June 23, 2009
Diana Eck’s Comments
With the transition from spring to summer, much has happened in these past weeks. First, let me recap my April-May trip to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland to deliver The Gifford Lectures. This lectureship is an annual tradition at each of the four ancient universities in Scotland with the purpose of advancing philosophical and theological thought. It was quite an extraordinary scholarly and personal experience for me, something of an intellectual (and social) marathon. I met many scholars and religious leaders who are involved in the religious dimensions of immigration in Scotland and Great Britain more broadly. With the 100th anniversary of the 1910 World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh now on the horizon, there is also increasing discussion of the theological issues of religious pluralism. I was also impressed with the energy and initiatives of the Edinburgh Inter-Faith Association.
State Department Delegation from Sweden
“Educating Christian, Jewish, & Muslim Leaders” Conference
Ning Site for High School Educators
USDOJ Training in Cleveland
The United States Department of Justice Community Relations Service Region V office based in Chicago used Fremont, USA in a training with the City of Cleveland this spring. The intention was to explore how the innovations found in the Fremont story – including its Human Relations Commission and program for the elderly – might be a model for fostering pluralism in other cities and towns. We look forward to expanding the ways in which our work can resource civic leaders.
Fremont, USA will have its European premiere at the 5th Globians World & Culture Documentary Film Fest in Berlin, Germany. The screening will take place on Thursday, August 13 at 2 PM under the theme, “Yes We Can! – Obama’s America.” For a full schedule of events, see: http://kinoberlin.blogspot.com/
La Trappe (The Trap)
On May 15, 2009, the Pluralism Project sponsored the US premiere of the short documentary film, La Trappe. Directed by Harvard Divinity School student Lina Verchery (MDiv ’10), this film explores the surprising connection between the French-speaking Acadian lobster fishermen of Chéticamp and their neighbors: the Buddhist monksA monk is a man who renounces worldly life and is ordinarily a member of a monastic order or community, thereby undertaking a special commitment to study, service, asceticism, prayer, or disciplined spiritual practice. In the Buddhist tradition, fully ord... and nunsA nun is a woman who renounces worldly life and is ordinarily a member of a monastic order or community, thereby undertaking a special commitment to study, service, asceticism, prayer, or disciplined spiritual practice. In the Buddhist tradition, fully or... of Gampo Abbey, Shambhala’s monasticA monk is a man who renounces worldly life and is ordinarily a member of a monastic order or community, thereby undertaking a special commitment to study, service, asceticism, prayer, or disciplined spiritual practice. In the Buddhist tradition, fully ord... headquarters. Although seemingly divided by language, culture and religion, these two communities nevertheless share more than meets the eye. The film was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Diana L. Eck. Panelists included Dr. Christopher Queen, lecturer on the Study of Religion at Harvard University; Frank Reynolds, former resident of Gampo Abbey; and Lina Verchery, director of La Trappe. This event was sponsored by the Pluralism Project in partnership with Alliance Française, Boston ShambhalaFormed in 1973 by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Shambhala Vajradhatu is a worldwide organization with its headquarters in Halifax, Nova Scotia, two other main centers in Boulder, Colorado and Marburg, Germany, and more than 100 meditation centers around the w... Center, Consulate General of Boston, Cooperative MetropolitanA Metropolitan is the title given to a bishop, used especially in the Orthodox family of churches today. Ministries, and the French Consulate of Boston.
Premiering on PBS in June…
The MosqueMasjid (plural masajid) in Arabic means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayer; in English, this word has become “mosque.” A masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrab or prayer niche, and a minbar or pulpit... in Morgantown
On June 13, 2009, the Pluralism Project co-sponsored a screening and discussion of The Mosque in Morgantown at Harvard University. Directed by Boston-based filmmaker Brittany Huckabee, this documentary explores journalist Asra Nomani’s controversial campaign against what she believes are warning signs of Islamic extremism in her local mosque in Morgantown, West Virginia: the exclusion of women, an intolerance towards non-believersMultivalent terms that often are used to describe people (or their worldview) who reject the practices, dogma, and creeds of established religious traditions. Some people, on the other hand, may identify as Humanist and also consider this either a belief ..., and a growing suspicion of the West. After the screening, Dr. Diana L. Eck moderated a discussion on the film with Brittany Huckabee; Dr. Jocelyne Cesari, director of the Islam in the West Program; and Dr. Leila Ahmed, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School. The event was co-sponsored by the Pluralism Project, Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries, and the Islam in the West Program at Harvard University. The Mosque in Morgantown premiered nationwide on PBS on June 15, 2009. A number of scholars, Muslim leaders, and community members are participating in an online forum about the film at: http://www.themosqueinmorgantown.com/forum/
New Muslim Cool
New Muslim Cool, a documentary by Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, will premiere on PBS: POV on June 23. The film tells the life story of Hamza Pérez, a Puerto Rican American hip hop artist who converted to Islam at age 21, pulling himself off the streets to become a community activist and rising star. Forging unlikely friendships with a Jewish poet, a prison chaplainA chaplain is a member of the clergy who serves in a prison, a hospital, a college, or some other institution outside the context of the normal congregational life of a religious community., and many others along his surprising spiritual journey, Hamza faces challenges with a message of hope, finding his balance in a world that never stops changing. The Pluralism Project will be partnering with Harvard University Art Museums and Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries in October for a screening featuring Hamza Pérez. Stay tuned for more information in the fall.
On May 10, the Greater Boston Buddhist Cultural Center celebrated both the birth of BuddhaBuddha means “awakened one” and specifically refers to Shakyamuni Buddha, also known as Siddhartha Gautama (traditional date, sixth c. BCE), the historical founder of the tradition that became known as Buddhism. All Buddhist traditions agree that ther... and Mother’s Day in Central Square.
Obama Approval High Among Muslims, Jews, And Catholics
A Gallup poll tracking public opinion of Obama’s first 100 days in office found broad approval of the President among US Muslims, Jews, and Catholics.
Students Develop Interfaith Group On Campus
Students at Syracuse University recently formed the Interfaith Student Movement, with members who are members of the Christian, SikhSikhs call their tradition the “Sikh Panth,” meaning the “community (panth) of the disciples of the Guru.” The tradition reveres a lineage of ten Gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak in the 16th century and coming to a clos. with the death of Guru Gob..., Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu traditions.
California Passes Bill On Sikh Symbol Kirpan
On June 1, the California Assembly passed Bill AB-504, which requires the state to train law enforcement agencies about the Sikh kirpanThe kirpan is a sword, more commonly a small knife, carried by initiated Sikhs who have become members of the Khalsa, the order of fully committed Sikhs. It is one of five symbols of Sikh identity..
City Mayors to Inaugurate Hindu Festival
City mayors Ralph Becker, Kent Money, and JoAnn Sehgeni inaugurated the “Rathothsava” and Annual Day of Celebrations of Sri GaneshaGanesha is the elephant-headed son of Shiva and Parvati and the keeper of the thresholds of space and time, to be honored at the doorway and at the outset of any venture. He is both the “lord of beginnings” and the “remover of obstacles.” Hindu TempleA temple is a house of worship, a sacred space housing the deity or central symbol of the tradition. The Temple in Jerusalem was the holy place of the Jewish people until its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE; now the term “temple” is used by th. Ref... and India Cultural Center in South Jordan, Utah.
Obama Calls for End to Discord With Muslim World
In a speech from Cairo, Egypt, President Obama called for a new beginning in relations between the United States and the Islamic world.
New Association for Sikh Police
The newly formed British Sikh Police Association will give Sikh officers across the United Kingdom an “officially recognized voice.”
Dutch Officials Visit Dearborn to Learn About Improving Muslim Relations
Dutch Cabinet MinisterMinister is a general term for a member of the clergy in the Christian church. The term has also come to use in other religious traditions to designate a member of the clergy (as in the Jodo Shinshu tradition and the Nation of Islam). Francis Timmermans and other officials met with local religious leaders in Dearborn, Michigan, in an attempt to understand why Muslims are more widely accepted in the United States than in The Netherlands.
Bulgaria to Ban Religious Symbols In Schools
The Bulgarian government has approved a bill banning the hijabHijab means “veil” or “curtain,” referring especially to standards of modest dress for Muslim women. While there are many interpretations of the legal requirement, many Muslims agree that women should wear loose fitting clothing and expose no more... and other religious symbols in schools.
Hindus & Jews Want Australian Parliament to Shift to Multi-Faith Opening Prayers
American Hindu and Jewish leaders have called upon the Australian Parliament to allow a rotation of opening prayersPrayer is the vocal or silent address to the Divine. It may consist of fixed words, spontaneous words, or rest in silence with no words at all. Some forms of prayer are accompanied with specific postures or gestures, while others are not. that represents a variety of major religious traditions and aboriginal spirituality.