Religious Diversity News

1,000 Buddhists Rally in Thailand Against Muslim Insurgents

Source: Beliefnet

Wire Service: AP

Saba Yoi, Thailand – Hundreds of Buddhists rallied in Thailand’s restive south Monday in anger over a bloody Islamic insurgency amid fears it could erupt into a sectarian battle between religious communities, officials said.

Protesters demanded that civilians be allowed to carry guns to protect themselves, and urged authorities to resist pressure from Muslims to withdraw soldiers and police from Songkhla province’s Saba Yoi district.

Army spokesman Col. Akara Thiprot said Monday’s rally was the largest in three years, and estimated more than 1,000 Buddhists joined the protest.

Buddhist protesters fear that Muslim groups will ask security forces to leave the district following a rare attack on children at an Islamic boarding school two weeks ago that left three teenage students dead and seven others injured.

The attack on the Islamic school sparked a riot by Muslims who refused to let the authorities into the site to investigate. Buddhists later staged a counter-protest to demand that security forces maintain the rule of law.

10,000 Dearborn Citizens Rally in Support of Lebanon

Source: Detroit Free Press

On July 18, 2006 the Detroit Free Press reported, “Carrying banners saying ‘Stop Israeli Terrorism’ and chanting antiwar slogans, some 10,000 people rallied in the center of metro Detroit’s Arab-American community in Dearborn on Tuesday, demanding that the U.S. government put pressure on Israel to halt attacks in Lebanon.

Although the protesters were peaceful, their message was strong, representing a profound difference of opinion between two of metro Detroit’s most vital communities.

Arab-American marchers carried signs saying ‘Down, down Israel’ and chanted, ‘One, two, three, four. Stop the bombing. Stop the War.’

Meanwhile, members of the Jewish community — who have a rally scheduled for 7 tonight at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield — have repeatedly said that Israel’s air strikes on Lebanese targets have been intended to protect Israel from the militant group Hizballah, which is strong in southern Lebanon. Hizballah also has sent rockets and bombs into northern Israel.

Israel’s attacks on Lebanon began about a week ago after Hizballah guerrillas attacked a patrol on the border in northern Israel and captured two soldiers.

As many as 226 people have been killed in Lebanon. About 25 have been killed in Israel.

Police estimated the crowd in Dearborn at more than 10,000. Protesters, some draped in the Lebanese flag, marched to Hemlock Park. There, speakers shouted their message to crowds in hopes of getting the Bush administration’s attention.”

10 Commandments Monuments Barred from Capital Lawns

Source: The Washington Post

On July 30, 2000, The Washington Post reported that a “federal judge issued a temporary injunction Friday barring Indiana from erecting a Ten Commandments monument on the Statehouse lawn.” The state has not decided if it will appeal, said a spokeswoman for the governor. She added that “We believe that because this monument was to be displayed in a historical context it would be constitutional.” Indiana Civil Liberties Lawyer Ken Falk commented that “The judge indicated that…the monument lacks a secular purpose and it has the effect of endorsing a religious belief. Either one of those two is enough to render the law unconstitutional.”

$10 Million Dollars Pledged by Muslim Community for Relief Efforts

Source: PR Newswire / Council on American-Islamic Relations

On September 4, 2005 the Council on American-Islamic Relations reported, “A coalition of major American Islamic groups meeting at the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in Chicago today announced a pledge to raise $10 million in humanitarian relief for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The coalition also announced the formation of a Muslim Hurricane Relief
Task Force (MHRTF) to coordinate the aid effort… MHRTF guidelines for collection and distribution of
funds will focus on financial transparency and accountability as set forth in relevant government regulations and standards. No proselytizing of hurricane victims will be allowed by any member of the task force… The initial MHRTF action plan includes an assessment of the humanitarian needs that can be met by American Muslim financial and human resources, as well as a similar assessment of the Islamic community’s ability to meet those needs. More than $2 million in hurricane aid has already been disbursed by Islamic charities. Muslim relief workers are currently on the ground in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi. Other task force efforts will focus on evaluating the material and
spiritual requirements of Gulf Coast Muslims.”

10 Questions for a Theologian


Source: The Beacon News,2_5_AU29_10QUESTIONS_S1.article

If you look up “theologian” in the dictionary, you might find a picture of Martin Forward.

Forward is the executive director of the Wackerlin Center for Faith and Action at Aurora University, and a full-time truth-seeker. He teaches religion at AU, which generally means he helps his students ponder the big questions of life. Originally from England, Forward is a British Methodist minister. He’s worked at prestigious universities in Cambridge, and in Hyderabad, India, teaching and studying the world’s religions.

With the Wackerlin Center, Forward puts his faith and natural curiosity into action, bringing local churches, mosques and synagogues together to explore religions and customs.

And Forward is working on a dictionary of his own. He’s been chosen to edit a new book on Christian-Muslim relations. With a team of more than 60 collaborators, Forward will put together a book of entries on topics of interest to Christians and Muslims, from both perspectives. The book is scheduled to come out in 2012.

10th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference Meets in Malaysia

Source: Yahoo! News

On October 18, 2003, Yahoo! News posted an Agence France Presse (AFP) article that reported, “The 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference’s two day summit at Malaysia’s administrative capital Putrajaya was the largest gathering of Muslim leaders since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The leaders — who represent 1.3 billion people — spoke of a Muslim world under siege due to the global focus on terrorism by Islamic extremists in the wake of the September 11 and other attacks such as last year’s Bali bombing. The OIC’s final communique strongly condemned terrorism, while making the point of including ‘state terrorism,’ a term usually used to refer to Israel’s crackdown on the Palestinians. Muslim leaders also rejected ‘selectivity and duplicity’ of standards in combating terrorism and attempts to associate terrorism with a particular religion or culture.”

10th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference Meets in Malaysia

Source: BBC News

On October 13, 2003 the BBC News ran a story on the Islamic Summit Conference in Malaysia, “the biggest gathering of Muslim nations in three years,” which said “the Islamic world faces ‘unprecedented’ dangers” in the current global situation: “[Abdelouahed Belkeziz, secretary-general of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference] said the 11 September attacks on the United States two years ago had caused the world to forget Islam’s message of peace and tolerance and to focus instead on the violence perpetrated by extremists. He said that as a result, Islam itself was facing false accusations, while joint Islamic action was unable to secure the Muslim world’s protection and pride.”

11 Dead in Aftermath of Mosque Bombing

Source: Yahoo! News

Wire Service: AP

On May 31, 2005 the Associated Press reported, “A mob angered by an al-Qaida-linked suicide bombing in a Shiite mosque set a KFC restaurant afire in overnight rioting, killing six employees and bringing the day’s overall death toll to 11, police said Tuesday.

Security in Karachi shifted into ‘high alert,’ said Rauf Siddiqi, home minister of Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital.

‘These incidents are happening one after the other. We are trying to find a link between them,’ he told the private Geo television station. ‘This is a criminal and merciless attack.’

The bomber slipped into the mosque during a shootout with police that left another attacker and two officers dead, and blew himself up during evening prayers Monday, killing one worshipper and wounding 20.

An enraged crowd of about 1,000 Shiites, many beating their chests in mourning, rampaged afterward in this southern city, setting fire to cars and shops and killing at least six more people.”

12,000 American Muslims to Make Pilgrimage to Mecca

Author: Omar Sacirbey

Source: The Huffington Post

Wire Service: RNS

Some 12,000 American Muslims are expected to join an estimated 2.5 million pilgrims in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca for the hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage that this year runs between Nov. 14 and 18.

The number of pilgrims expected is about the same as in recent years, said Nail Al-Jubeir, a spokesman for the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington, D.C., which limits pilgrims to making the pilgrimage no more than once every five years. 

Islam requires followers who are physically and financially capable to complete the hajj once in their lifetime.

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