Religious Diversity News

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Plans for 60-Foot-High Theravada Buddhist Temple OK’d By Raynham Planners

Author: Susan Parkou Weinstein

Source: The Buddhist Channel/Wicked Local Raynham,9549,0,0,1,0

Four years after setting up home and shrine in a humble New England farmhouse, a group of Thai Buddhist monks is preparing for grander quarters.



By 2012, a sprawling 60-foot-high Theravada Buddhist temple and meditation center will rise from the South Street East property. It will be topped by a 180-foot golden spire.

Justice Department Issues Report On 10th Anniversary Of the Religious Land Use And Institutionalized Persons Act

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The United States Justice Department

The Justice Department today issued a report marking the 10th anniversary of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), showing that the law has had a positive impact on protecting the religious freedom of a wide range of faith groups, and had a particularly significant impact protecting the religious freedom of minorities.

ADL Starts Interfaith Coalition to Help US Muslims

Author: Jordana Horn

Source: The Jerusalem Post

One month after taking a stand against construction of the proposed Islamic Cultural Center near the destroyed World Trade Center site in Manhattan, the Anti-Defamation League has started an interfaith coalition meant to help American Muslim communities that are facing opposition to the building of mosques.

The Interfaith Coalition on Mosques (ICOM) is composed of individuals and Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups, and is meant to provide support to Muslims when their rights are violated.

Imam Talks Compromise on Islamic Center

Author: Anne Barnard

Source: The New York Times

The imam working on the planned Muslim community center near ground zero said Monday he was open to all options to resolve the fierce dispute surrounding it, while possibly provoking the project’s opponents by declaring that the site, two blocks from the former World Trade Center, was not “hallowed ground.”


Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan, the imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, did not say he would be willing to move the center, the location of which opponents describe as insensitive to the memory of those killed by radical Islamists on 9/11. But he vowed to find a way out of the current impasse over its appropriateness.

Tariq Ramadan: Even Now, Muslims Must Have Faith In America

Author: Tariq Ramadan

Source: The Washington Post

Just a short time ago, Europe seemed to be the part of the West where fears of Islam were most evident, with its bitter controversies over headscarf bans or the construction of mosques in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Yet in recent weeks, America’s relationship with Islam appears to have changed. The battle over a planned Islamic community center near Ground Zero in New York and the proposed burning of the Koran by a Florida pastor have revealed similar worries, and journalists and intellectuals (including, ironically, European ones) have been quick to describe the rise of Islamophobia in America.

Polls show that nearly half of Americans have unfavorable views of Islam, and the fear of this faith in America is undeniable. But is it as simple as xenophobia and racism? I do not believe so. Natural and understandable concerns can be transformed into active rejection and open racism when political discourse and media coverage fan the flames for ideological, religious or economic interests. That is what is happening in America today.

Imam Says Moving Center Could Spur Radicals

Author: Anne Barnard

Source: The New York Times

The imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said on Wednesday night that if he had known how much strife would arise over his plan for a Muslim community center and mosque two blocks from the World Trade Center site, he would not have proposed it.

“If I knew that this would happen, that this would cause this kind of pain, I wouldn’t have done it,” the imam told Soledad O’Brien on “Larry King Live” on CNN in his first extensive televised remarks since the controversy ballooned after the project cleared its last legal hurdle last month. “My life has been devoted to peacemaking.”

But the imam said he could not withdraw the plan because that would embolden radicals of all faiths and create security risks for the United States and Americans abroad.

Building On Faith

Author: Feisal Abdul Rauf

Source: The New York Times

AS my flight approached America last weekend, my mind circled back to the furor that has broken out over plans to build Cordoba House, a community center in Lower Manhattan. I have been away from home for two months, speaking abroad about cooperation among people from different religions. Every day, including the past two weeks spent representing my country on a State Department tour in the Middle East, I have been struck by how the controversy has riveted the attention of Americans, as well as nearly everyone I met in my travels.

We have all been awed by how inflamed and emotional the issue of the proposed community center has become. The level of attention reflects the degree to which people care about the very American values under debate: recognition of the rights of others, tolerance and freedom of worship.