace and justice
throughout the world, so that nations are drawn together by the
bond of friendship.” – Jewish Prayer Book

On the same shelf:
About Ten Teachings are also posted (some within their own context)
  • Psychology – Giving and Receiving the Spirit of the Season @ Family Guiding
  • Cure Ignorance @ Posted by Gary L. Beckwith, Forums
  • Neelank Sharma's Empower Blog 
  • Summary of World Views about Ritual, by Alan Murray
  • COMMON THEMES: All the worldviews represented here use rituals, festivals, etc, and recognise their importance for most people. There are some differing views on their ultimate value, but there is a great deal of common ground:
    • Rituals, regular or weekly services/meetings and occasional festivals are typical of all religions and cultures
    • Rituals help us reflect on the important things and events in life
    • Rituals are also an important feature of everyday life for most people (eg bowing, shaking hands)
    • Elaborate ceremonials, using art, music, dance, etc are important in most religions and cultures
    • Many religious and secular festivals have built on or incorporated old pagan or nature festivals
    • Most family/community celebrations (eg weddings, baptism, initiation ceremonies) are both religious and non-religious
    • Most festivals involve meals, eating and drinking, special or new clothes, flowers, etc

Thursday, August 08, 2013

The Blind Men and the Elephant Musings on INTERFAITH

"Most of us know the Hindu fable of the elephant and the blind men: Five blind men encounter an elephant. One grabs the leg and is convinced it’s  a tree trunk. One holds the tail and is convinced it’s a whip. Another touches the elephant’s trunk and decides it’s a hose while the fourth man pats the side and is sure that it is a wall. The fifth man grabs an ear and marvels how the elephant is very much like a fan. The wise man tells them: “You are all right.” 
And so it is at INTERFAITH. Clients, donors, volunteers, faith communities  and staff all have different perspectives about INTERFAITH and just like the five blind men each of them is absolutely right about what makes INTERFAITH unique. 
And just as in the fable, to discover what the wondrous creature really is, you must put all those separate parts together. So here is our annual sharing of INTERFAITH and all its pieces. You will see that it’s been a busy and marvelous year..."

On the same shelf:

Monday, August 05, 2013

Regarding Sammy Yatim in the Shades of Faith-based Perspectives

PS. Sammy (a shorter name or nickname of people named Samantha or Samuel or Sam or Sameth) in the West; and Sami in Arabic--e.g., a characteristic name of God, As-Sami, in the Quran meaning All-Hearing. Hence, Sammy Yatim may mean many things to many people of diverse faiths. Yatim in Arabic means orphan.
In short, Sammy Yatim, here refers to the boy who belonged to the Syrian Orthodox Church.

  • Sammy Yatim: Priest asks police to serve ‘compassionately’ as teen’s sister calls for action:
    Sammy Yatim’s weeping mother followed his body, hands raised, after a funeral at which the priest asked police to do their duty while “valuing life.”
    The Syriac Orthodox priest, Father Estephanos Issa, said the family does not blame the Toronto police for their son being “brutally attacked” as he held a “Swiss knife,” nor did they speak rage against the officer in the days after the shooting.
    “We have not come to seek revenge . . . They wanted to know the truth,” he said. “They surrender to the justice and they do trust that Canada is a land of justice, is a land of peace.”
    He spoke of Yatim as a dedicated student, athlete and musician — the son of a management consultant and a pediatrician who were respected in Syria and abroad. He liked to paint, play basketball and guitar. When Yatim moved from Aleppo four years ago, Issa said, friends carried him on their shoulders as he left for the airport. continue reading Toronto Star
  • Fatah: No place for race or religion in tragic Toronto shooting, Toronto Sun columnist Tarek Fatah. By Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun  -- "The fact Sammy Yatim and his family have a Christian-Syrian heritage was of little consequence. For many, Sammy’s Arabic last name was a licence to depict him as a crazy Muslim."
  • Toronto police murder of teen Sammy Yatim provokes popular anger, World Socialist Web Site
  • Regarding Sammy Yatim, Troubling questions about the shooting of Sammy Yatim
  • Hold Judgment On Yatim Shooting, Says Police Trainer CBC
  • 'Let's be strong:' Sammy Yatim's sister urges mourners at funeral to to take action to prevent similar deaths, National Post
  • Sammy Yatim, teen killed on Toronto streetcar, honoured during funeral, CTV News
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