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RELIGIOUS CHANGE, CONFLICT AND/OR INTOLERANCE

During 2006-May

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Sponsored link:

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We also have a list of religious tolerance & information news for this month. 
Sad to say, these are usually much shorter lists.

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bullet2006-MAY-03: World: Report on use of torture by the U.S.: "Amnesty International...made public a report detailing its concerns about torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners and detainees both in the US and in US detention sites around the world." 1
bullet2006-MAY-05: Iraq: 14 year old boy executed for being gay: "Human rights groups have condemned the "barbaric" murder of a 14-year-old boy, who, according to witnesses, was shot on his doorstep by Iraqi police for the apparent crime of being gay."

"Ahmed Khalil was shot at point-blank range after being accosted by men in police uniforms, according to his neighbours in the al-Dura area of Baghdad." 2
bullet2006-MAY-10: India: Threat against author of The Da Vinci code movie: According to the Hindustan Times, the Catholic Social Forum in India has called on people of all faiths to:

"fast onto death from MAY-12 if the government fails to ban the 'anti-Christian' film. If that were not enough, a former corporator Nicholas Almeida, has done a Jahji Qureishi, announcing a reward of Rs 11 lakh for anyone who 'brings the author dead or alive before him'....'We asked people to be careful while reading the book. The impact of a movie is much greater than that of a book. If this movie is allowed to run, there will be mass brainwashing,' general secretary Joseph Dias said." 3

11 lakh rupees = 1.1 million rupees = US $24,500.

bullet2006-MAY-19: AL: Candidate for Attorney General allegedly holocaust denier: Information has surfaced that Larry Darby, a candidate for attorney general of Alabama is a holocaust denier. He is reported as believing that there were no more than 140,000 Jews deaths during World War II, mostly caused by typhus, and that the generally accepted figure of six million killed is a lie promoted by the "Holocaust industry." He also wants to impose martial law in order to stop illegal immigration from Mexico. He allegedly told the Decatur Daily News: "Someone needs to speak up for the white man. It's been a long time since someone took up that bat and took a swing for the white man." He also wants the state to recall its National Guard troops from Iraq because "they are fighting for Israeli interests and not for Alabama or United States interests."

The primary is scheduled for JUN-06. Fellow Democrats are attempting to terminate his candidacy. 4

bullet2006-MAY-18: KY: Muslim student harassed over school prayer: Arshiya Sayied was planning her Shelby County high school's graduation ceremony with the senior committee when the topic of a prayer came up. She said: "Terms like Jesus Christ, heavenly father, I talked about the fact I was Muslim and the prayers in the past were offensive to me." The belief that God had a son is deeply distressing to Muslims. Almost immediately, she began to be harassed by various students. One said that he wanted her out of the country. She has proposed a moment of silence instead of the prayer.
bullet2006-MAY-19: KY: Graduation ceremony prayer blocked: Judge Joseph H. McKinley of the U.S. District Court in Bowling Green issued a temporary restraining order that blocked the inclusion of a Christian prayer as part of the graduation ceremonies at Russell County High School later that day. The American Civil Liberties Union had filed the suit on behalf of an unidentified student. ACLU lawyer Lili Lutgens said of the student: "He did not feel that he should have to sit through government-sponsored prayer just to receive his diploma." Graduation ceremonies in previous years involved "sectarian Christian invocations and benedictions given by students," that referred to "God" and "Jesus." The student had previously asked the principal and other school district officials to cancel the prayer, but his request was reportedly denied. 6 Senior students elected Megan Chapman to give a "message" at the graduation. She was involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In her talk, she mentioned that God had guided her since childhood. She urged her classmates to trust in God in their future lives. She was repeatedly interrupted by applause. Since this was a message of her own creation, it would presumably be protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The complaining student has been identified only as John Doe because he fears retaliation, presumably from Christian students, if his identity becomes known. At the evening graduation ceremony, about 200 seniors stood during the principal's opening remarks and recited the Lord's Prayer. This triggered a standing ovation from the standing-room only crowd in the school gymnasium. Megan Chapman plans to appeal the injunction with the help of the Fundamentalist Christian legal group, Liberty Counsel so that future graduation ceremonies can include Christian prayers.
Lili Lutgens said: "This case is not about whether people can pray. It's about families and individuals deciding for themselves whether, when and how to pray. Our founders intended that these sorts of religious decisions be made by individuals and families, not government." 7
bullet2006-MAY-27: Canada: Muslims fear film could stir violence:  The American Imax film "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West" is scheduled to be shown on MAY-29 & 30 in Winnipeg. Shahina Siddiqui, president of the Islamic Social Services Association Inc. of Canada suggested that when the film has been widely screened, Muslims in Winnipeg may become a target. She has filed a formal complaint with Winnipeg police alleging the movie promotes hatred.

On MAY-26, the movie was shown to an inter-faith group of about 60 Christians, Muslims, Jews and others. Wayne Helgason, executive director of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, an attendee, said:

"I would worry about its effect on people. It certainly doesn't promote tolerance....I'd give it one star with poisonous points. I'd describe it as a disjointed chronology of hate statements and conclusions that come at you like a fire hose and for too long."

According to the Winnipeg Free Press:

"The film includes interviews with policy analysts, terrorists and journalists and is peppered with images of bloody carnage from terror attacks and snippets of translated speeches from religious leaders and young children.

The screening is being sponsored by three Jewish groups.

Professor Howard Davidson of the University of Manitoba, who is a secular Jew, said he wonders why some Jewish groups want to show the film here. He said he's concerned it's anti-Muslim propaganda intended to stir up support for a war with Iran. He said: "Why are they showing the film? Are they trying to promote understanding?" 8

bullet2006-MAY-31: AZ: Muslim woman wins lawsuit over hijab: Bilan Nur, a Muslim woman, was not allowed to wear a scarf during the holy lunar month of Ramadan. Alamo Rent-A-Car said that it would not exempt her from the corporate dress code. She offered to wear an Alamo scarf but was refused. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a suit on Nur's behalf and won in federal court. U.S. District Judge Roslyn Silver said that the company had not made any efforts to reasonably accommodate their employee's beliefs and failed to show that any such accommodations would have caused the company undue hardships. Nur issued a statement saying that she was pleased by the decision. She wrote: "No person should ever have to be forced to choose between her religion and her job." 9

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Links to religious news sources:

bulletLinks to general religious, conservative Christian, other Christian, and non-Christian news sources is available elsewhere on this web site.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "US: Government creating 'climate of torture'," Amnesty International, 2006-MAY-03, at:

  2. Jerome Taylor, "Iraqi police 'killed 14-year-old boy for being homosexual'," The Independent, 2006-MAY-05, at: http://web.amnesty.org/

  3. "Da Vinci film stokes passions," Hindustan Times, India, 2006-MAY-10, at: http://epaper.hindustantimes.com/
  4. Jennifer Siegel, "Ala. Democrats Scramble To Bounce Shoah Denier From Primary Ballot," Forward weekly, 2006-MAY-19, at: http://www.forward.com
  5. Sean Bartel, "Student questions constitutionality of prayer," WHAS11.com, 2006-MAY-18, at: http://www.whas11.com/
  6. "Judge blocks prayer at graduation ceremony," Associated Press, 2006-MAY-19, at: http://www.whas11.com/
  7. Peter Smith, "Graduates stage protest prayer. Judge had ruled against Russell plan," Courier-Journal, 2006-MAY-20. Louisville, KY, at: http://www.courier-journal.com/
  8. Carol Sanders, "Muslims fear film could stir violence," Winnipeg Free Press, 2006-MAY-27, at: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/
  9. Howard Fischer, "Judge sides with Muslim in Ramadan scarf lawsuit," Capitol Media Services, 2006-MAY-31, at: http://www.azstarnet.com/

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Copyright © 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2006-MAY-08
Latest update: 2006-JUN-02
Author: B.A. Robinson

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