Atlanta, Georgia, the “birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement,” commemorates the nation’s struggle for racial equality in an international World Peace Rose Garden. Here, bands of red and white roses interweave, symbolizing the bringing together of people across racial and ethnic lines. In a similar way, the roses symbolize the way a philosophy of nonviolence brought together two unlikely and geographically distant compatriots in their struggle for equal rights: Dr. Martin Luther KingThe Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) was one of America’s most renowned Christian leaders. After earning his Ph.D. from Boston University, King became minister of a Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama, where he led the successful non-viole..., Jr. and Mahatma GandhiM.K. Gandhi (1869-1948) was one of the great religious leaders and social reformers of the twentieth century. He came to be called Mahatma, the “Great Soul.” Born in western India in Gujarat, he studied law in London and then spent twenty years with t.... Today, the world seems much smaller and global friendships much more frequent as diverse communities of immigrants from India, Pakistan, Korea, and Vietnam have come to make their home in “the Buckle of the BibleThe Greek term biblia means the “books.” Bible is used in both the Jewish and Christian traditions to refer to the book which gathers together their sacred writings. The Hebrew Bible includes the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings—a collection re... Belt.”
It takes but a short drive down Buford Avenue to see Atlanta’s new multiethnic and multi-religious reality. Along the highway is Drepung Loseling MonasteryA monastery is the residence of monks, or monastics; the term is commonly used in both the Christian and Buddhist traditions. Monasticism refers to the life of work, study, and discipline led by monks and nuns., Inc., one of over forty Buddhist communities in the metro area. Drepung Loseling has been a center for Tibetan Buddhist studies, practice, and culture in Atlanta since 1991. Today, its academic programs connect Emory University in Atlanta with Drepung Loseling’s parent monastery in India.
Botanicas and masjidsMasjid (plural masajid) in Arabic means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayer; in English, this word has become “mosque.” A masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrab or prayer niche, and a minbar or pulpit... line Buford Avenue, adding to the street’s global microcosm. Nearby, MasjidMasjid (plural masajid) in Arabic means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayer; in English, this word has become “mosque.” A masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrab or prayer niche, and a minbar or pulpit... Abu Bakr serves approximately eight hundred Muslim families, many of whom live within a six-mile radius of the mosqueMasjid (plural masajid) in Arabic means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayer; in English, this word has become “mosque.” A masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrab or prayer niche, and a minbar or pulpit.... Another masjid, Al-Farooq Mosque, was established in 1980 by Pakistani and Arab immigrants, and is home to one of the few Islamic cemeteries in the country. ElijahElijah was a ninth century BCE Hebrew prophet and visionary. According to tradition, he did not die but was taken to heaven in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2). Elijah’s periodic return to eart. has become part of the rabbinical and mystical Jewish traditi... MuhammadThe Prophet Muhammad, known as “the Seal of the Prophets,” was born in the city of Makkah on the Arabian peninsula in 570 C.E. At 40, he began to receive a series of revelations from God through the angel Gabriel. His small group of followers met with..., then leader of the Nation of IslamIslam in Arabic literally means “submitting” or “submission.” One who submits or surrenders his or her will to God is called a Muslim. While the whole of God’s creation is described as being inherently Muslim, human beings must choose whether to..., founded the Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam in 1958, the oldest of the city’s nearly three dozen mosquesMasjid (plural masajid) in Arabic means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayer; in English, this word has become “mosque.” A masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrab or prayer niche, and a minbar or pulpit....
It was also in 1958 that Atlanta’s oldest synagogueSynagogue, shul in Yiddish, is the most widely used term for a Jewish house of worship. Meaning a “place of gathering,” it is the central institution of Jewish communal life. The structure and role of synagogues has changed through the centuries, but ..., the HebrewHebrew is the ancient language of the Israelites in which the Bible and most of Jewish liturgy is written. Benevolent Congregation (“The Temple”), was bombed, likely due to the fact that RabbiRabbi means “my master,” an authorized teacher or master of the Torah and the classical Jewish tradition. After the fall of the second Temple in 70 CE and the scattering of the Jewish people in exile, the role of the rabbi became very important in gat... Jacob Rothchild made public his ardent support of racial integration. Today, there are over twenty synagoguesSynagogue, shul in Yiddish, is the most widely used term for a Jewish house of worship. Meaning a “place of gathering,” it is the central institution of Jewish communal life. The structure and role of synagogues has changed through the centuries, but ... in metro Atlanta, including Congregation Or VeShalom whose members can trace their roots “from the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, North and South America, and even Atlanta!”
The Hindu community of Greater Atlanta is thriving, adding several new templesA temple is a house of worship, a sacred space housing the deity or central symbol of the tradition. The Temple in Jerusalem was the holy place of the Jewish people until its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE; now the term “temple” is used by th. Ref... in recent decades. The Hindu TempleA temple is a house of worship, a sacred space housing the deity or central symbol of the tradition. The Temple in Jerusalem was the holy place of the Jewish people until its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE; now the term “temple” is used by th. Ref... of Atlanta opened in the southern suburb of Riverdale in 1990 and is now one of over fifteen temples in the metro area. In 2007, BAPS Shri SwaminarayanThe Swaminarayan Hindu movement began in early nineteenth century Gujarat with a religious and social reformer named Sahajanand Swami. It is a devotional bhakti movement, focusing on Vishnu in the form of Krishna and Radha and also on Sahajanand Swami him... MandirA Hindu temple will be called a mandir in northern parts of India or a koyil in the south. There are many styles of temples and temple-complexes, but most temples are laid out according to precise dimensions and proportions and erected to be the symbolic ... opened in the northeastern suburb of Lilburn, a 27,000 square foot structure that sits on twenty-nine acres. Temple volunteer Ritesh Desai spoke of the mandir‘s opening to one NPR reporter: “Many of us have assimilated into the mainstream American culture. Yet the mainstream American culture does not know about India per se, or they might not have been to India. We’re bringing a little bit of India to you.”
According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 81 percent of Georgians profess a belief in GodGod is a term used to refer to the Divine, the Supreme being, Transcendent deity, or Ultimate reality. and 38 percent identify as EvangelicalThe Greek word euangelion means “good news” and an evangelist is one who proclaims and shares the good news of Christ. Evangelism is the preaching and witnessing to that good news. Evangelicals are Christians who emphasize the personal experience of G... Christian. Evangelist Billy Graham was no stranger to the city; over the course of several decades Atlanta was the site of at least three of his crusades. While Evangelical ChristianityChristianity is the religious tradition of Christians: those who confesses faith in Jesus Christ, follow the path Christ taught, and gather together in the community of the church. continues to shape Atlanta’s cultural milieu, the city is now home to a number of AtheistMultivalent terms that often are used to describe people (or their worldview) who reject the practices, dogma, and creeds of established religious traditions. Some people, on the other hand, may identify as Humanist and also consider this either a belief ... groups as well. One such group, Black Nonbelievers, Inc., is notable for its fellowship and service opportunities for African Americans, including at 2011 rally at the state house to honor international “Support an Atheist Day.”
Interfaith efforts in Atlanta are thriving and diverse. Interfaith Airport Chaplaincy, Inc. (IAC, Inc.) is based in Hartsfield-Jackson International, the world’s largest airport and supports travelers of all faiths by providing assistance and a quiet place to pray or meditate in one of the airport’s three chapelsA chapel is a place of worship, smaller than the sanctuary of a church or synagogue, or in an institutional setting such as a college or hospital.. The Interfaith Community Initiatives (ICI) seeks to transform Atlanta into “a model city for interfaith appreciation and cooperation” and does so by hosting weekend “immersion” trips to local religious communities and programming for youth.
The World Peace Rose Garden stands directly in front of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historical Site, a reminder both of the city’s commitment to new growth and to honoring its storied past. As industry and technology continues to attract the world to “the ATL,” the city’s religious diversity expands and makes its mark on Atlanta’s landscape and history.
To learn more about Atlanta’s interfaith infrastructure, click here.