Religious Diversity News

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Hasidic Man Killed in Police Shooting in New York

Source: New York Daily News

On September 1, 1999, the Daily News of New York
published an article on the shooting of Gideon Busch. After a meeting
with Mayor Rudolph Guiliani and Commissioner Safir, several Orthodox
Jewish leaders, including Noach Dear, held a news conference in
support of the Police Department. “The Police Department did what
they had to do,” Dear said. Safir also defended his officers: “This
isn’t the movies. You don’t shoot hammers out of hands. You don’t
shoot people in the leg. If you use your weapon in exerting deadly
physical force, then you shoot to stop the individual who is exerting
that deadly force against you. That’s what happened. Had they not, we
probably would have a dead police officer.” Some Jewish leaders, like
Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) were not supportive of the police
action: “A man who was clearly recognized by the police as an EDP
[emotionally disturbed person] was gunned down…Then we are
told that the shooting was justified. How?…This is not Dodge City,
this is Borough Park.”

Jewish High Holy Days – Year 5760

Source: The Denver Post

On August 30, 1999, The Denver Post published an article
on the new Boulder Jewish Community Center in Boulder, Colorado. The
17,000 square-foot facility provides meeting space for many local
Jewish organizations and has begun to act as a center of Jewish life
in Boulder. Ellen Brown, a board member of the Boulder Jewish
Community Foundation, stated: “All the Jewish organizations in
Boulder have gotten together and we’re going to have one building
where everyone can be together, the preschools and the grandparents
and the singles and the synagogues.” To ring in the New Year, Rabbi
Yisroel Engel led the center’s first major event by teaching 400
people how to make a shofar. The Jewish Community Center is the first
of its kind in the Boulder area, even though the county has an
estimated 10,000 Jews.

Jews for Jesus to Build Theme Park in Orlando, Florida

Source: The Buffalo News

On August 29, 1999, The Buffalo News reported that Jews
for Jesus plans to build a $10 million theme park called The Holy
Land Experience on 15 acres near the Walt Disney World park in
Orlando, FL. The park “will recreate the land of Israel shortly after
Jesus’ death with replicas of the Herodian Temple and the limestone
caves of Qumran, where the Dead Sea scrolls were found.”
Groundbreaking is scheduled for next month and the park plans to open
in the Autumn of 2000.

Interfaith Group in St. Louis Denounces “Christian Identity”

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

On August 29, 1999, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported
that the 24 leaders of faith groups that make up the Interfaith
Partnership of Metropolitan St. Louis issued an educational statement
denouncing Christian Identity: “We find the Christian Identity
movement not only an affront and embarrassment to all persons who
identify themselves with the name Christian, but a cruel mockery of
the very values, principles and narratives which shape the entire
Christian tradition. This racism, bigotry and hatred is deplorable.”
The statement continues: “The interfaith community calls upon all
persons of good will, whatever their religious tradition, to stand
against such abuses and distortions of the good which authentic faith
seeks to bring to all of humanity, regardless of race, class,
nationality or religion.” There are a reported 102 Christian Identity
affiliates in 35 states, including 14 in rural Missouri and five in
Illinois.

News Article Generates Controversy in American Muslim Community

Source: Star Tribune

On August 28, 1999, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis
published a response by Ibrahim Hooper, Washington, D.C. National
Communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations
(CAIR), to a second article written by Daniel Pipes, director of
Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum, in the August 24th issue of the
Star Tribune. Hooper challenges several of the claims that
Pipes makes in his article. First, Hooper calls Pipes’ distinction
between patriotic and chauvinist Muslims spurious. Second, Hooper
states that CAIR has only refuted Hamas and Osama bin Laden and
denies that CAIR has ever apologized for them. Hooper asserts that
Pipes provides no objective support for his claim that CAIR promotes
terrorism. Hooper
finishes his response by refuting Pipes’ claim that CAIR defends
“honor killing” by showing that CAIR actually tried to distance Islam
from the act of a possible honor killing in Ohio. The full quote from
CAIR-Ohio on the criminal case: “Anyone guilty of murder should be
prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but that prosecution must
not be based on religious or ethnic stereotyping and bias.” Hooper
concludes his article by stating that CAIR will “defend Islam from
smears.”

New Greek Orthodox Archbishop Appointed

Source: The New York Times

On August 28, 1999, The New York Times reported that
Metropolitan Demetrios, the Greek theologian, as been appointed as
the next head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Demetrios, 71, studied and taught in the United States in the 1970s
and 80’s and will arrive in New York on September 15th. Three days
later he will be enthroned at a ceremony in the Cathedral of the Holy
Trinity in New York.

Georgetown University Names First Muslim Chaplain

Source: The New York Times

On August 28, 1999, The New York Times reported that
Georgetown University appointed Imam Yahya Hendi as its first Muslim
chaplain. Hendi, who served as chaplain at the National Naval Medical
Center and the National Institutes of Health, began work on August
10th at Georgetown. Hendi is also a doctoral student in philosophy
and comparative religions at Temple University in Philadelphia. Rev.
Adam Bunnell, the Georgetown chaplain who is in charge of the campus
ministry, estimates that between 5 and 8 percent of the Georgetown
population is Muslim.

Prayers and Aid for Earthquake Victims in Turkey

Source: The Washington Post

On August 26, 1999, The Washington Post reported that
mosques and churches from the Maryland Counties of Calvert, Charles,
and St. Mary’s have gathered donations and offered prayers for the
earthquake victims in northwestern Turkey, where 12,000 people died
and 33,000 people were injured on August 17th. Relief officials said
that the Washington area has a main source of aid. Relief contributions are being accepted
by the Council on American-Islamic Relations at (202) 659-CAIR
and the Turkish Relief Association at 1-877-TURKEY9.

World Festival of Sacred Music

Source: Los Angeles Times

On August 25, 1999, the Los Angeles Times reported that a
nine-day World Festival of Sacred Music will take place in religious
sites throughout the city of Los Angeles beginning October 9th, 1999.
With the Dalai Lama as a primary sponsor of the event, more than 80
concerts have been scheduled, most of which will take place in
churches, synagogues, and temples. The music of Asia and the South
Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, South America, and eastern Europe
will be featured. Tickets are priced from $5, and some of the events
are free. Judy Mitoma, director of the festival, stated: “It’s not
about proselytizing your message or getting your name out there, or
about judging, which creates tension between religions…It’s about
accepting what people from all sorts of backgrounds have to offer.”

The Dalai Lama Visits Indiana

Source: The Indianapolis Star

On August 24, 1999, The Indianapolis Star reported that
800 people representing a multitude of faiths attended the Interfaith
Vigil for World Peace at the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in
Bloomington, Indiana. The vigil was part of the Dalai Lama’s 12-day
visit to Bloomington, where he was leading the Kalachakra for World
Peace. In the 70-minute vigil, there were 20 minutes of silent prayer
and meditation before a globe placed in the center of the church.
Sister Mary Margaret Funk of Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech
Grove, IN, organized the event. “In the silence, there is a sense of
our oneness…I think the experience offers us hope. We begin here
for peace,” Funk said.