News

A quiet revolution: the female imams taking over an LA mosque

November 23, 2021

When Tasneem Noor got on the stage at the Women’s Mosque of America in Los Angeles, she felt butterflies in her stomach. Facing about fifty women on praying rugs, ready to deliver a sermon – khutba in Arabic – she took a deep breath.

During the prayers, the women would follow Noor’s lead, but several would pray four more times after it ended, to make up for any potentially invalid prayers. That is the result of a 14-century-old disputed hadith that leads some to believe women are forbidden to lead prayers and deliver sermons.

“I don’t mind,” Noor told me later. “...

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Arizona Duo Charged With Climbing Sacred Native American Site

November 22, 2021

A pair of Arizona men are facing federal charges for allegedly climbing up and into a set of protected pre-Columbian cliff dwellings considered sacred by many Native American tribes, shooting video of their illegal escapades that they later posted to Facebook. That’s according to a criminal complaint filed in Arizona federal court, accusing Levi Lee Watson and Shayne McKenna Brunt with trespassing, unlawfully entering...

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Swastika 'Hotspot' Found Near New Rochelle HS, District Confirms

November 22, 2021

School officials are condemning the behavior and taking steps to reach out after a hateful personal hotspot name containing the image of a swastika was found to be available near the high school campus.

The school district reaffirmed its no-tolerance policy to racism and promised to open a conversation with students to promote understanding in the wake of the troubling incident, Superintendent Jonathan Raymond wrote in a letter to families dated Nov. 22.

The hateful hotspot name that included a depiction of a swastika showed up on devices as an available WiFi...

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Dual devotion: A Sikh Marine can now wear his turban in uniform. But he wants more

November 18, 2021

In late September, 1st Lt. Sukhbir Toor, an ­officer with 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines, stationed in Twentynine Palms, California, donned a turban in his Marine Corps uniform for the first time.

But the limits placed on him by Manpower and ­Reserve Affairs have caused the Marine to ­appeal to the commandant and consider a lawsuit.

The young artillery officer cannot wear a ­turban while “assigned to lead an...

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This church is paying 'royalties' when it sings spirituals composed by enslaved Africans

November 16, 2021

A hundred or so masked parishioners in the pews of the United Parish in Brookline joined together at a recent service and sang "Lord, I Want To Be A Christian In My Heart.”

This song, like many that churches sing all over the country, comes from a musical tradition of spirituals originally composed by African people enslaved in America. As a national reckoning with racism has grown over the last year or so, members of the United Parish began asking whether it was appropriate for the predominantly white church to...

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Haaland announces effort to protect, improve indigenous access to sacred sites

November 16, 2021

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland has announced a new initiative to protect and improve access to sites across the United States considered sacred by Indigenous peoples.

Haaland’s announcement came Tuesday (Nov. 16), on the second day of the Biden administration’s first Tribal Nations Summit.

“Since time immemorial, the Earth’s lands and waters have been central to the social, cultural, spiritual, mental, and physical wellbeing of Indigenous peoples. It is essential that we do everything we can to honor sites...

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Biden to protect Native American heritage site, boost safety

November 15, 2021

 President Joe Biden on Monday ordered several Cabinet departments to work together to combat human trafficking and crime on Native lands, where violent crime rates are more than double the national average.

Speaking at a White House summit on tribal nations, Biden signed an executive order tasking the Justice, Homeland Security and Interior departments with pursuing strategies to reduce crime. Biden also asked the departments to work to strengthen participation in Amber Alert programs and national training programs for federal agents, and appoint a liaison who can speak...

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Amid Black exodus, young Catholics are pushing the church to address racism

November 15, 2021

 Byron Wratee recalls the silence among white Catholic priests after the killing of Trayvon Martin. Since then, he said, he’s made a conscious decision to attend only Catholic parishes that are majority Black.

He’s remained critical of the church’s response to racism and racial justice in the aftermath of numerous police killings of Black men, but for Wratee, who grew up largely Pentecostal and converted to Catholicism 20 years ago, leaving the church is not an option.

“I have a right to be in this church,” he said.

Source:...

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Cambodian cultural celebration takes place at Cambodian Buddhist temple in Flushing

November 12, 2021

A traditional Cambodian celebration called Bon Khatin, also known as the "The Robe Ceremony for the Monks", took place Sunday in the heart of Brooklyn at a Cambodian Buddhist temple in Flatbush.

Cambodians gathered in their best traditional clothes to chant and bring flowers and offerings to Buddha and those who have passed away.

The women wore Sampots, which are long, rectangular cloths worn around the lower body. The monks wore their traditional robe attire.

Source:...

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Exploring Faith and Black Churches in America

November 11, 2021

Standing in the parking lot of her church on a summer morning, Modestine Davis explained why she was drawn to the predominantly Black congregation in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C.

“First Baptist Church of Highland Park just meets all of our spiritual needs and wraparound service needs in terms [of] family, children’s church, ministries that are strong,” she said. And those ministries include social justice and job-hunting for its African American members.

The holistic approach of the congregation in Prince George’s County includes community distribution...

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