Research Report

Contextualization and Periodization of Muslim Civic and Political Activities in Portland, Oregon (2004)

Introduction

Muslims in the United States were for many decades all but ignored socially, and totally ignored politically. But events of the past forty years have been witness to a increased interest in the religion of Islam and its adherents. Large numbers of immigrants from Muslim countries increased the size of the American Muslim community. The Persian Gulf War brought Muslims into the media spotlight. Finally, the events of September 11th, 2001 and the destruction of the World Trade Center made popular sentiment turn against Muslims, and paved the way toward...

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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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Religious Diversity and the Workplace (2014)

This paper was prepared as the basis for a presentation by Pluralism Project senior staff at the professional development workshop entitled " Managing Religious Diversity in the Workplace: An Exploration of Theory and Practice," held in conjunction with the American Academy of Management's annual conference New Orleans, Louisiana, August 7, 2004. It was updated in May 2014.

The Pluralism Project at Harvard University documents the religious diversity of the United States, with particular attention to the Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and other minority...

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Religious Discrimination in the Military (2004)

If President George Bush’s comment in Sept. 2001 that the War on Terror was an American “crusade” led to an international controversy on the possible anti-Islamic undertones of American foreign policy, then in 2003-2004 these concerns have only increased. This year three high profile scandals brought international attention to possible tensions between the U.S. military and Islam: the General Boykin controversy, the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, and the arrest of prominent Muslim militairy chaplain Capt. James Yee.

The General Boykin Controversy...

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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...

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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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Controversy over the Headscarf (2004)

The French Ban

In December 2003, French President Jacques Chirac announced that Muslim headscarves, Jewish skullcaps, and large crosses were to be banned in French public schools, arguing that he intended to uphold the principle of secularism, which is the “pillar of the French Constitution.” Though the decree was directed towards Muslim, Jewish, and Christian religious articles, critics argued that it specifically targeted France’s growing Muslim immigrant community. Chirac’s announcement set off an international controversy...

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Jewish Interfaith Endeavors: Abrahamic Dialogue (2004)

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

Since September 11, 2001, there has been an increased interest in Muslim religious dialogue among Jews and Christians, leading to what many identify as Abrahamic dialogue. This project employs Abraham as a figure that unites all three faiths. Whether the groups address him in conversation or invoke him only in name, Abraham becomes the symbolic father, the common denominator of monotheism. Below is a summary of the various...

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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...

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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 is a document created by the National Jewish Scholars Project that first appeared in the New York Times in 2000. In the introduction, the authors explain that because of the ways in which...

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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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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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Native American Religious and Cultural Freedom: an Introductory Essay (2005)

I. No Word for Religion: The Distinctive Contours of Native American Religions

A. Fundamental Diversity We often refer to Native American religion or spirituality in the singular, but there is a fundamental diversity concerning Native American religious traditions. In the United States, there are more than five hundred recognized different tribes,...

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Mapping Religious Diversity in Montana (2003)

In a state with a total population of less than one million people, and not exactly known for its diversity, I set out in June 2003 to document the presence of various religious communities and to see how they are interacting with each other. Surprisingly to some, what I found was a considerable amount of established and growing religious diversity. What follows is a brief overview of some of the typical communities in Montana.

Historical Diversity: Anabaptists, Chinese Immigrants, Native Americans

First off, Montana has had a long... Read more about Mapping Religious Diversity in Montana (2003)

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