Religion News Blog, April 4, 2003
[Zoroastrianism] Religion in the News: Zoroastrians
One of the world's oldest religions is establishing a new, American
temple for the faith outside the nation's capital, the Zoroastrian
Center and Darb-e-Mehr.
Once the state religion of an empire that stretched throughout much of
the ancient world, Zoroastrianism now has only about 200,000 adherents
worldwide (some estimates say the number is fewer). Up to 15,000
believers are in the United States.
[Hate Groups] Two suspects supremacists, watchdogs say
Two of three men arrested in Scranton last month on ethnic
intimidation charges are members of a statewide white supremacist
group that has recently established a local chapter, according to
extremist group watchdogs.
A hate group expert at the Anti-Defamation League, an organization
that focuses on domestic extremist groups and advises law enforcement
agencies, said Keith Carney, 21, Feasterville, and Steve Smith, 31,
West Chester, are members of the Keystone State Skinheads.
[Hate Groups] White supremacist group puts up billboard in north
A white supremacist organization has put up a billboard message in
north Florida that urges the United States to cut ties with Israel and
to stop immigration.
The National Alliance's message and its Internet address went up last
month on a highway four miles northwest of Old Town, about 100 miles
southeast of Tallahassee. A few days after the message was posted, an
e-mail from group listed the sign as an accomplishment.
[Jehovah's Witnesses] East Providence man pleads guilty to sexual
A former Jehovah's Witnesses official pleaded guilty Tuesday to
sexually assaulting his young stepdaughter and her male cousin in the
1970s and was sentenced to one year in prison.
[Jehovah's Witnesses] Woman bled to death after refusing transfusion
A young woman died after refusing a vital blood transfusion through
religious beliefs days after giving birth at Whipps Cross Hospital.
Patience Edema, a Jehovah's Witness, 24, died three days after giving
birth to her second daughter, on Tuesday, October 24 last year, from
complications after an emergency hysterectomy an operation to remove
[Christianity] American bishop says Jesus was a sinner
A new row over whether Jesus sinned broke out this week around the
controversial Bishop of Pennsylvania, Charles Bennison.
Last year the radical bishop drew the fire of both the former and
current Archbishops of Canterbury after his decision to sack a
traditionalist priest. Both Dr Carey and Dr Williams told the priest,
Fr David Moyer, that they would have no problem licensing him for
ministry in their dioceses, despite the fact that he was deposed by
the diocese of Pennsylvania.
But, according to critics in his diocese, his latest statement
suggesting that Jesus sinned dwarfs any other incidents in his
[Hate Groups] North Utah Faces Influx of Racists
Law enforcement officials here and in other towns in northern Utah say
they are grappling with a marked increase in crimes committed by men
who joined white supremacist gangs while in prison and who, once
released and bound by ideology and kinship, have settled in the area
to pursue lives of crime.
[Polygamy] Mormon 'prophet' charged with rape, molestation
A self-proclaimed Mormon prophet from Folsom has been charged with
molesting and raping three of his daughters and a stepdaughter for
nearly a quarter-century, couching the abuse in religious doctrine
that he wrote for his followers.
Allen Rex Harrod, 55, faces 97 counts of child molestation stemming
from abuse he wove into rituals for his polygamous sect, authorities
[Cloning] Human beings cant be cloned, bioethicist says
Human cloning despite the Raelian cults claim last December of
cloning a baby girl named Eve just doesnt work, Caplan said.
The reason is that youre using old or damaged DNA (from an adult) to
try and make something new, he said.
[FLDS] Bishop loses Bountiful school case
The Canadian bishop of a polygamist religious group lost control
yesterday of the community's school in British Columbia and over
$1-million in assets to rivals aligned with the U.S.-based sect.
The shift in power was the most recent incident in a bitter fight that
has split families and neighbours in Canada and the United States over
who speaks for God and who should be acknowledged as the Prophet in
the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
[Islam] Russian May Prosecute Islamic Leader
Russian officials warned a top Islamic leader Friday that his call for
a holy war against the United States was illegal and he will be
prosecuted if he repeats it.
Supreme Mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin said Thursday that his organization
had declared jihad, or holy war, against the United States and would
raise money to "buy weapons for fighting America and food for the
people of Iraq."
[Islam] Aborigines turn to Islam
A rising number of young Aborigines in Australia are converting to
Many have embraced the religion for spiritual reasons, while others
insist it gives them a way to escape the oppression suffered by the
country's indigenous population.
[Islam] Listening for a voice of Muslim youth
Somewhere in the US's Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, there are a number
of young British men.
The men, including a trio dubbed the 'Tipton Taleban' remain
incarcerated after being seized by US forces in Afghanistan.
Why would men such as Asif Iqbal, Shafiq Rasul and Rahul Ahmed leave
their West Midlands homes to allegedly fight abroad?
Paradise, a new play in Birmingham, home to the second largest Muslim
community in Britain, explores these ideas.
The play, by British-born Kashmiri Amber Lone, charts how a frustrated
young man with limited prospects, Umar, falls in with an old
Umar soon finds himself in a Muslim country, fighting for an Islamic
cause that ultimately leads to his own death, shattering his family
[Alternative Healing] Homeopathy Same as Placebo for Kids with Asthma
Homeopathy is a type of alternative medicine that involves diluting
drugs in a solution to the point where only a few or no molecules of
the original drug remains. Homeopaths believe the small amount of drug
will stimulate or provoke the body's immune system to defend itself.
But Dr. Adrian White at the Peninsula Medical School at the University
of Exeter and colleagues in the UK found that homeopathy seemed to be
no better than a placebo at improving quality of life for children
with mild to moderate asthma.
[Harry Potter] Harry Potter triumphs over Russian rival
Harry Potter author JK Rowling has succeeded in blocking publication
of a Russian children's book about a magical girl named Tanja Grotter.
A Dutch judge said the Tanja Grotter story has too many similarities
to the boy wizard of Hogwarts.
Sitting in Amsterdam, he ordered Dutch publisher Byblos to withhold
7,000 translated copies of the first book by Russian Dmitry Yemets. He
rejected an argument that it was a parody of Harry Potter, not
April 3, 2003
[Unification Church] Bush Nominates Ex-Journalist to Senior Trade Post
President Bush has nominated a former managing editor of The
Washington Times to the post of deputy U.S. trade representative, the
administration said on Wednesday.
Josette Shiner, who currently holds the job of associate U.S. trade
representative for policy and communications, will replace Deputy U.S.
Trade Representative Jon Huntsman, who has overseen USTR activities in
Africa and Asia since August 2001.
Note: While they claim to be Christians, both Bush Sr. and Bush Jr.
have a cozy relationship with the Unification Church.
[Bioterrorism] FBI: Terrorists may try to improvise chemical,
The FBI says terrorists could use common household items to improvise
chemical or biological weapons and then hide them in food.
Using materials available at stores, on the Internet or through
mail-order firms, terrorists could make cyanide compounds, grow
salmonella bacteria and botulinum toxin, or distill the poison ricin
from castor beans, the FBI said Wednesday in its weekly bulletin.
The memo, sent to 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies,
said there is no specific threat or indication that an attack is
imminent. But it detailed several past attacks using such weapons,
including an Oregon cult's contamination of local restaurant salad
bars with salmonella bacteria that sickened 751 people in 1984.
[Catholic Church] Boston Archdiocese Is Sued by San Bernardino Diocese
Underscoring the financial toll of the sexual abuse scandal on the
Roman Catholic Church, a California diocese has sued the Archdiocese
of Boston for damages resulting from its failure to disclose a
priest's history of sexual molestation.
In a lawsuit filed on Monday, the Diocese of San Bernardino, Calif., a
populous jurisdiction just east of Los Angeles, said Boston church
officials gave assurances that the priest, the Rev. Paul R. Shanley,
was in good standing, despite a record of sexual abuse when he
transferred from Boston in 1990.
[Islam] West Europe's Muslims and the Iraq war
Most Muslims in west European countries are fiercely critical of the
war. But not so fiercely, their leaders hope and urge, as to be out of
step with other critics
THANK you, Germany, said one banner as Berlin Muslims last weekend
protested against the Iraq war. Like most Muslims in western Europe,
they are appalled by it. But there is a hint of a silver lining: so
are most Germans, not least Gerhard Schröder, and most west Europeans
are against it; and that shared feeling may be bringing together the
natives and the Muslim minority.
Not only in Germany, and not before time: the two groups have been
drifting apart, especially since September 11th. Germany's 3.2m
Muslims are mostly Turks. But they have felt, and resented, the
suspicion as police raid mosques and other Muslim centres to catch
Arab terrorists. In the Netherlands too its 850,000-plus Muslims have
felt increasingly suspect; especially the many Moroccans, says Mohamed
Sini, one of their leaders. But now, he says, relations are improving
again, as the native Dutchmostly against the war, though the prime
minister backs itsee Muslims reacting much as they do.
[International Law] What Would Grotius Do? The Founder of
International Law Speaks Out on Iraq
Fortunately, with the legality and legitimacy of the present conflict
in Iraq very much in doubt, there is still one untarnished authority
to whom we can turn. He has remained largely quiet during the crisis,
offending none of the principal antagonists.
To the war's critics, especially in Europe, he is a symbol of balance
and humanism, of respect for the rule of law over the law of the
jungle. And to the Bush Administration, he represents an era for which
they are openly nostalgic--a world of independent states looking out
for themselves, their judgments unclouded by the illusory security
afforded by ineffective international organizations.
He is the Dutch scholar Huig de Groot. Better known by his Latin pen
name, Hugo Grotius, he is perhaps the world's leading authority on
international law. According to most accounts, he virtually invented
[Hate Groups] Holocaust denier Zundel to remain in jail
Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel will remain in jail pending an
immigration hearing because the government believes he would continue
to spread his anti-Semitic views if released, an Immigration and
Refugee Board member ruled Tuesday.
[Polygamy] Leavitt adds new polygamy offense to crime books
Gov. Mike Leavitt quietly signed into law a tougher criminal sanction
for men who take young girls as their polygamist wives.
House Bill 307 created the new crime of child bigamy - marrying a
second wife who is under the age of 18. The second-degree felony is
punishable by one to 15 years in prison.
The penalty for ordinary bigamy is zero to five years.
[Hate Groups : Scientology] Scientologists in Germany launch legal
crusade to end observation
The German branch of the Church of Scientology has launched a legal
battle aimed at declaring the organization's continued surveillance by
German security agencies unconstitutional, a spokeswoman said
On Tuesday, the Scientologists filed a suit at a state court in
Cologne against Germany's federal Office for the Protection of the
Constitution, declaring the continued monitoring of Scientologists
illegal. A similar lawsuit was filed in against state authorities in
Note: Documents seized from the cult in Greece provide a good
indication of dangerous the extremist organization is:
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