October 3, 2008
Diana Eck’s Comments
As fall term was about to begin here, I was in Moscow for a week for the last phase of the five-year project I have undertaken as Master of Lowell House to return a set of 17 historic bells to the Danilov Monastery. Some of you may know that this set of Russian bells were purchased and given to Harvard in 1930, at a time when the church was under attack in Stalin’s Russia. Most of Russia’s great bell-sets were destroyed, so the bells we have had in the Lowell House tower here at Harvard are truly national treasures in Russia. Now, after nearly 80 years, we have been able to return these, and we have had a new set cast at one of the newly-opened foundries in Russia. If you want to read more about this, do look at the Lowell House website at Harvard and the website of the Danilov Monastery in Moscow.
As we round the corner to November 4, we at the Pluralism Project have been paying close attention to the role of religion in Election 2008. How are the campaigns reaching out to religious minority groups? How are Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus generating discussion of the issues and candidates? The recent news of the distribution of 28 million copies of the DVD Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West in over 70 US newspapers has been particularly alarming, since its main thrust is to create a climate of fear. It is said to have been distributed most pointedly in so-called “battleground states.” One of our affiliates, Omid Safi, has done some critical research into who’s behind this DVD and its distribution. We have included his response here, a piece called, “Who Put Hate in My Sunday Paper?” We’ll continue to monitor these issues, as I’m sure you will, too.
Please Join Us at the American Academy of Religion
American Academy of Religion
Chicago Hilton, Continental C
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
You are invited to the Pluralism Project reception and the premiere of Fremont, USA, our new documentary film narrated by Diana Eck. Fremont, California is home to Peace Terrace, where Muslims and Methodists built houses of worship side by side and Gurdwara Road, where a large Sikh community engages in creative forms of outreach. The diversity of the global Buddhist community is also present: Thai, Chinese, and Burmese temples dot the landscape. As initial filming was underway, Alia Ansari, an Afghan-American woman, was murdered while walking along a street with her daughter. Was she killed because of her headscarf? Was it a hate crime? How will the larger community respond? This film will make the challenges of religious diversity vivid, visible, and accessible for discussion.
Thank You to the Ford Foundation
On Common Ground Third Edition Available
“On Faith” Symposium at Harvard
Beyond Our Differences Documentary Film
2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions, Melbourne, Australia
• Healing the Earth with Care and Concern
• Reconciling with Indigenous Peoples
• Overcoming Poverty in a Patriarchal World
• Securing Food and Water for all People
• Building Peace in the Pursuit of Justice
• Sharing Wisdom in the Search for Inner Peace
Religious Diversity News: Top Headlines
Three Faiths, Three Friends: Seattle’s Interfaith Amigos
The work of Rabbi Ted Falcon, Pastor Don Mackenzie and Brother Jamal Rahman, Seattle’s “Interfaith Amigos,” is an example of the grassroots interfaith movements that are beginning to emerge across the United States.
Documentary Film Inspires National Dialogue on Race and Religion During 9/11 Anniversary
Divided We Fall, a film documenting hate violence after 9/11, screened in cities across the country this September, fostering extensive dialogue on issues of race and religion.
Sikh Civil Rights Office Opens in Fremont
The Sikh Coalition recently opened its newest office in Fremont, California, home to the country’s largest Sikh population.
Making Peace, and Prayers: Mosque Opens its Doors as Controversy Fades
After years of controversy, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center opened its doors to worshippers for the holy month of Ramadan.
115 Years Didn’t Dim a Dream of Hindus
The Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Homer Glen, Illinois recently opened a new temple, believed to be the fulfillment of Swami Vivekananda’s dream of a “universal” temple.
International News: Top Headlines
Berlin’s Hindus Are Building Two New Temples
Berlin’s Hindu population plans to build two new temples in the suburb of Neukoelln.
NCC Governing Board Responds to ‘A Common Word,’ and Calls for Immigration Reform and an End to Trafficking
The National Council of Churches Governing Board recently issued a response to the ‘A Common Word’ letter, affirming the need for Muslim-Christian dialogue and highlighting the love of God both religions share.
Women in Christian-Muslim Dialogue Want to Break Down Stereotypes
In an interfaith dialogue titled “Moving towards peace through religion,” Muslim and Christian women met in Sweden to discuss and work to overcome stereotypes about both religions.
Buddhist Centre Opens
The Palpung Kagyu Samten Choeling Tibetan Buddhist Institute opened in New Zealand in mid-September.
Jain Temple in UK Completes 20 Years
The Jain Center of Leicester celebrated the twentieth anniversary of its founding in September.