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ReligionNewsBlog.com, Nov. 23, 2003

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  • Anton Hein
    ReligionNewsBlog.com, Nov. 23, 2003 Sun, Nov. 23, 2003 [Islam] Belgian police clash with Muslim youths, arrest 35 http://www.religionnewsblog.com/5152-.html
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 24, 2003
      ReligionNewsBlog.com, Nov. 23, 2003

      Sun, Nov. 23, 2003
      [Islam] Belgian police clash with Muslim youths, arrest 35
      Belgian police made 35 arrests on Saturday after clashing with Moroccan
      teenagers who smashed car and shop windows in the port city of Antwerp on
      the first anniversary of the shooting death of a young Arab.

      [Aum Shinrikyo] Residents' health to be surveyed after 1994 sarin attack
      The city of Matsumoto in Nagano Prefecture has decided to conduct a health
      survey on about 2,000 residents ahead of the 10th anniversary in June next
      year of the sarin gas attack in the city by the AUM Shinrikyo cult, city
      officials said Saturday.

      [Islam] 13 Churches, Houses Torched in Fresh Crisis
      THISDAY gathered that the arson was as a result of an alleged blamsphemy
      against Prophet Mohammed, (PBUH), by a female student of Federal Government
      Girls College (FGGC) Kazaure, during a heated argument with her colleagues.

      [Ahmadiyya] Attacks on Ahmadias: No move to arrest attackers, instigators
      Although fundamentalists openly attacked a mosque of the Ahmadia sect in
      Nakhalpara Friday noon and caused communal disturbance, the government has
      done nothing to arrest the culprits till yesterday.

      [Ahmadiyya] Bid to 'capture' Ahmadia mosque turns violent
      At least 50 people including 18 policemen were injured in twin attacks by
      anti-Ahmadia Muslims on law-enforcers near an Ahmadia mosque at Nakhalpara
      in Tejgaon before and after the Juma prayers yesterday. [...] Police and
      witnesses said the incident ensued when some 500 anti-Ahmadia Muslims
      marched towards East Nakhalpara Ahmadia Mosque shortly after noon for what
      they called freeing the mosque from non-Muslims.

      [Word of Faith Fellowship] WOFF man cleared on charges
      The assistant principal and youth leader at the Word of Faith Fellowship was
      cleared Friday on a charge that he assaulted a then-16-year-old boy during
      an incident that took place at the church in 2001. [...] In explaining his
      ruling, Fox expressed frustration that he was not sure what happened on that
      evening two years ago. Fox, however, was not sufficiently swayed by the
      prosecution's argument that the witnesses for Doyle, all current WOFF
      members, were pressured to lie about what happened because of possible
      repercussions from church leadership. "I am unhappy that the court is not
      clear what happened," said Fox. "There is no question to this court that
      some of the people were not telling the truth today."
      Fox took about 10 minutes to explain his ruling, discussing, among other
      things, the appropriateness of corporal punishment and the status of the
      WOFF in this community. "The Word of Faith is an awkward fit in this
      community, and I think it would be in any community," said Fox who recalled
      other cases he has presided over where the WOFF was "hovering." Using
      Biblical references, he made a point of saying that no church or religion is
      above the law.

      [Da Vinci Code] 'Da Vinci Code' fascinates readers
      "The book is certainly not reliable in any scholarly way; If you're going to
      read about the life of Jesus and the gospels, don't depend on 'The Da Vinci
      Code,'" said the Rev. Chris Viscardi, theology/philosophy chairman at Spring
      Hill College, a Jesuit institution in Mobile. "It would be like taking the
      play, 'Julius Caesar,' and using it as a biography to study the life of
      Caesar. It's a Shakespeare play. This book is a novel. The kinds of evidence
      we have of biographical knowledge of Jesus is very limited. We have
      testimony and narratives from people who saw Jesus as the Messiah, and the
      gospels are not biographical narratives in any modern sense." Viscardi sees
      "Code" as a spin-off of the scholarly research in search of the historical
      Jesus. He says we live in a world where a person can go on the Internet and
      find any opinion on anything, some reliable, some confusing, some deceiving.
      Education and critical thought is the key. "What the novel talks about is
      fascinating, but it is a novel, not to be taken seriously as a scholarly

      . NOTE: The author of The Da Vinci Code presents fiction as fact.
      Apologetics Index presents research resources on The Da Vinci Code:

      [Da Vinci Code] Magdalene creates stir
      A blockbuster novel, a controversial TV special, and a just-released book on
      a long-hidden gospel bearing her name: The woman known as Mary Magdalene is
      again at the center of a swirl of speculation. Long portrayed in Christian
      tradition as a repentant prostitute out of whom Jesus cast seven devils,
      Mary is having her own resurrection in the popular imagination as history is
      corrected, and new, sometimes explosive, claims are asserted about her
      relationship to the Master. This is not, though, just about setting the
      record straight on an intriguing historical figure. In an era when "God
      talk" has moved convincingly into the media/entertainment arena, observers
      say, her story is captivating because it encapsulates major unresolved
      issues facing Christianity - the role of women in the church, the place of
      human sexuality, and the yearning for the feminine aspect of the Divine.
      All these issues are tantalizingly injected into the best-selling thriller
      "The Da Vinci Code," which set off the latest debate this summer by positing
      that Jesus and Mary were married.

      [Books] On the road to find God
      In his yearlong quest to find God in America, Tom Levinson talked to rabbis,
      ministers of all varieties, and a Catholic monk named Brother Gus. He also
      met a former Mormon who runs the Coffee Messiah cafe where "Caffeine Saves"
      and a practicing Mormon who worked at a Las Vegas wedding chapel;
      interviewed a Hindu hotel clerk who also venerated Jesus; visited a Wiccan
      community center in Dallas; and stopped by a Sikh gurdwara in New Mexico,
      where he was greeted with a "how's it going?" from a tall white man in a
      turban, one of the local converts. And then there was Edna Doyle of Waco,
      Texas -- a "gracious, feisty" grandmother from Melbourne, Australia -- one
      of the surviving members of David Koresh's Branch Davidian cult. Dressed in
      a white blouse, cardigan sweater, and a plaid skirt, "Doyle looked more like
      a grade school teacher than a domestic terrorist," writes Levinson in his
      book, All That's Holy : A Young Guyy: A Young Guy, and Old Car, and the
      Search for God in America.

      [Church Universal and Triumphant] Seeker's diary: Church Universal and
      It would take a book to explain the teachings of Church Universal and
      Triumphant. Specifically, it might take 55 books, the number published by
      members of this cross-denominational faith since its founding in 1958.

      NOTE: Basically, an unbalanced, uncritical puff piece. See the side bar
      (added by RNB) for links to relevant research resources, including
      information about cult apologist J. Gordon Melton's "travesty of research"
      on the group.

      Sat, Nov. 22, 2003
      [Christianity] Scholars Discover Parts of New Testament
      The inscription declares the 60-foot-high monument is the tomb of Simon, a
      devout Jew who the Bible says cradled the infant Jesus and recognized him as
      the Messiah. It's actually unlikely Simon is buried there; the monument is
      one of several built for Jerusalem's aristocracy at the time of Jesus.
      However, the inscription does back up what until now were scant references
      to a Byzantine-era belief that three biblical figures - Simon, Zachariah and
      James, the brother of Jesus - shared the same tomb.

      [Falun Gong] Mary Kay Drops Falun Gong Wording in Contracts
      Amid pressure from a trio of congressional members, Addison-based cosmetics
      giant Mary Kay Inc. said Thursday that it has revised its sales force
      agreement in China that effectively reiterated a government ban against the
      Falun Gong spiritual group.

      [Interfaith] Clergy Group to Counter Conservatives
      In an effort to counter the influence of conservative Christian
      organizations, a coalition of moderate and liberal religious leaders is
      starting a political advocacy organization to mobilize voters in opposition
      to Bush administration policies. The nonprofit organization, the Clergy
      Leadership Network, plans to formally announce its formation on Friday and
      will operate from an expressly religious, expressly partisan point of view.
      The group cannot, under Internal Revenue Service guidelines, endorse
      political candidates, and it will have no official ties to the Democratic
      Party. But the driving purpose of the organization, according to its
      mission statement, is to bring about "sweeping changes - changes in our
      nation's political leadership and changes in failing public policies."

      [USA] Bush's Remark About God Assailed
      Evangelical Christian leaders expressed dismay yesterday over President
      Bush's statement that Christians and Muslims worship the same god, saying it
      had caused discomfort within his conservative religious base. But most
      predicted that the political impact would be short-lived. [...] Bush's
      remarks sent immediate shock waves through Christian Web sites and radio
      broadcasts. A Baptist Press report quoted Richard D. Land, president of the
      public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest
      Protestant denomination, as saying that Bush "is simply mistaken." [...] The
      Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals,
      also issued a statement contradicting Bush. [...] But both Land and Haggard,
      who are frequent visitors to the White House, doubted that the remark would
      cost Bush votes in 2004. "This president has earned a lot of wiggle room
      among evangelicals," Land said. "If he had said that Islam is on a par with
      Christianity, it would be a more serious case of heartburn. This is just
      indigestion." Gary Bauer, president of American Values, a conservative
      public policy group, said it is unclear what the ultimate fallout will be.
      "But the one thing that's for certain is, it's not helpful to the president.
      Since everybody agrees he's not a theologian, he would be much better
      advised to punt when he gets that kind of question," Bauer said.

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