City Profile: Hartford, CT (2012)

Founded as a Puritan colony in 1636, Hartford, Connecticut is today home to over ten Buddhist temples, nearly fifteen synagogues, five Islamic centers, two Hindu temples, and one of the nation’s premier centers for Christian-Muslim relations: Hartford Seminary. A Christian seminary with Congregationalist roots, Hartford Seminary has made news in recent decades for becoming the first Christian seminary to name a Muslim to its core faculty. Just a few decades after its establishment in the mid-nineteenth century, Hartford Seminary became interested in Islamic culture as it sought...

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City Profile: Fremont, CA (2012)

In 1956, Fremont, California was born when five smaller Bay Area communities—Centerville, Niles, Irvington, Mission San Jose, and Warm Springs—came together to form one city. Today, each of the five communities maintains a distinct identity as a “district,” while also being a vital part of the larger city. In a similar way, Fremont’s diverse ethnic and religious communities contribute to the life of this city of nearly 217,000 residents.

Today, Fremont is one of the nation’s most diverse cities for its size. A rajagopuram rises in a tidy suburban...

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City Profile: Chicago, IL (2012)

Chicago holds a special place in the history of the world’s religions in America. It was here, in 1893, that the World’s Parliament of Religions took place as part of the great Chicago World’s Fair. It was inspired by the energy, growth, and optimism of an America just beginning to lay claim to a place in the world of nations. The Parliament planning committee sent out 10,000 invitations to people around the world, and representatives of many of the world’s great religious traditions converged on Chicago. It was the first time that Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Jews met together on...

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City Profile: Austin, TX (2012)

“Keep Austin Weird” is a current that pulses through the life of this university town in the heart of Texas. The state’s capital comes with a bohemian vibe and a booming technology industry. Its vibrant music, arts, and film scenes bring together an eclectic mix of students, high-tech professionals, artists, and a constant stream of tourists. Between 1990 and 2000, Greater Austin experienced rapid growth: its population leapt 48 percent and the number of immigrants tripled. Thanks to a thriving economy, 1.8 million people call the Austin area home.

Immigrant communities have...

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City Profile: Atlanta, GA (2012)

Atlanta, Georgia, the “birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement,” commemorates the nation’s struggle for racial equality in an international World Peace Rose Garden. Here, bands of red and white roses interweave, symbolizing the bringing together of people across racial and ethnic lines. In a similar way, the roses symbolize the way a philosophy of nonviolence brought together two unlikely and geographically distant compatriots in their struggle for equal rights: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. Today, the world seems much smaller and global friendships much more frequent as diverse communities of immigrants from India, Pakistan, Korea, and Vietnam have come to make their home in “the Buckle of the Bible Belt.”

It takes but a short drive down Buford Avenue to see Atlanta’s new multiethnic and multi-religious reality. Along the highway is Drepung Loseling Monastery, Inc., one of over forty Buddhist communities in the metro area. Drepung Loseling has been a center for Tibetan Buddhist studies, practice, and culture in Atlanta since 1991. Today, its academic programs connect Emory University in Atlanta with Drepung Loseling’s parent monastery in India.

Botanicas and masjids line Buford Avenue, adding to the street’s global microcosm. Nearby, Masjid Abu Bakr serves approximately eight hundred Muslim families, many of whom live within a six-mile radius of the mosque. Another masjid, Al-Farooq Mosque, was established in 1980 by Pakistani and Arab immigrants, and is home to one of the few Islamic cemeteries in the country. Elijah Muhammad, then leader of the Nation of Islam, founded the Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam in 1958, the oldest of the city’s nearly three dozen mosques.

It was also in 1958 that Atlanta’s oldest synagogue, the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation (“The Temple”), was bombed, likely due to the fact that Rabbi Jacob Rothchild made public his ardent support of racial integration. Today, there are over twenty synagogues in metro Atlanta, including Congregation Or VeShalom whose members can trace their roots “from the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, North and South America, and even Atlanta!”

The Hindu community of Greater Atlanta is thriving, adding several new temples in recent decades. The Hindu Temple of Atlanta opened in the southern suburb of Riverdale in 1990 and is now one of over fifteen temples in the metro area. In 2007, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir opened in the northeastern suburb of Lilburn, a 27,000 square foot structure that sits on twenty-nine acres. Temple volunteer Ritesh Desai spoke of the mandir‘s opening to one NPR reporter: “Many of us have assimilated into the mainstream American culture. Yet the mainstream American culture does not know about India per se, or they might not have been to India. We’re bringing a little bit of India to you.”

According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 81 percent of Georgians profess a belief in God and 38 percent identify as Evangelical Christian. Evangelist Billy Graham was no stranger to the city; over the course of several decades Atlanta was the site of at least three of his crusades. While Evangelical Christianity continues to shape Atlanta’s cultural milieu, the city is now home to a number of Atheist groups as well. One such group, Black Nonbelievers, Inc., is notable for its fellowship and service opportunities for African Americans, including at 2011 rally at the state house to honor international “Support an Atheist Day.”

Interfaith efforts in Atlanta are thriving and diverse. Interfaith Airport Chaplaincy, Inc. (IAC, Inc.) is based in Hartsfield-Jackson International, the world’s largest airport and supports travelers of all faiths by providing assistance and a quiet place to pray or meditate in one of the airport’s three chapels. The Interfaith Community Initiatives (ICI) seeks to transform Atlanta into “a model city for interfaith appreciation and cooperation” and does so by hosting weekend “immersion” trips to local religious communities and programming for youth.

The World Peace Rose Garden stands directly in front of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historical Site, a reminder both of the city’s commitment to new growth and to honoring its storied past. As industry and technology continues to attract the world to “the ATL,” the city’s religious diversity expands and makes its mark on Atlanta’s landscape and history.

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Dr. Imad Damaj

President and Founder, Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs

This profile was last updated in 2012.

Dr. Imad Damaj is a visionary leader who understands that an increasing religious diversity...

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Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs
P.O. Box 74623
Richmond , VA 23236
p: (804) 674-4464
2019 May 02

Altruism and our Responsibility for the Other: Interfaith (Jewish, Christian, and Islamic) and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

(All day)


325 Beacon St, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, USA
A colloquium intended to share with the wider campus community the work of an interfaith and interdisciplinary seminar. Brief presentations on the subject of altruism as a practice in the three Abrahamic faiths will be followed by a discussion. This event will take place in McElroy Hall 237 at the Boston College Chestnut Hill Campus.
The event is free and all are welcome. Please email...
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2019 Apr 22

The Sanctuary Movement as an Interfaith Response to a Humanitarian Crisis

(All day)


Florence and Chafetz Hillel House, 213 Bay State Rd, Boston, MA 02215, USA
  • History of the Sanctuary Movement
  • Documenting the Sanctuary Movement
Panel Discussions:
  • With First Sanctuary Movement Activists
  • With New Sanctuary Movement Activists
Keynote Address:
  • "A Refuge for Immigrants: The Promise and Challenge of Sanctuary in the United States" by Grace Yukich
Sponsored by the Jewish Cultural Endowment and the School of Theology
2019 Apr 11

Still Processing: A Harvard College Interfaith Forum Open Mic

(All day)


Barker Ctr, 12 Quincy St, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
In light of the recent tragedy in New Zealand and Pittsburg, come join the Interfaith Forum and the Harvard Chaplains to process with songs, readings, stories, poetry, spoken word, art and everything in between. Sign up here if you would like to share or perform! Free Flour will be provided.
2019 Mar 27

Book Discussion: Educating about Religious Diversity and Interfaith Engagement - A Handbook for Student Affairs

(All day)

If you are a student affairs professional who wants to expand your religious diversity skills, join Kathleen Goodman, Mary Ellen Giess, and Eboo Patel, the editors of the new book, Educating about Religious Diversity and Interfaith Engagement: A Handbook for Student Affairs, as they discuss the skills campus professionals need to engage worldview on campus. This event is hosted by the Interfaith Youth Core.... Read more about Book Discussion: Educating about Religious Diversity and Interfaith Engagement - A Handbook for Student Affairs
2019 Apr 01

Tisch College Distinguished Speaker Series & University Chaplaincy Russell Lecture on Spiritual Life: EBOO PATEL

(All day)


51 Winthrop St, Medford, MA 02155, USA
Join Tisch College and the University Chaplaincy for a conversation with author, educator, and interfaith leader, Eboo Patel. Patel is the Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core, the renowned national nonprofit that brings young people from different faiths together to work on social action projects, fostering cooperation instead of conflict among youth of diverse beliefs. Named by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders, Patel also served on President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council and partnered with the White House to launch the Interfaith and Community... Read more about Tisch College Distinguished Speaker Series & University Chaplaincy Russell Lecture on Spiritual Life: EBOO PATEL

We the (faithful) People: A coalition of religious groups is pushing to redefine faith in Colorado politics 

March 11, 2019
coalition of faith groups is showing up at the state capitol every Tuesday and taking on two big tasks: Pushing legislators for policy that reflects their values and trying to redefine the political voice of the faithful in Colorado. At the launch of Faithful Tuesdays in February, prayers from a Reform rabbi and a Unitarian pastor caused the heads of those gathered to bow, and short sermon-style speeches from a Catholic priest and an African Methodist Episcopal layperson echoed around the grand halls on th

Source: ...

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2019 Mar 08

Jewish-Muslim Solidarity Shabes

(All day)


1762 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02445, USA
The Boston Workmen’s Circle Jewish Muslim Solidarity committee warmly invites you to join us for our annual Jewish-Muslim Shabes. To honor International Women's Day, our plan is to hear stories of strength, hope and solidarity from Jewish and Muslim women. As we share a meal together, we will also have an opportunity to talk in small groups, to socialize and get a glimpse into each other’s lives. The evening will start at 6:15 PM with time to settle in and shmooze. A shabes ceremony will start at 6:45 PM, followed by a potluck dinner at about 7:30 PM. Come for the ceremony or the potluck... Read more about Jewish-Muslim Solidarity Shabes