Religion News Blog, March 13, 2003
[Islam] To be a Muslim - and a Marylander
After such reports, Maryland's Islamic communities say they consider
it part of their mission to educate non-Muslim neighbors about who
they are - and who they are not.
Dr. Mohammad Haq, a Waynesboro, Pa., physician who is active in the
Hagerstown-area Islamic community, said that when he sees broadcasts
of Osama bin Laden, "I say that this is a man who gave opportunity to
the enemies of Islam to damage this faith. He is the man who hijacked
our religion and gave a bad name to a peaceful religion."
Haq, originally from Pakistan, says terrorists are to Muslims what the
Ku Klux Klan is to Christians.
[Catholic Church] Judge orders Catholic leader's testimony
Auxiliary Bishop Agustín Román, one of the highest-ranking local
Catholic leaders, must give a pretrial deposition within 60 days about
alleged abuse by two other priests, said Miami-Dade Circuit Judge
The ruling puts intense pressure on the archdiocese, which is trying
to fend off 20 molestation lawsuits -- including this case filed last
year by a former altar boy, who claimed he was abused by two Catholic
priests three decades ago.
[UFOs] Call to honour space aliens
Dan Foley, a Republican from Roswell, New Mexico, the area where some
say aliens landed, proposed an "Extra-terrestrial Culture Day" every
second Thursday in February.
Mr Foley asked for the bill "in recognition of the many visitations,
sightings, unexplained mysteries and technological advances... of
alien beings" in New Mexico.
[Mennonites] Midwife Headed To Jail For Religious Beliefs
On Friday, Miller will go back to jail to finish her sentence for not
telling a grand jury who gave her the prescription drugs she used to
stop a woman from bleeding after delivering the woman's baby more than
a year ago.
Miller, who is Mennonite, strongly believes that giving the name would
violate religious beliefs. "Because I have convictions -- religious
convictions -- not to harm somebody else," she said. "If I did that, I
wouldn't be true to my convictions."
Midwives are not licensed to give drugs, so a judge found her in
contempt of court when she wouldn't tell who gave her the
[Islam] Muslims could be mistakenly eating pork
Muslims may be unwittingly eating pig DNA because processed chicken is
not properly labelled, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) says.
Islam forbids the eating of pork and Muslims look for the label
"Halal" on food to see whether they can eat it. "Halal" is an Arabic
word for lawful.
Twelve out of 25 samples of chicken from EU plants were found to
contain pork traces. Eleven of these were marked "Halal".
[Polygamy] Man charged with unlawful sex with minors
A Colorado City polygamist was charged with five criminal counts
alleging he had unlawful sex with teenage girls who became his wives,
according to prosecutors and court records.
A complaint filed Feb. 27 in Mohave County Superior Court alleges
Orson William Black Jr. had sexual relations with Roberta LeAnn Stubbs
when she was 15 to 17 years old. Black faces similar charges involving
Roberta's sister, Beth M. Stubbs.
[AUM Shinrikyo] Asahara silently snatches air during gas attack trial
Court questioning of Shoko Asahara, the AUM Shinrikyo cult guru
indicted over the lethal gassing of Tokyo subways in 1995, began on
Thursday with Asahara ignoring his lawyers' questions and suddenly
snatching at the air around him.
[Hate Groups : Scientology] High Court urged not to inquire into
The High Court has been urged not to engage in a "wholly impermissible
type of religious discrimination" by permitting an inquiry into the
truth or falsity of the Church of Scientology's religious claims.
For the court to admit evidence from a psychologist which was critical
of the practice of auditing - described as the core and single most
important way in which Scientologists profess and practise their
religious belief - would be akin to conducting a judicial inquiry into
the legitimacy of the Sacrament of the Mass in Roman Catholicism, it
was argued. This was impermissible under the constitutional guarantee
of the free profession and practise of religion.
In submissions on behalf of the church, it was argued Scientology had
been recognised as a religion by many governments worldwide, and must
be treated the same as any other religion here.
NOTE: Inquiring into the truth of falsity of religious claims is not
akin to 'religious discrimination':
Even the Jehovah's Witnesses, a cult of Christianity acknowledge this:
Can there be false religion? It is not a form of religious persecution
for anyone to say and to show that another religion is false. It is
not religious persecution for an informed person to expose publicly a
certain religion as being false, thus allowing persons to see the
difference between false religion and true religion.
- The Watchtower (Official publication of Jehovah's Witnesses),
November 15, 1963, p. 688
[Word of Faith Fellowship] Stepmother gets her son from WOFF
A 6-year-old boy was removed from a home at The Word of Faith
Fellowship on Tuesday after his father and stepmother petitioned a
judge for custody.
It came nearly 12 hours after a judge ordered the sheriff to take the
child into custody and deliver him to his stepmother.
The removal also came after an attorney representing the child's aunt,
who is a member of Word of Faith Fellowship and had physical custody
of the child, contacted a judge seeking an emergency stay of the
judgment, but opted not to seek the order.
The boy is the nephew of Gene Worley of Forest City who is currently
embroiled in a legal battle with his estranged wife Denise Worley over
custody of their three children.
[Amway] Once-barred Amway becomes booming business in China
The store -- and about 100 other Amway outlets across China -- is part
of a strategy the company has used to bounce back from the
business-world equivalent of a death sentence: Its longtime sales
model, which relies on independent sales representatives selling door
to door and deriving income from their recruits' sales, was declared
illegal five years ago by a Chinese government directive that lumped
direct sellers like Amway with illegal pyramid schemes.
"Never take for granted that people will understand your business
model," says Eva Cheng, chairman of Amway (China) Co. Ltd. "You need
to be in aggressive communication mode all the time."
[Hate Crimes] FBI says war could lead to hate crimes against Muslims,
Arabs in U.S.
U.S. war with Iraq or another terrorist attack could trigger a wave
of hate crimes against Muslims and Arab-Americans in the United
States, the FBI said Wednesday.
The FBI, in its weekly bulletin to 18,000 state and local law
enforcement agencies, said most such attacks have been "isolated acts
directed at targets of opportunity" rather than the result of a
broader conspiracy against specific ethnic groups.
The crimes have included murders, attempted murders, assaults and
arson against mosques, Arab-owned businesses and Islamic centers.
[Human Rights Violations, USA] Supreme Court Stops 300th Texas
The Supreme Court on Wednesday stopped Texas from executing its 300th
inmate since capital punishment resumed in the United States in 1977,
granting a dramatic last-minute stay to condemned killer Delma Banks.
Banks' claims that he was wrongly convicted of a murder 23 years ago
were backed by three former federal judges.
[Iglesia ni Cristo] Police dismiss cult links in massacre
Police looking into the Tuesday morning massacre of four Iglesia ni
Cristo members in Upper Batinguel, dismissed speculations that the
killer could have been a member of a cult or a satanic group.
[Hate Groups] Duke sentenced to 15 months and $10,000 fine under plea
Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke got the sentence agreed to in a
plea bargain on a tax and a mail fraud charge - 15 months in prison
and a $10,000 fine.
Duke, 52, must report to prison by noon April 15; the Federal Bureau
of Prisons will decide which prison, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said
In brief comments to reporters after his sentencing, Duke said he
would speak more freely about the investigation and charges against
him after his release from prison in 2004.
"When I'm out of the jaws of the federal government I'll have a lot to
say," Duke said, accompanied by two daughters and a granddaughter.
[Hate Groups : Scientology] Copyright law for the digital age is
Let's admit it -- we made a mistake. It seemed like a good idea at the
time, but we screwed up. It's time to make things right and repeal the
Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
In March 2002, the Church of Scientology used the DMCA to pressure
Google and other search engines to remove links to sites critical of
the church. Scientology claimed that these sites contained copyrighted
material and that Google was helping to provide people with access to
them. The DMCA is structured such that Google faced a huge legal
liability if the links were not removed immediately.
I'm sure you see the pattern here. The DMCA is used by large
organizations to shut down individuals or small companies doing
anything they don't like. There have, in fact, been few actual
lawsuits. The DMCA is used primarily to threaten. Since the law is
weighted overwhelmingly in favor of the copyright holder, defending
oneself against it is extremely expensive and risky.
[Human Rights Violations, Morocco] Moroccan Court Grants Bail for
Heavy Metal Fans
Defense lawyer Mahfoud Billeh said on Wednesday the 11 were freed on
Tuesday night by the Casablanca court pending hearing of appeals
against sentences of between one and six months.
They were convicted on March 6 under laws covering distribution of
written or visual material which "undermines good morals" and "making
people listen, with bad intent, to songs which contravene good morals
or incite debauchery."
The three refused bail were sentenced to a year in prison for
"employing seductive methods with the aim of undermining the faith of
[Mungiki] 700 'Mungiki' sect member surrender
More than 700 Mungiki followers have surrendered following a state
amnesty as the government maintained the hunt for the outlawed sect's
coordinator Ndura Waruinge continues.
Internal Security Minister Chris Murungaru today said those who gave
themselves up to the police had been bonded to keep the peace, and
released back to the community.
[Deepak Chopra] 'Mickey Mouse Peace Plan' urged
A Middle Eastern Disney World would ensure lasting peace in Iraq by
easing fear and anger among children, according to Dr. Deepak Chopra,
an American self-help guru, the National Post reported yesterday.
The idea is one of 10 suggestions Chopra outlines in an essay that is
to appear today in several European newspapers. He also suggests free
access to CNN news and MTV music videos would encourage Iraqis, who
face the imminent threat of a U.S.-led attack to unseat their
president, Saddam Hussein, to "feel like part of the world."
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