Religious Diversity News

Berlin Couple Shares Story of Finding Jainism

Source: Jain Spirit

On May 2, 2005 Jain Spirit ran a story by Karuna and Aparigraha Jain, a Berlin couple, on how they discovered Jainism. They write, “Born two years after the end of World War II as Protestant Christians in West-Germany, we were brought up in a time when our parents were just happy having survived the chaos of war…During our adolescence the rebuilding of the material world was phenomenally successful… As an inherent consequence, this world of rationality and logic neither leaves place nor time for the inner values of a human being. Value is given only to what can be measured and counted. All those values finally are named in terms of money. Who am I? What am I doing here? What am I living for? Around us, people were deeply immersed in this ‘modernity’ and self-gratification. They seemed to have no such questions, no such problems… In short, we became strangers in our own homes! Detecting the lack of knowledge of our inner world, our self and soul, we found ourselves really lonely in the midst of millions. From our youth we were looking for an integral way of living without being separated from the values of the inner world.”

Bill Gives Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Buddhist Women Equal Property Rights in India

Source: Sify News

Wire Service: PTI

On August 16, 2005 the Press Trust of India reported, “A landmark legislation aimed at giving Hindu, Buddhist, Jain or Sikh women equal rights in inheritance of property was passed by the Rajya Sabha today.

The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Bill, 2004, moved by Law Minister H R Bhardwaj, proposes to remove the discrimination contained in Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act 1956 by giving equal rights to daughters over property.

The Bill received overwhelming support from the members who felt that women have been discriminated over the years. It was passed by a voice vote.

Replying to the debate, Bhardwaj said he was working ‘day and night’ on the Women’s Reservation Bill on which the government has interacted with leaders of political parties in a bid to create a consensus.

Observing he was ready with a Bill to check domestic violence against women which was a ‘very important piece of legislation with far-reaching consequences,’ the Minister said UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi was keen on reviewing all bills, wherever there was gender bias.

‘Wherever we find there is gender bias, it will be done away with,’ he said.”

Book to Focus on Religious Diversity of Ohio

Source: The Columbus Dispatch

On July 12, 2002 The Columbus Dispatch reported that “the Interfaith
Association of Central Ohio… and the Religious Experience Advisory Council of the Ohio
Bicentennial Commission are planning [a new] book, Religion in Ohio: Over 200 Years
of Experiences… As the state approaches 200, Christian and Jewish bodies remain prominent,
but now they have plenty of company. [The] book for Ohio’s bicentennial in 2003
also will discuss the beliefs of American Indians, Baha’is, Buddhists, Hindus,
Jains, Muslims, Sikhs and Zoroastrians.”

British Indian Communities Celebrate Diwali

Source: BBC News

On October 26, 2003 the BBC News reported on celebrations of Diwali in the UK: “On Friday more than 150 people attended a ceremony at Caerphilly, south Wales, to worship the goddess Kali.

The event marked the first day of the religious festival, one of the most important of the year for Hindus, Jains and Sikhs.

And the festivities will culminate when more than 300 members of the Wales Puja Committee meet at Caerphilly’s Penyrheol Community Centre next Saturday.”

Buddhists, Hindus, and Jains Weigh in on Ten Commandments Controversy

Source: The Times of India,curpg-1.cms

On March 9, 2005 The Times of India reported, “with the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) being part of an amicus curiae (friend of the court), oral arguments have begun in the Supreme Court on whether displays of the Ten Commandments on government property are an unconstitutional endorsement of a particular religion. At heart of the case is a six-foot tall granite monument with the Ten Commandments inscribed on it and which stands between the State Capitol and State Supreme Court in Texas… HAF, which filed the brief Dec 13, 2004 in one of the most widely anticipated cases being heard by the Supreme Court this year, ‘supports the position that the monument violates the separation of church and state guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US constitution.’ There are nine co-signatories to the brief representing Hindus, Buddhists and Jains in the United States. The foundation claims to be the first to provide a non-Judeo-Christian perspective to this issue.”

Buffalo Mayor Proclaims Ahimsa Day

Source: Jain Spirit

In the December 2000-February 2001 edition of Jain Spirit,
the Jain Associations of North America (JAINA) requested the Mayor of
Buffalo, New York, to proclaim the 2nd of October as Ahimsa Day. This
date marks and honoured the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, who followed
Lord Mahavir’s teachings and outlook towards all forms of life. The
Mayor, Anthony Masiello, signed a Proclamation which states the benefits
of Ahimsa and details several points of a non-violent way of life.

Butchers Close Shop Voluntarily for Jain Holy Week

Source: The Indian Express

On August 3, 2005 The Indian Express reported, “They have won the legal battle to keep meat shops open during the eight-day Jain holy period of Paryushan, but for the sake of communal harmony, butchers in the city have decided to down shutters during that period…

The Qureshi Jamaat, an organisation of traditional butchers and slaughterers, has appealed to meat shop owners to respect Jain sentiments and keep their shops closed…
Muslim leaders say the 2002 violence has made them realise that much ill-will and misunderstanding is created when people of one religion do not respect the beliefs of others.

‘The gap is tremendous. We have to bridge it with trust, respect and love,’ says Rizwan Ahmed, who heads an informal committee of meat shop owners.

‘This is why we have asked all meat dealers to stop business for the eight days when Jains fast and meditate for self-purification’… Some 200 meat shops in Ahmedabad will remain closed even if it means losses. Most butchers and meat shop owners are poor or belong to the middle class.”

Canadian Parliament Celebrates Diwali

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Thaindian News

The Canadian parliament celebrated Diwali this week with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other top leaders lighting the traditional lamps.
Immigration minister Jason Kenney, finance minster Jim Flaherty, public safety minister Peter Van Loan, parliamentary secretary Deepak Obhrai, opposition leader Jack Layton and parliamentarians were among the 450 dignitaries to attend the festivities Thursday night.

High commissioner Shashisekar Gavai of India and envoys from Pakistan and Malaysia were also among those who attended the evening gala.

After lighting the traditional lamp, Prime Minister Harper said the “growing Indo-Canadian community is at the forefront of Canada’s quest to build an even better country for generations to come”.

Carleton Shines With Hindu Festival Of Lights

Author: Arika Garg

Source: Carleton News

On Sunday, October 18, Carleton commemorated the Hindu “festival of lights,” Diwali, with a celebratory event held at the Severance Great Hall. The event featured a keynote address by guest speaker Suhag Shukla, co-founder of the Hindu American Foundation, followed by vocal and dance performances by members of DESI (Dedicated to the Exploration of South-Asian Interests) club and other Carleton students.

Shukla’s speech focused on the religious significance of Diwali for Hindus, and specifically, for Hindus in America today. As the Managing Director and Legal Counsel of the Hindu American Foundation, Shukla builds inter and intrafaith relations and provides analyses on key issues such as religious discrimination and immigration reform. The Hindu American Foundation, started in 2004, is an advocacy group providing a progressive voice for the Hindu population in America.

Celebrating the Hindu Festival Of Lights

Author: Neel Madhukar

Source: The Emory Wheel

Lord James W. Dooley made a surprise appearance Friday night in the Cox Hall Ballroom, as he joined in on the traditional high-energy Indian bhangradance during Emory’s celebration of Diwali.

The Hindu Students Association (HSA) held its annual Diwali event to celebrate the traditional Hindu holiday also known as the Festival of Lights.

Friday’s festivities began with a Hindu puja, or prayer ceremony, where participants prayed for prosperity for the coming year. 

The colored candles that lit the path from the beginning of the quad to the entrance of Cannon Chapel created a warm atmosphere and echoes of musical chants filled the air. 

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