Religious Diversity News

2000 Glenmary Research Center Survey of Religious Congregations in America

Source: The Columbus Dispatch

On September 27, 2002 The Columbus Dispatch reported that “the [Glenmary] study estimates that Ohio has 142,255 Jews, 41,281 Muslims and 2,004
Bahais. It found 34 Buddhist, 19 Hindu, nine Sikh and seven Jain groups in the
state but gave no membership estimates… This year’s study included groups such as Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and
Sikhs for the first time. For Muslims, the 1.6 million national figure included
only those who regularly attend mosques that reported figures; for Eastern
religions, it included only the number of worship groups.”

2000 Glenmary Research Center Survey of Religious Congregations in America

Source: The Associated Press

On September 22, 2002 The Associated Press reported that “Minnesota’s religious landscape became more diverse in the 1990s, although
the state remains mostly Lutheran and Catholic, according to a survey of U.S.
religious institutions. From 1990 to 2000, the state has seen double digit percentage increases for
Jews and the Latter-day Saints. Muslims were also counted in significant
for the first time. The research also found that Minnesota has more evangelical
Christians and fewer mainline Protestants… Minnesota is home to Buddhists, Jains,
Sikhs, Hindus, Taoists and Zoroastrians. But while religious activity is higher here (62 percent ascribe to a specific
faith) than the national norm (about 50 percent), it has dropped in Minnesota
over the past decade.”

2009 JAINA Convention

Author: Dilip V. Shah

Source: Ahimsa Times

15th Biennial JAINA Convention was held at the Jain Center of Southern California’s from July 2nd to 5th at Jain Bhavan complex in Los Angeles. The complex is spread over 62,000 sq ft . Over 2500 community members attended the convention from world over. The Theme for the convention was “Ecology the Jain Way”. Care and concern of the environment is a deeply held doctrine of Jainsm from the very beginning because Jains have been told long long before the Science learned that Plants, Water, earth and Air has life and/or is home of countless lives and jains have reverence for all lives (not just of humans or animals). Therefore preservation of nature is a religious duty of everyone. At this convention, lectures and seminars were designed to encompass this theme and suggested ways to take care of the nature in these modern times. Attendees came from all over the USA and Canada, UK; Dubai and India. Of the 2500 attendees, 1000 were persons of age 30 or under. Many monks and scholars also reached from India .

5,000 Attend Jain Convention in New Jersey

Author: Parveen Chopra

Source: India eNews

Over 5,000 people attended the 14th biennial convention of JAINA – Federation of Jain Associations in North America – that was held in New Jersey.

The theme of the three-day convention that began Friday in Edison city was ‘Peace through Dialogue’.

On the first day, the convention was addressed by Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, popular yoga guru Swami Ramdev, Gurudev Chitrabhanu, considered the first Jain religious leader to come to the West and who inspired the formation of JAINA in the early 1980s, L.M. Singhvi, eminent jurist and former Indian High Commissioner to Britain, and Frank Pallone, Congressman from New Jersey.

Chitrabhanu narrated the history of JAINA and its success in uniting various Jain sects in the U.S. Elaborating on the convention theme, he said peace through dialogue was possible only when one has inner peace. He added that Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of non-violence was inspired by Lord Mahavir, the last Jain Tirthankara.

A Family of Jain Religion Observes Ramadan in India

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency

Believing that Ramadan is a month during which God tests its followers, a family of the Jain religion in Mumbai, capital city of Maharashtra, has been observing the month- long Ramadan, one of the pillars of the Muslim faith, in the past 30 years.

While the practice is sacred for Muslims, Jains too are known to observe an annual fast during the time of Pajusan.

Explaining what makes her family observe the holy fast of the Muslim community, Smita Mandeviya said: “I was a frequent visitor at the residence of Maulana Abbas Rizvi, who stayed near. He regarded me as his own daughter. He used to observe the fast, and I was inspired by him to fast,” Asian Age quoted Mandeviya as saying from Mumbai.

Despite being a staunch Jain, Mandeviya speaks chaste Urdu. She believes “faith does not depend on the tenets of any religion.” She said that even the stomach needed some rest and that fasting as a practice also has scientific backing.

A Hundred Thousand Dalits Gather in Maharashtra to Burn Anti-Conversion Laws

Author: Nirmala Carvalho

Source: Asia News

More than 100,000 Indian Dalits or outcastes are meeting on Saturday in Nagpur, Maharashtra, to publicly burn copies of the anti-conversion laws adopted by some of India’s states and express their support to anyone who wants to abandon the Indian caste system. The event will also mark the 50th anniversary of the conversion from Hinduism to Buddhism of Baba Ambedkar, the charismatic “architect of the Indian Constitution” and first law minister of independent India.

The rally, called the “World Freedom of Conscience and Freedom of Religion Day”, will be held at Kasturchand Park where, according to the chairman of the All India Confederation of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Organisations, copies of the so-called anti-conversion laws will be symbolically burnt.

Udit Raj, who is fighting for Dalit equality, said that “the government of Gujarat has approved an anti-conversion law that describes Jainism and Buddhism as ‘Hindu sects’. We are outraged by this ridiculous action.”

“On the one hand, Hindu extremists have nothing better to do than accuse and harass Christians and Muslims for allegedly carrying out mass conversions; on the other, they are trying to include two great religions in their own. Where is freedom of conscience?” he asked.

The rally will also give people the opportunity to forsake the Indian caste system by making a written statement.

A Jain Hospital Exclusively for Birds

Author: D.N. Jha

Source: Meri News

THE JAINS, who constitute hardly one per cent of the country’s population, continue to adhere to the tenets of their religion. The bird hospital in Chandini Chowk is just one example of the lofty principles that they are devoted to. It also reflects their belief in freedom of all living beings, no matter how small or insignificant they are.

Next to Chandni Chowk, right across the Red Fort, is Digambar Jain temple. In the same complex is a unique and interesting hospital situated, where only birds are admitted.

Run by legendary Aggarwal Digambar Jain panchayat, Delhi, the hospital was founded in 1956 on the Jain principle of aversion to killing. The hospital has separate wards in form of cages for different species of birds like sparrows, parrots, domestic fowls and pigeons. It also has a research laboratory and even an intensive care unit for its serious patients.

The people, especially the Jain merchants of the area, bring the birds that are usually wounded by ceiling fans or by other means for treatments. The hospital admits a maximum of 60 injured birds per day. The birds are then treated, bathed and are given nutritious diet so that it recover[s] soon. It is eventually released, especially on Saturdays, after it is declared fit and healthy.

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