Religious Diversity News

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Youth Slate Wins Surrey Temple Election

Author: Boaz Joseph

Source: BC Local News/Surrey North Delta Leader

Members of the Guru Nanak Sikh temple in Surrey have opted for change, voting in the Sikh Youth slate led by Bikramjit Singh Sandhar and voting out the group led by Harjinder Singh (“Thana”) Cheema that has controlled the second-largest gurdwara in North America (after the Ross Street Temple in Vancouver) for over a decade.

Results of the Sunday vote were posted online Monday morning showing 13,458 ballots were cast for Sikh Youth and 7,247 for the Cheema slate.

It was the second victory for the youth slate, who won last year only to see their win disputed in court.

Youth Summit Held in New York on Western-Muslim World Relations

Source: Council on American-Islamic Relations

On June 7, 2006 the Council on American-Islamic Relations posted an announcement on their website that read, “Students and young professionals wishing to make a difference in the world are invited to apply for the Young Leaders Summit on the Future of Western-Muslim World Relations, which is taking place on July 8th at the CUNY Graduate Center in downtown New York City. The summit will bring together young global leaders from across the world for a day of workshops, speakers, and discussions on how young people can take positive action to improve Western-Muslim World relations. Students will hear from top experts and then have the chance to weigh in with their own view on the future of this critical global relationship. “

Youth Take Part in “Spiritual Swap,” Experiencing Another Religion for a Day

Source: Vuvuzela Online

On November 17, 2005 Vuvuzela Online reported, “South Africa has often been referred to as the rainbow nation because of the diverse cultures, religions and people that it houses. However, this diversity is not always easy to accommodate. Wits University ‘s exams’ clash with religious holidays testifies to the complexity that diversity has brought. But as Head of Exams, Joyce Smith, discovered, religious tolerance does not always translate into religious freedom. Nor does it ensure an understanding of the diverse religious practices of South Africans. To truly respect these religions, one needs to have an understanding of their practices and beliefs…

Vuvuzela online embarked on a project to help do just that. Students were asked to volunteer to partake in a ‘spiritual swop’. Volunteers experienced an alternative faith for one day to gain an understanding of the religion and its customs, from an outsider’s point of view. The volunteers were not necessarily interested in the religion, but simply chose to explore the alternate religion for a day.

Each volunteer was asked to keep a little diary or to jot down their thoughts during or after the religious celebration that they attended.”

Youthful Voice Stirs Challenge to Secular Turks

Author: Sabrina Tavernise

Source: The International Herald Tribune

High school hurt for Havva Yilmaz. She tried out several selves. She ran away. Nothing felt right.

“There was no sincerity,” she said. “It was shallow.”

So at 16, she did something none of her friends had done: She put on an Islamic head scarf.

In most Muslim countries, that would be a nonevent. In Turkey, it was a rebellion. Turkey has built its modern identity on secularism. Women on billboards do not wear scarves. The scarves are banned in schools and universities. So Yilmaz dropped out of school. Her parents were angry. Her classmates stopped calling her.

Like many young people at a time of religious revival across the Muslim world, Yilmaz, now 21, is more observant than her parents. Her mother wears a scarf, but cannot read the Koran in Arabic. They do not pray five times a day. The habits were typical for their generation — Turks who moved from the countryside during industrialization.

“Before I decided to cover, I knew who I was not,” Yilmaz said, sitting in a leafy Ottoman-era courtyard. “After I covered, I finally knew who I was.”

While her decision was in some ways a recognizable act of youthful rebellion, in Turkey her personal choices are part of a paradox at the heart of the country’s modern identity.

Turkey is now run by a party of observant Muslims, but its reigning ideology and law are strictly secular, dating from the authoritarian rule in the 1920s of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a former army general who pushed Turkey toward the West and cut its roots with the Ottoman East. For some young people today, freedom means the right to practice Islam, and self-expression means covering their hair.

They are redrawing lines between freedom and devotion, modernization and tradition, and blurring some prevailing distinctions between East and West.

Youths take part in interfaith service project – Tulsa World

Youths take part in interfaith service projectTulsa WorldThe students were participating in an interfaith service project designed to foster friendships and understanding among youths of different faith traditions and also to make contributions to the community. They were all members of youth groups at …

Youths to Join In Interfaith Celebration Of Hanukkah

Author: Joshunda Sanders

Source: The Statesman

Hanukkah, a holiday that many believe commemorates religious freedom, begins today, and for the first time, Congregation Beth Israel has extended an invitation for the Muslim Youth of North America’s Austin chapter to join its celebration.

Yuba City District to Teach Sikhism in Schools

Source: Sikh Net

On May 5, 2004 Sikh Net reported, “While many American Sikhs have faced a lot of harassment and misunderstanding since 9/11, the Yuba City Unified School District has taken an important step to address this issue. All students in this school district will be offered educational materials about Sikhs and their beliefs.

First-graders will be given the opportunity to use a coloring book called, ‘The Boy with Long Hair'(available at Middle school students will use the Usborne Book of World Religions that includes information about Sikhs and Sikhism, in their World Religion classes.

This step is being taken by the Yuba City School District to promote cross cultural and religious understanding among school children. The Sikh community in Northern California is hopeful that these steps taken by the Yuba City Unified School District will set a positive example for school districts around the country.”