South Carolina Forum Highlights Increasing Local Diversity

December 10, 2003

Source: The State

On December 10, 2003 The State reported that "words of Christian and Baha’i scripture, Hindu chants, and prayers offered in the Lakota Sioux language welcomed a crowd of about 60 to USC’s Gambrell Hall Tuesday night. The diversity of the offered prayers reflected the reason they had gathered — a forum on the increasing diversity of South Carolina’s religious community, sponsored by the USC-based Partners in Dialogue, an interfaith discussion group. Carl Evans, head of the department of religious studies at USC, offered a presentation on some of the diverse religious communities he visited on a trip to Charleston and the Upstate in the fall. He described a small community of nine Kurdish Muslim families who are refugees from Iraq and now live on a street called Kurdistan Way in lower Greenville County. He also showed pictures of a Khmer Buddhist temple that serves a community of about 300 Cambodians in the Upstate and described the diversity of the Muslim community in Charleston." Other presentations illuminated Columbia's four different Buddhist groups, two Jewish congregations, Baha’is, Muslims, Christian Scientists and Mormons. Evans commented that the event exposed the fact that the state has a "checkered history of religious tolerance."