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    Racial Diversity and Buddhism in the U.S. (2006)

    When we speak of Buddhism in the United States, we are speaking of a cultural movement that has brought to this continent ancient Indian, East and Southeast Asian, and Tibetan spiritual teachings and practices. For the first time in history, these teachings have arrived in a land that is racially heterogeneous. At the same time, they are taking root in a society that was founded, by a white majority, on the unwholesome seeds of colonialism, genocide and slavery. In this meeting, the values of community, interdependence, and collaboration come face-to-face with the values of the pursuit of...

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    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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    Malaysia, Truly Asia? Religious Pluralism in Malaysia (2006)

    The slogan “Malaysia, Truly Asia” is commonly heard around the world as part of a large and expensive advertising campaign sponsored by the Malaysian government. It is an attempt to attract foreign visitors to this country of 22 million people which boasts of a highly diverse ethnic and religious composition (Embong 2000, p.59). 51 percent of the population is Malay, all of whom are Muslim. (1) Chinese make up 26 percent of the population, most of whom are Buddhists combining Taoist and Confucian practices, while a small number identify as Christian. Indians comprise 7 percent of 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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    Air Force Academy Addresses "Challenges to Pluralism" (2005)

    Since July 2004, the United States Air Force Academy has been under various forms of investigation – ranging from internal surveys to the involvement of Pentagon officials – for charges of religious discrimination. From these investigations, it is alleged that a "stridently evangelical" agenda may extend back to 1993 and is best described by one analysis as a "systemic and pervasive religious bias and intolerance at the highest levels of the Academy command structure" which challenge both the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

    The Pluralism...

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    Wiccan Invocation: A Canary in the Mineshaft of the United States’ Non-Establishment of Religion (2004)

    New 2005 developments in this case are written up in a separate research report, Wiccan Invocation: Update 2005.

    In the mining industry, at one time canaries were lowered into mineshafts to test the air quality. If the canary lived, the air was sufficient to support the lives of the workers who then entered the mines. In the United States, cases of Wiccans pursuing religious rights can be seen similarly as canaries, as barometers of the degree of religious freedom available not just to the Wiccans...

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    Sufi Orders in Portland (2006)

    Those who call themselves Sufis in Portland are a kaleidoscopic mix of observing Muslims, Muslims who are not strictly observant, and those who outright reject any connection between Sufism and Islam. This mix reflects Sufism in the United States as a whole, where Sufism as a form of spirituality has become partially, and in some cases totally, disassociated from Islam. (See Professor Alan Godlas's categorization of Sufis in the United States. Interestingly enough, this disassociation can vary even among those who claim to belong to...

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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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    Religious Symbols in the American Public Square (2004)

    Judge Roy Moore and the Ten Commandments

    The role of religion in the public square made national headlines in 2003-2004 as Judge Roy Moore, soon known as the “Ten Commandments Judge,” refused to obey official court orders to remove a 2.6 ton monument of the Ten Commandments from the front of the Alabama courthouse. Moore was sued on October 30, 2001 by the ACLU of Alabama and the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, who argued that the statue amounted to an official state endorsement of religion. Moore countered that the monument honored the Ten...

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    Jewish Interfaith Endeavors: Academic Programs (2004)

    The following report is part of a series of pieces investigating the Jewish community's participation in interfaith dialogue.

    Because they are grounded in theology and philosophy, interfaith studies have become a popular topic of conversation in colleges and universities. Besides articles in various academic journals, some institutions now have centers and programs solely devoted to the topic. In addition, many seminaries foster interfaith dialogue in hopes of engendering compassion, tolerance, and understanding among those who will later enter education and the clergy....

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    Jewish Interfaith Endeavors: Orthodox Judaism (2005)

    The following report is part of a series of pieces investigating the Jewish community's participation in interfaith dialogue.

    Orthodox Judaism in general, and Modern Orthodoxy in particular, is in a state of transformation. On one side are the modernizers. Egalitarian minyanim (prayer groups) with no supervising rabbi, are cropping up in the US and Israel. Jews who for decades insisted that the entire land of Israel was a God-given right are now supporting unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. Haviva Ner-David will soon be ordained as the first Orthodox...

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    Jewish Interfaith Endeavors: Dabru Emet (2004)

    The following report is part of a series of pieces written in 2004 investigating the Jewish community's participation in interfaith dialogue.

    "Dabru Emet," literally "speak the truth," is a quote from Zechariah 8:16, in which the prophet informs Israel how to interact with other nations. Subtitled "A Jewish Statement on Christians and Christianity," Dabru Emet (available online here) is a document created by the National Jewish Scholars Project that first appeared in the New York Times in 2000. In the...

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

    Abstract

    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 abbas.barzegar@colorado.edu.

    Introduction

    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)

    Twin Cities' Responses to September 11 Attacks (2002)

    On September 11, 2001, a terrorist attack in New York resulted in the deaths of thousands. The innocent Americans killed in this attack were of various faiths, and the broader victims include everyone who considers America home, regardless of ethnicity or religious tradition. That awful day propelled the discussion of religion into the American public square. From new heights of fear of unfamiliar practices to a new awareness of the variety of religious communities in the United States, people all over the country who had no previous knowledge of the religious diversity in the...

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    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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    Interreligious Activity in San Diego Since September 11 (2002)

    Following the events of September 11, the atmosphere in San Diego was particularly tense. Three of the hijackers involved in the attacks were from the San Diego area, and San Diego has a strong military presence that includes the North Island Naval Air Station, Fort Rosencranz Military Reservation, Imperial Beach Naval Air Station, U.S. Naval Communication Center, and US Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Immediately following the events, Rev. Freeman, a minister in Chula Vista, organized an interfaith prayer service for that weekend. The next week during a regularly scheduled...

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