Religious Diversity News

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Young Christians Learn about Islamic Principles

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Indian Catholic

An Islamic institute is conducting a course to teach Protestant youths about Islam and pluralism.

Wahid Institute, initiated by former president Abdurrahman Wahid, is cooperating with the Crisis Center of the Christian Church of Indonesia (GKI, Indonesian acronym) in running the four-session course.

Thirty GKI youths including students, writers, broadcasters and social activists attended the first three-hour session on Islam and Believers of Other Religions, held on Jan. 18 at the institute’s hall in Jakarta.

The Friday-evening sessions run through Feb. 8 and will end with a three-day live-in program in a pesantren, or Islamic boarding school, in Yogyakarta, 420 kilometers southeast of the capital.

Subsequent sessions are titled The Map and Movement of Contemporary Islam; Islam, Politics, and Formalization of Shari’a; and Islam and Its Believers’ Problems. Shari’a is the Islamic legal code.

Young Christians, Muslims, Jews Explore Unity in Diversity

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Christian Today

Young Christian, Jewish and Muslim adults have gathered from around the world to explore inter-faith relations and unity in diversity during a summer seminar at the World Council of Churches’ (WCC) Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland.

The July seminar has brought together 21 participants from Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the Americas to take a closer look at the question, ‘How can we affirm our identity as Muslims, Jews and Christians not in separation or against each other but in relation to one another?’

The participants will also speculate on what the future holds as the traditional “one nation, one culture and one religion” gives way to greater cultural and religious diversity.

Young European Muslims Claim Space in European Society


On December 1, 2003 posted a story from Newsweek International on the debate over where Islam fits in European culture, focusing on the younger generation of European-born Muslims who are claiming their own space in European society: “The real challenge…lies not with those who have checked out of the system, but those who want in, on their own terms. That’s the role of a new crop of twenty- and thirtysomethings—call them Generation M—who are Europeans in almost every sense of the word. Unlike their forebears, they are mostly born in Europe and claim it as their own society. They do well in school and the workplace and, often, have effectively ‘Christianized’ their faith by making it a personal matter…Rather than struggling to ‘fit in,’ these Gen Mers want Europe to make space for them, and as their numbers grow, Europe needs them to succeed.”

Young Female Athletes Negotiate Requirements of Muslim Faith and Sports

Source: The Plain Dealer

On September 13, 2002 The Plain Dealer featured an article on the Farley-Samad family of Shaker Heights, Ohio. The four sisters all played sports at Shaker Heights High, and negotiated the requirements of their Muslim faith through their athletic careers. The girls had “letters of exemption from the Ohio High School Athletic Association” (OHSAA) so they could wear their hijab during games.  “Even when they are playing sports – a combination of basketball, track, cross
country and volleyball for each – they wrap up their hair and pull on long
pants…  Susan Brown, now the girls athletic director at Shaker, grew close to the
family while coaching… As the basketball coach, she took the annual
responsibility of tracking down the OHSAA letters. She tried to head off the
referees’ questions before they reached her players… And she let the girls slip out of practice for the afternoon prayer or a
quick sandwich that ended a day of fasting during Ramadan.”

Young Filmmakers Put Lives of Muslims in Focus

Author: Jason Millman

Source: USA Today

Muslim Americans say they often feel like strangers in their own country, and the struggle to overcome stereotypes became more complicated after 9/11.

So when given the chance to tell their stories, more than 100 young Muslim American filmmakers poured their creative energies into producing four- to five-minute films about Islam and its followers for an online competition. Winners are being announced today.

Young French Muslims Vent Frustrations on Iraq’s Battlefields— and Come Home to Recruit

Author: Ingrid Rousseau and Daniel Woolls

Source: The International Herald Tribune

Wire Service: AP

Boubakeur el Hakim traded his Paris neighborhood of boulangeries and halal butcher shops for the insurgent camps of Iraq. When he came home, he told his war stories to other young men on the forgotten edges of French society, allegedly persuading some to follow in his footsteps.

His younger brother did, and died fighting U.S. forces.

After years of investigation by French authorities, el Hakim, 24, went on trial this month in a case exposing how the Iraq war has sucked radical youths from Europe to a battlefield where they have learned skills that officials fear may one day be used in domestic terror attacks.

Along with four other young Frenchmen, a Moroccan and an Algerian, el Hakim is accused of funneling French Muslim fighters to Iraq. All the Frenchmen except suspected ringleader Farid Benyettou, 26, have acknowledged going to Iraq or planning to go. All deny inciting others to go.

Young Hindu Conference Will Lead to Formation of World Hindu Youth Organization

Source: The Times of India

On August 29, 2004 The Times of India reported, “Some 180 young Hindus from around the world will meet in the Indonesian resort of Bali in November to set up a global secretariat that will seek to spread the virtues of the Hindu religion. The organisers include two young Balinese Hindus who are now here meeting community leaders in India to canvass support for the conference that will lead to a World Hindu Youth Organisation (WHYO). ‘Our aim is to meet our Hindu brothers and sisters from around the world, network and see what we can learn from them,’ said A A Arya Wedakarna, 24, a PhD student of Balinese origin who lives in Jakarta.”

Young Hindu Voter Defends Republican Stance

Source: Indian Life & Style Magazine

On February 2, 2004 Indian Life & Style Magazine published a commentary by a young Hindu- American voter, Rohini Khanna: “Seeing my parents passionately exercising their constitutionally-given right to representation and giving back to the community, I, too, have espoused these values. As immigrants who have lived the American dream, they raised me in a home that balanced Hindu practices and mainstream American ideology.

Lessons from this environment and from my childhood friends and social studies classes helped me realize the Republican Party pursues my beliefs and vision for a better America.

Many people object to my commitment to the Republican Party and Republican activism on the ground that this party does not encourage minority/immigrant issues.

My response: There are no such issues. There are only issues that affect all of us Americans as citizens.”

‘Young Imam’ Is the Reality Show Creating All the Buzz In Malaysia

Author: James Hookway

Source: The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. has “American Idol.” Britain has “The X Factor.” Malaysia, one of the world’s more progressive Muslim nations, has something rather different—a televised search for the country’s most eligible young religious leader.

“Young Imam” might look familiar at first glance. Ten good-looking male contestants in sharp-looking suits are assigned to sing and complete a series of complex tasks. At the end of the show, the studio lights dim, the music drops to a whisper, and a clutch of young hopefuls step forward nervously, waiting hand-in-hand to find out who will be sent home that night.

Instead of a record contract or a million-dollar prize, though, the last imam standing wins a scholarship to the al-Madinah University in Saudi Arabia, a job leading prayers at a Kuala Lumpur mosque and an expense-paid trip to Mecca to perform the Haj pilgrimage.