Christmas 1999

December 25, 1999

Source: The Tampa Tribune

On December 25, 1999, The Tampa Tribune reported that the Dover Community Council in Dover, Florida held a Christmas event for the children of migrant workers and others who were in need of assistance. The event, begun in 1997, was held at the Dover Elementary School and included a Spanish-speaking Santa that handed gifts out to the children. School Principal Kathleen Carr stated: "It's wonderful to see the faces of those kids...They were just thrilled to death." Approximately 1000 gifts were purchased with donations from local...

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Creche Controversy

December 24, 1999

Source: The New York Times

On December 24, 1999, The New York Times reported that federal judge Alfred M. Wolin of the United States District Court in Newark denied a motion brought by the ACLU against Wall Township in New Jersey to dismantle a holiday display on public property. In a public courtyard next to the municipal building in Wall Township, there is a Nativity scene and a menorah. The ACLU filed a lawsuit against Wall Township in February 1999 for its holiday display in December of 1998. When the township erected another such display this year on...

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Gratitude Toward the Sikh Community of New Orleans

December 21, 1999

Source: The Times-Picayune

On December 21, 1999, The Times-Picayune published a letter written by Dominique Wheeler of the St. Philip Community Center, an agency of the Social Apostolate of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Her letter thanks the Sikh community of New Orleans for their donation of food baskets which provided Thanksgiving meals to 55 families.

Ramadan 1999

December 11, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On December 11, 1999, the Los Angeles Times published an article on recent efforts to make Ramadan a more visible holiday in America. The Anaheim chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is urging residents to lobby their representatives in order to get a postage stamp that recognizes Ramadan. Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Anaheim chapter of CAIR, stated: "An Islamic stamp would introduce a mainstream Muslim holiday to fellow Americans. We have probably stamps for every kind of flower, kind of tree,...

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Islam in America

December 4, 1999

Source: The Times-Picayune

On December 4, 1999, The Times-Picayune published an article on the public acceptance of Islam in America. Some, like Sulayman Nyang, a professor of African studies at Howard University, are highly optimistic about the place of Islam in America: "Islam in America now is safer than in its lands of origin...In America the cultural and economic systems are not threatened by religious expression the way they are in many Muslim nations where the impulse of the power structure is to control Islam and manipulate it for political use......

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Voter Registration Drive for Muslims and Arabs

October 16, 1999

Source: The Houston Chronicle

On October 16, 1999, The Houston Chronicle reported that eight American Muslim and Arab groups are cooperating on a voter drive for next year's presidential election. The American Muslim Council, which launched the voter drive last month, teamed up with the Arab organizations to try and get all Arabs - Muslim, Christian, or other religious affiliation - registered to vote. The drive has thus far taken place in mosques, schools, and community centers across the nation.

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

October 10, 1999

Source: The Boston Herald

On October 10, 1999, The Boston Herald published an article about the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). The ICCR, established in 1971, is a nationwide coalition of 275 religious groups who invest in companies and then use the shareholder resolution process to effect the investment practices they consider unethical. The organization has been involved with the divesting of holdings in South Africa to protest Apartheid and recently has been targeting the tobacco industry.

Stop the Hate Rally in Arizona

October 8, 1999

Source: The Arizona Republic

On October 8, 1999, The Arizona Republic reported that an interfaith rally, attended by approximately 80 people from various faiths, was held on October 7th in downtown Phoenix, AZ protesting hate violence in their communities and across the nation. Phoenix's Stop the Hate rally, sponsored by the InterFaith Action Coalition of Arizona and No Longer Silent: Clergy for Justice, was one of about 350 events held nationwide as part of a campaign launched by the Fellowship of Reconciliation and The Interfaith Alliance. Priscilla...

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Minnesota's Religious Organizations Are Working to Stop Gun Violence

September 25, 1999

Source: Star Tribune

On September 25, 1999, the Star Tribune published an article on the efforts of Minnesota religious organizations and congregations to stop gun violence. Churches are lobbying the state legislature in Minnesota and Congress in Washington to improve efforts against hate crimes, and are inviting speakers to talk about violence and its prevention. Rev. Rufus Campbell of Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Paul stated: "Our political leaders fail to come to grips with the depth of evil and the power of evil that guns have over...

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Competition for Building Sukkot Provides Avenue for Social Justice

September 25, 1999

Source: Star Tribune

On September 25, 1999, the Star Tribune reported that in honor of the Jewish holiday Sukkot, a competition was held in the Twin Cities of Minnesota to build sukkot, which are temporary structures used during the harvest in ancient Jewish tradition for which the holiday is named. Six designs for full-sized sukkah, which are 9 feet long, 7 feet wide, and 8 feet tall and designed to house a table, bed, and bench, were chosen from the 25 that were submitted. They will be constructed and on display throughout Sukkot at different Jewish...

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Ban on Pentagrams Lifted in New Mexico School District

September 24, 1999

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune

On September 24, 1999, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the public school board in Roswell, New Mexico voted 4-1 to lift a ban on students wearing pentagrams, a Wiccan symbol. The school district had a ban on any "attire associated with gothic, satanic or occult-type activities such as pentagrams, etc.," but the pentagram has been excluded from this group because the district faced legal action from Kathryn King, a local minister of Wicca who says she knows approximately a dozen students in the district who...

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Controversy Over School Closings for Jewish Holy Days in Ohio

September 19, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On September 19, 1999, the Los Angeles Times published an article on the school closings at the Sycamore Community School District in Ohio entitled, "School Breaks for Jewish Holidays Bring Lawsuit."

Jewish Congregation in California Hosts Interfaith Service on Reconciliation and Healing

September 19, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On September 19, 1999, the Los Angeles Times reported that Temple Knesset Israel in Los Angeles, which saw a swastika painted on the entranceway to the temple's preschool with the phrase "Jews die" on August 14th, hosted an interfaith service to speak out against the recent surge of hate crimes and to promote reconciliation and healing. Leaders from Jewish, African American, Central American, Latino, and Asian communities spoke at the service, which was held the day before Yom Kippur.