Afro-Caribbean

Court Determines Rastafarian cannot be Prosecuted for Possession

May 29, 2002

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle

On May 29, 2002 The San Francisco Chronicle reported that "a conservative three-judge panel said a Rastafarian - whose Jamaica-based religion regards marijuana as a sacrament that brings believers closer to divinity - could not be federally prosecuted for merely possessing marijuana, a decision that upheld a portion of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act."

Washington DC Area Hospital Delivery Rooms Accommodate Increasing Diversity

May 12, 2002

Source: The Washington Post

On May 12, 2002, The Washington Post reported that "faced with an influx of immigrant mothers over the past decade, delivery rooms across the Washington area are increasingly adapting not just to unfamiliar languages, but to a new set of traditions and taboos... Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring has become adept at assembling all-female teams of obstetricians, nurses, anesthesiologists and even neonatologists to attend Middle Eastern women whose Muslim religion forbids examination by male health workers. The maternity...

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Minnesota Faith Communities Attend "Stand With Africa" Seminar

April 12, 2002

Source: Star Tribune

http://www.lcppm.org

On April 12, 2002, the Star Tribune reported that "Twin Cities religious activists are seeking ways to teach residents about how faith organizations can best improve the lives of the area's burgeoning immigrant populations... An all-day seminar, Stand With Africa, will be held... at Central Lutheran Church... What this seminar hopes to do is encourage Minnesotans to work on issues involving Africa, as well as helping local immigrant communities. Experts...

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San Diego Authorities Investigate Shop Storing Animals for Santeria Rituals

March 27, 2002

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune

On March 27, 2002, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that "authorities are investigating whether to charge a City Heights [CA] shop owner with animal cruelty for keeping 48 animals... some meant for religious sacrifice, in cardboard boxes and bags without food or water... Meanwhile, the city's code compliance department decided yesterday not to fine the owner of Botanica Chango, which sells religious paraphernalia, for keeping animals on property not zoned for them... Julian Villota, the owner of the shop......

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Vodou in St. Louis and Beyond

February 7, 2002

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

On February 7, 2002, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch featured an article on "Voodoo -- or Vodou as scholars and practitioners prefer... 'Vodou may be the most misunderstood and maligned religion in the world,' said Terry Rey, an assistant professor of religion studies at Florida International University in Miami. 'Its similarities and ties with Christianity and, especially, Catholicism are abundant'... Rey says is practiced by roughly 250,000 people in the United States and 80 million worldwide... Vodou originated in central...

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Los Angeles Santeria Community Practice in Local State Forest

January 12, 2002

Source: Los Angeles Times

On January 12, 2002, the Los Angeles Times featured an article on Santeria, "which blends Western and Central African deity worship in religious ceremonies... Between 50,000 and 80,000 people regularly practice Santeria in Southern California, according to experts... Santeria followers often carry out their rituals at home, in the back rooms of local botanicas or in gardens and forests... They perform rituals in wooded areas because they are considered sacred places where gods, or orishas, live... Ysamur Flores Pena, a Santeria...

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Fire Breaks Out at New York Cathedral

December 19, 2001

Source: Newsday

On December 19, 2001, Newsday reported that a "fire that swept through the gift shop of the world's largest Gothic cathedral," the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. "From its inception, the cathedral was chartered not just as the mother church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York but as a house of prayer whose bronze doors were open to all people... Indeed, in recent years, sermons have been delivered by rabbis, Zen Buddhists and African animists. The Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, retired U.S. Army Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf...

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San Diego's Many Faiths Share Season of Holidays

November 30, 2001

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune

On November 30, 2001. The San Diego Union-Tribune featured an article on the diverse and numerous religious holidays that take place at this time of year. The article included a description of the following holidays: Ramadan - the Muslim holy month, Bodhi Day - the anniversary of Buddha's enlightenment, Hanukkah - "the eight-day Jewish festival of lights commemorates the victory of the Maccabees, Jewish warriors who overthrew their oppressors in about 165 B.C.", Yule and Winter Solstice - the Wiccan and Pagan holiday...

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Rastafarians Fight for Right to Wear Dreadlocks at Work

September 10, 2001

Source: Newsweek

On September 10, 2001, Newsweek reported that Christopher Polk was fired from his FedEx job for refusing to cut his dreadlocks. There is a "Rastafarian belief in the sanctity of dreadlocks - the cords of permanently interlocked strands first worn by African cheifs perhaps 6,000 years ago." Polk, a practicing Rastafarian, explains that "'your hair is your covenant...once you grow your locks, it puts you on a path'...Six other New York-area FedEx employees have lost their jobs because of dreadlocks. They have sued, alleging religious...

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Court Finds FedEx Guilty of Religious Discrimination

June 30, 2001

Source: Newsday

On June 30, 2001, Newsday reported that "FedEx violated federal anti-discrimination laws when it fired seven employees who wore dreadlocks for religious reasons, state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said...Spitzer said in a lawsuit filed...in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn that there should be exceptions for those whose religions include specific types of hair or beards...Spitzer said Rastafarians believe dreadlocks are 'a symbol of a covenant between the wearer and his Creator.'"

Festival in Atlanta Celebrates Ancient African Religion

June 7, 2001

Source: The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

On June 7, 2001, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution reported on "the Ifa Festival of Ile Ife, a three-day celebration of dance, drumming, spirituality and culture" which will be held at the Ifa Orisha Cultural Center/ African Shrine in Atlanta. Nigerian Bolu Fatunmise, the leader of the center, "is bringing to [participants in the celebration] the religion and teachings of Ifa (EE-fay) -- a religion built around a reverence for ancestors and spiritual beings known as orisha. The religion originated with the...

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Members of Ifism Face Charges After Sacrificing Pig

February 27, 2001

Source: New York Daily News

http://www.nydailynews.com/2001-02-27/News_and_Views/Crime_File/a-101321.asp

On February 27, 2001, the New York Daily News reported that "six members of a religion that routinely practices animal sacrifice face animal cruelty charges for slaughtering a pig late Sunday at the East Islip Marina... Police said the suspects are members of Ifism, which they believe may be an offshoot of Santeria. The Santeria religion,...

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New Jersey Exhibition on West African Deity

February 25, 2001

Source: The New York Times

On February 25, 2001, The New York Times reported that "an exhibition about Shango, 'Faces of Worship: A Yoruba God in Two Worlds' will open at the Newark Museum today." Shango is "a deity of the Yoruba people in West Africa. The religion was brought to the Americas by West Africans sold into slavery," and is now called Santeria.

Health Risks May Be Associated with use of Mercury in Religious Practice

February 18, 2001

Source: The New York Times Magazine

On February 18, 2001, The New York Times Magazine reported that "comparatively minor sources of mercury contamination in New York's harbor may be a result of local spiritual and cultural practices...Thirty-five New York-area botanicas, or stores offering herbal products and religious items used in the Afro-Caribbean and Latin American traditions of Santeria, voodoo and Espiritismo, as well as revised Wiccan practices, reported selling 100 to 300 capsules per day."

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