Religious Pluralism in Indonesia (2006)

    Indonesia is well-known as a country with diverse ethnicities, religions, and races. Although 80 percent of the population is Muslim, Indonesia is not an Islamic state. Indonesia recognizes five religions, which are Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Indonesia's constitution assures the right for all persons to worship according to his or her own religion. Indonesia has a strong history of coping with its diverse religions. However, incidents that involved religion have nevertheless occurred. The closure by force of more than two dozen churches in West Java by the...

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    Baccalaureate Services and Pluralism (2005)

    The renewal of baccalaureate services in colleges and universities across the country has been met with increasingly diverse student populations. The manners in which schools approach this growing plurality of religious faiths are as diverse as the institutions themselves. Some schools no longer include a baccalaureate service as part of their commencement activities, some maintain a traditional Christian form, and some provide an interfaith service of one type or another.

    Public and private institutions alike host interfaith baccalaureate ceremonies, as do religiously affiliated...

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    Chicago Police Department Diversity Videos Educate Officers on Non-Christian Faiths (2005)

    After the terror attacks of 9/11 there was an alarming number of incidents of violence across the United States against people who were perceived to be Muslim. In Chicago, Police Chief Terry Hillard held a multi-cultural forum to hear feedback from people of all religions on post-9/11 backlash. At these forums he learned that his officers were often ignorant about non-Christian faiths and were sometimes rude to people from these communities. Using a grant from the Justice Department and guidance from lay leaders and clergy in each religious community, the police department created a series...

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    The Debate Over Evolution in Kansas Public Schools (2005)

    In recent years, the debate over the role of religion in United States public schools has become especially prominent. Issues such as holding baccalaureate services in public high schools, including the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, and student prayer have been the source of much disagreement in the public arena as of late. Debates over the teaching of evolution are no exception. Currently, a controversy over evolution exists in Kansas, the focus of which has been the Kansas State Board of Education. In May 2005 the Board of Education held hearings to discuss a "Minority...

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    Mel Gibson’s “The Passion” (2004)

    Though Mel Gibson’s controversial film “The Passion of Christ” was not released in theaters until Ash Wednesday of 2003 (Feb 23), a national outcry over the film’s content began six months earlier, when leaders of Jewish congregations who had seen excerpts of the film in advance argued that it explicitly blamed Jews for the death of Jesus. Rabbis expressed particular concern over a scene (later removed by Gibson) in which the Jewish high priest Caiphas cursed the Jews, saying of the crucifixion: “His blood be on you and on all of your children.” Abraham Foxman, the director of the Anti-...

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    Indian Religious Diversity Within a U.S. Context: How Are New Immigrant Evangelical Christian Indian Communities Responding?


    My project analyzes how recent immigrant Christian groups within the Chicago Indian community are integrated into the larger Christian community. Using cases studies in Schaumburg, a west suburb just outside of Chicago, and two in Rogers Park, northeast Chicago, I show that most of the interviewees are Christian Indians with plans to bring other immigrants into their respective Christian community. I argue that the relationship between religion and bi-national influences create a new and distinct Christian community. This argument addresses two research...

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    Building Bridges of Understanding: An Interfaith Curriculum of the California Council of Churches (2003)

    In 2002 the California Council of Churches made a decision to respond to the episodes of violence and mistaken identity that followed 9/11. Their chosen response was a curriculum study guide on six of the world’s religions, which was funded by The California Endowment, Presbyterian Church (USA) Peacemaking Program, United Methodist Church Peace and Justice Program, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Reconciliation Fund and Southern California Ecumenical Council.

    Building Bridges of Understanding focuses on six major faith traditions found in California, and was designed...

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    The Emerging Latino Muslim Community in America (2003)

    This article has previously appeared in the High Plains Society for Applied Anthropologists Fall 2003 Journal. With the consent of the publishers, it is reprinted here. Please forward any comments, questions or feedback to the author, Abbas Barzegar, at


    In recent years, discussion on the role of Islam in American society as portrayed in mainstream discourse, has been mostly associated with the ‘war on terrorism’, and, as such has been concerned with political conflicts abroad and the threat of... Read more about The Emerging Latino Muslim Community in America (2003)

    Mapping Muslim Communities in Mississippi (2006)

    The history of Islam in Mississippi began, as it did throughout the Southern United States, during the slave trade. Despite the paucity of evidence concerning the belief and practice of slaves brought from West Africa, we have detailed knowledge of certain individual Muslim slaves. One prominent example is the fascinating life of Abd Rahman Ibrahima, a Muslim prince from 18th century Mali who was captured into the slave trade, settled in Natchez, Mississippi and eventually won his freedom through the intercession of Henry Clay. As cases like his are few and far...

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    Soka Gakkai in America (2001)

    Soka Gakkai is the largest "new religion" in Japan with eight million official members in 1992. It has branches throughout the world, and it is the clearly the biggest Buddhist organization in the United States.

    Currently, estimates very widely as to the American membership, but the truth is probably somewhere between the 300,000 of Soka Gakkai's official 1997 census and Philip Hammond's conservative estimate of approximately 36,000. Soka Gakkai represents the largest and most ethnically diverse group of Buddhists in...

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    Apna Ghar: Domestic Violence and Reaching Out to Chicago's Faith Communities (2001)

    Apna Ghar is a Hindi term that means "Our Home," and is the name of a non-profit organization and shelter located in Chicago for victims of domestic violence that are specifically of South Asian descent. Like many organizations, Apna Ghar began as an idea in the minds of a small group of people. In this case, that group was composed of five women—three from Chicago's Asian Human Services Organization—Prem Sharma, Kanta Khipple, and Lee Maglaya - along with friends Ranjana Bhargava and Mohini Pai. All were activists, professionals, and leaders in their communities, who throughout the mid-...

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    Interfaith Worker Justice National Conference (2014)

    The Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) National Conference, this year themed “Coming Together: Building a Just Economy,” took place from June 22- June 24, 2014 in Chicago Illinois. The conference was held at DePaul University’s Student Center. Over 500 people attended the conference, including members of interfaith groups and worker centers, students, pastors, congregation leaders, and worker justice activists. Multiple faith traditions were represented, including Christians from a variety of denominations, Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists. Resources and translators were available in both...

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    NAINConnect (2012)

    The 2012 NAINConnect was held from July 15-18, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia and hosted by Interfaith Community Initiatives and Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta, two local Atlanta organizations that aim to promote understanding and interaction among the diverse faiths in the greater Atlanta region. Over one hundred registered guests attended conference events throughout the weekend.


    Founded in 1988, the North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) is “a non-profit association of interfaith organizations and agencies in Canada, Mexico and...

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    Religion Communicators Council Convention: Faith-based Communications: Bridges, Avenues, and Intersections (2016)

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    On Thursday, March 31 through Saturday, April 2, 2016 over 100 Religion Communicators Council (RCC) members met throughout New York City for a three-day conversation about the challenges, innovations, shortcomings and successes of faith-based communication. The shifting location of the annual RCC convention each day brought attendees to the Interfaith Center, the Church of Latter-Day Saints Center, the Church Center for the United Nations and finally the St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral. Further, over a third of convention attendees were...

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    Parliament of the World’s Religions (2009)

    The world is shrinking. International videoconferences, YouTube, email, Facebook, nonstop international flights, Skype and so forth are indicators of modern globalization. People from all parts of the world are interacting with unprecedented speed, frequency, and ease, yet all of these modern amenities come at a great cost to our planet. As a result, religious people and faith communities are attempting to grapple with the many challenges and opportunities that arise out of this new interconnected global reality.

    The Parliament of the World’s Religions is the largest...

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    Samhain (Halloween) in Boston (2005)

    While the cultural celebration of Halloween involves children, costumes, treats and perhaps tricks, the religious celebration of the same day, called Samhain, is celebrated by Pagans in both public and private rituals. In Boston in 2005, there were at least four public ceremonies available over the weekend and on Samhain, October 31, itself.

    Women's Lodge

    On Saturday night, Women's Lodge held their annual circle in a rented church space in Newton. Over 50 women were in attendance. The ritual included circle dancing, singing, and...

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