Religious Diversity News

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Ecumenical Martin Luther King Celebration

Source: Newsday

On January 18, 1999, Newsday reported on the 14th annual
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ecumenical Celebration, which was held
this year at the Sons of Israel Synagogue in Woodmere, NY.
Approximately 500 Jews, Christians, and Muslims attended the
celebration with speakers representing all three religions.

Ramadan Reflections

Source: The Boston Globe

The Boston Globe published an article on January 17,
1999 about the presence of the Islamic population in the Greater
Boston region. The Globe reports that there are an estimated
40,000 Muslims in Massachusetts, with significant clusters in the
Shrewsbury-Northborough-Westborough area and in the Natick-Framingham
areas. Omar Khalidi of Wayland, an architect and independent scholar
at MIT, attributes the growth of the Muslim community in the
Metrowest region of Boston to the “availability of jobs in the
computer industry and area hospitals, and also because of its good
schools.” Massachusetts is also home to the only Shi’ite mosque in
New England, the Islamic Masumeen Center in Hopkinton, which has a
community of 60 families and a mailing list of 250 people in five
states.

Ramadan Reflections

Source: The Hartford Courant

On January 17, 1999, The Hartford Courant reported that
the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford is inviting outsiders to
its Berlin Mosque to break the fast at “A Taste of Islam,” which is
the group’s first open house and features food from around the world.

Ramadan Reflections

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

On January 10, 1999, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported
on the growing influence of Islam in the Pittsburgh area. The
Post-Gazette mentions that Muslims in the Pittsburgh area have
conducted “some of the most effective public relations of any
religious community.” With approximately 10,000 adherents in the
Greater Pittsburgh area, Muslims have “mounted an enthusiastic effort
to introduce the community to their faith.”

Tibetan Buddhist Community Strong in Ojai, CA

Source: Los Angeles Times

On January 9, 1999, the Los Angeles Times published an
article on the Tibetan Buddhist community in the small town of Ojai,
CA. Ojai, which is also home to the Krishnamurti Foundation, the
Krotona Institute and Meditation Mount, has been home to the Tibetan
Buddhist Dharma Center since 1989. The Tibetan Buddhist community in
Ojai consists of roughly 40 members, who have a total of 37 children.

Celebration of 300th Anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh

Source: The Arizona Republic

On January 9, 1999, The Arizona Republic reported that the International
Symposium on Khalsa will be held on January 9-10, 1999 in
Phoenix. The symposium will be the U.S. celebration of the 300th
anniversary of when the Guru Gobind Singh established the current
Sikh identity. Yogi Bhajan, the Sikh leader in the Western
Hemisphere, is the featured speaker at the event.

Hindus Celebrate New Year

Source: Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times published an article on the New
Year’s celebration of the Hindu community in Northridge, CA. Despite
the fact that Hindus follow their own lunar calendar, many Hindus
worldwide have celebrated the Gregorian New Year since British
colonial rule. This Hindu celebration included the passing out of
pastries and a sacrificial fire to invoke Agni, the god of fire.

Catholic-Jewish Relations

Source: The Buffalo News

On January 2, 1999, the Buffalo News published an
article on the Catholic-Jewish Educational Enrichment Program, which
is an effort to educate students in Catholic and Jewish schools about
each other’s faith. This program is in place in Philadelphia and
similar programs exist in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San
Francisco. It involves a teacher-exchange situation, where a Rabbi
visits to a Catholic school and a Priest visits to a Jewish school. The
Catholic-Jewish Educational Enrichment Program is funded by the
Righteous Persons Foundation, which was established by Steven
Spielberg to bolster interfaith relations.

World Religion Day

Source: St. Petersburg Times

The St. Petersburg Times reported that the Interfaith
Council and Baha’is of Citrus County, Florida are sponsoring a World
Religion Day program on January 17, 1999. World Religion Day was
begun in 1950 by the national administrative body of the Baha’i
faith, the Spiritual Assembly, in the United States in order to
promote religious unity. The subject for this year’s event, which
will include speakers representing Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism,
and Baha’i faiths, is “Life After Death.”