Religious Diversity News

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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.

£1.5m Swaminarayan Hindu Temple to be Built in Wellingborough

Source: Evening Telegraph

On February 26, 2004 the Evening Telegraph reported, “An ambitious new Hindu temple with facilities for the whole community could be built after plans were submitted to a council. The Swaminarayan Hindu Mission centre in Mill Road, Wellingborough, could double in size and become a temple by building on its existing site and onto an adjacent car park, extending all the way down to Victoria Road, if the designs are approved. The new £1.5m temple will be one of only 14 in the country and provide a 16,000sq ft place of worship for up to 700 people. The cost will be reduced because the Hindu faith calls on followers to support projects by fundraising and helping with manual jobs.
Hindus have been using the centre for 27 years and now religious leaders hope the new temple, which will also include a sports hall, will provide the wider community with recreation space and education about the faith.”

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.”

10,000 Gather To Hear Concerns Of Sikhs From Across The Globe

Author: Gurjeet Singh

Source: Sikh Federation

The International Sikh Convention that took place at Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Sedgley Street, Wolverhampton concluded at the weekend and attracted around 10,000 Sikhs. Sikh speakers from around a dozen countries addressed those gathered.

The Sikh Federation (UK) was praised by many speakers from abroad for taking the lead on the international stage in bringing like-minded Sikhs together and trying to secure greater rights for the Sikhs. The main speaker from Punjab was Harinder Singh Khalsa, a member of the Khalsa Action Committee, and the former Ambassador for Norway who resigned in protest following the 1984 Indian army attack on the Golden Temple Complex.

Other prominent speakers included: Surinderpal Singh (Chicago), the Vice-Chair of the World Sikh Council – America Region, and Kavneet Singh (Philadelphia), head of the World Sikh Council sub-committee for human rights. Both spoke about the recent difficulties in the US for Sikhs with the turban screening policy at US airports. One issue that emerged very clearly in the context of the Sikh identity is that the issue of the Sikh identity and Sikh sovereignty are two sides of the same coin.

10,000 Worshippers to Come to Hindu Temple In Etobicoke

Author: Gurmukh Singh

Source: The Globe and Mail

In a religious spectacle never seen before on Canadian soil, about 10,000 Hindus from across North America are expected to converge on a $11-million marble-and-granite temple complex later this month in Etobicoke.

The consecration ceremonies will involve “holy water” brought from more than 250 rivers around the world, including the Ganges and the Yamuna in India and the Mansarovar Lake in Tibet.

Twenty specially trained priests, experts in chanting mantras from 10th-century BC scriptures, are being flown in from India for a week of rituals.

10 Commandments Monuments Barred from Capital Lawns

Source: The Courier-Journal

On August 1, 2000, The Courier Journal reported that “In a written order that follows his ruling last week from the bench, U.S. District Judge Joseph Hood has struck down as unconstitutional a state resolution calling for a monument to the Ten Commandments on the Capitol grounds.” In his order, Hood found “the resolution failed all three constitutional tests it needed to pass.” These tests were that it had a “secular purpose, that its primary effect was secular and that it did not ‘foster’ a government entanglement with religion.” Supporters argued that the monument was “not an endorsement of religion but a shrine to the history of law in Kentucky.”

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.”