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ReligionNewsBlog.com, Dec. 6-8, 2003

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  • Anton Hein
    ReligionNewsBlog.com, Dec. 6-8, 2003 Mon, Dec. 08, 2003 [Ahmadiyya] Minister snubs demand for declaring Ahmadiyyas non-Muslim
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 8, 2003
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      ReligionNewsBlog.com, Dec. 6-8, 2003

      Mon, Dec. 08, 2003
      [Ahmadiyya] Minister snubs demand for declaring Ahmadiyyas non-Muslim
      [Bangladesh] State Minister for Religious Affairs Mosharef Hossain Shajahan
      yesterday rejected a demand for declaring the Ahmadiyya sect non-Muslim, a
      rallying cry that led religious bigots to stage a hate-filled demonstration
      on Friday and declare a tough movement ahead.

      [Hate Groups] Black author talks about converting KKK members
      Many Americans cannot imagine becoming buddies with national leaders of the
      Ku Klux Klan. Daryl Davis doesn't have to try. He did it. The 47-year-old
      black man befriended many Klansmen, witnessed the resignation of several
      Klan members and wrote a book on his experiences. He has appeared CNN,
      Geraldo and Jenny Jones for his work with white supremacists.

      [Nuwaubians] Charges considered against Nuwaubians who were in Christmas
      United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors members who marched in Saturdays parade
      told the event organizer when they applied to participate that they were a
      Masons group, officials said. Authorities are considering whether to charge
      the group members with submitting false information to a government agency,
      which is a felony, said Brunswick prosecutor Stephen Kelley.

      [False Memory Syndrome] 'We can implant entirely false memories'
      "We can easily distort memories for the details of an event that you did
      experience," says [Elizabeth] Loftus. "And we can also go so far as to plant
      entirely false memories - we call them rich false memories because they are
      so detailed and so big."

      [Amish] Amish child labor practices under review
      A bill before Congress seeks to exempt the Amish from child labor laws in a
      culture where children leave school after the eighth grade to learn a trade
      and support their families. If approved after years of trying, it would be
      similar to an existing exemption that covers farming.

      [False Memory Syndrome] Lawyer in sex-abuse case will test ruling
      The attorney for a medieval history group leader who hosted weekend
      sleepovers for children will be among the first to take advantage of a
      recent state Supreme Court decision concerning sexually abused children.
      [...] A September Supreme Court decision allows for so-called taint hearings
      to be held so a judge can rule if false memories were planted, primarily in
      young children, during interviews.

      [Offbeat News] Church's billboard called offensive
      billboard some people are finding offensive was put up by a Christian
      church pastor who says he's just trying to crack a stereotype that his
      congregation is boring. The first billboard sponsored by an evangelical
      church called The LightHouse features a cartoon-like, white stick figure
      standing on a roof with a cross behind him and shouting "Blah! Blah! Blah!"
      A second billboard went up on Friday and explains that "Blah" stands for
      "Bringing Life And Hope."

      [Films] Groundhog Almighty
      A new movie series from the Museum of Modern Art, "The Hidden God: Film and
      Faith," features some pretty brooding stuff. [...] With one exception. On
      Thursday, the opening-night feature at the Gramercy Theater, where the
      series is being presented, was "Groundhog Day," the 1993 movie starring Bill
      Murray as a sarcastic television weatherman forced by a twist of fate and
      magic to relive one day of his life, Feb. 2, over and over. Since its debut
      a decade ago, the film has become a curious favorite of religious leaders of
      many faiths, who all see in "Groundhog Day" a reflection of their own
      spiritual messages. Curators of the series, polling some 35 critics in the
      literary, religious and film worlds to suggest films with religious
      interpretations, found that "Groundhog Day" came up so many times that there
      was actually a squabble over who would write about it in the retrospective's

      [Hate Groups] Greene County target of anti-gay church
      Greene County is the latest target of a Kansas church that wants to
      establish monuments condemning a gay man who was murdered in Wyoming in
      1998. County officials vow to fight the attempt by Fred Phelps, pastor of
      the Topeka, Kan., church, to put a 6-foot granite monument in the
      Greeneville courthouse. Phelps said if officials do not comply, his group
      will picket the county.

      [Hate Groups] Boise faces Phelps controversy
      One of the first political problems facing incoming mayor Dave Bieter will
      be an attempt by an extremist anti-gay church to erect a hate monument next
      to the city's own monument to the Ten Commandments. [...] Civil libertarians
      say the city may have no choice but to accommodate both monuments -- and
      maybe more. Phelps has formally asked the city for permission to install a
      6-foot granite edifice bearing the name and image of Matthew Shepard, a
      21-year-old Wyoming college student who died in 1998 five days after when he
      was lured out of a Laramie bar by two men, kidnapped and beaten into a coma.
      Police said he was targeted in part because he was gay. His attackers were
      later convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Phelps' monument
      would say that Shepard went to hell because he was gay.

      [The Fellowship] N.Va. Neighbors Up in Arms Over Secretive Enclave
      The Fellowship, best known for its National Prayer Breakfast every February,
      is described by backers as a loosely knit group of friends who advise the
      rich and powerful on the teachings of Jesus Christ. In its mission to
      create global harmony, the Fellowship has for decades quietly brought
      together Third World leaders, disgraced captains of industry, members of
      Congress and ambassadors for talks at an imposing white mansion that sits on
      a hill overlooking the Potomac River. Pop star Michael Jackson was a guest
      last year.

      [Panawave] Police: Pana Wave wrote manual on how to beat members
      The Pana Wave Laboratory group in Fukui, five of whose members were arrested
      Friday on suspicion of beating an associate professor of a Fukuoka
      university who died in the group's facility in August, compiled a manual
      giving instructions on how to administer punishment beatings to members,
      police said Friday.

      [USA] Interview: 'Of course, it was all about Iraq's resources'
      Edited excerpts of an interview with Noam Chomsky by Simon Mars of Dubai's
      Business Channel. [...] Simon Mars: Do you think control over energy
      resources was the main reason for the invasion of Iraq? Noam Chomsky: They
      didn't decide to invade Eastern Congo where there's much worse massacres
      going on. [See: http://www.religionnewsblog.com/5325-.html%5d Of course it
      was Iraq's energy resources. It's not even a question. Iraq's one of the
      major oil producers in the world. It has the second largest reserves and
      it's right in the heart of the Gulf's oil producing region, which US
      intelligence predicts is going to be two thirds of world resources in coming
      years. The invasion of Iraq had a number of motives, and one was to
      illustrate the new National Security Strategy, which declares that the
      United States will control the world permanently by force if necessary and
      will eliminate any potential challenge to that domination. It is called
      pre-emptive war.

      [Jehovah's Witnesses] Congregation of 60,000 tourists knocking politely on
      convention door
      From Thursday, the largest-ever congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in
      Australia will converge at Telstra Stadium for their intern ational
      convention. It will be attracting 60,000 delegates, making it the
      second-largest event to be held in Sydney this year, says Denis Winchester,
      from the Tourism Industry Council. "It's the mother of all conventions. The
      next closest I can think of is a Lions convention in Brisbane for 20,000."

      [Church and State] Just Case, Bad Trend
      We would all be better off if the state of Washington had given Joshua Davey
      his state scholarship to study theology at an evangelical college. Because
      Davey was denied his scholarship, he sued. Because Davey sued, the U.S.
      Supreme Court may be forced to make a ruling that unsettles more than it
      settles in our national argument about religious liberty.

      [Cloning] There's No Monkeying Around With Cloning
      Almost seven years after the birth of Dolly the sheep shocked scientists and
      the public, cloning has shown mixed progress. Scientists have achieved it in
      more than a dozen mammal species, including mice, rabbits, goats, pigs and
      horses. They've cloned a calf from a slaughtered cow. They've even cloned a
      wild sheep from a carcass found in a pasture. But an efficient cloning
      process still eludes them. Clones are more prone to physical defects than
      regular animals are. And researchers haven't been able to duplicate monkeys
      from adult or fetal tissue, a goal that could help medical research.

      [Ninja] Apocalyptic rebel movement revisits Congo's heart of darkness
      In the forests and jungles near Brazzaville, a bitter guerrilla war is led
      by a messianic pastor who claims that the end of the world is coming. Rory
      Carroll is the first western journalist to meet him in his remote Kindamba
      hide-out. [...] This is the Pool region of the Republic of Congo. Ninja
      country. A rebel movement has for years battled the government in a
      guerrilla war with atrocities committed on both sides. The Ninjas wear
      purple as a sign of suffering. Their hair is dreadlocked because of a Bible
      passage which says no razor should touch the head of the chosen ones. They
      say an apocalypse is coming and, after so much destruction, many suspect it
      has already started. Ten years of fighting have made Pool desolate.

      [Worldwide Church of God] Sale of 5 Historic Pasadena Homes Draws Curious
      The offer was irresistible: Five adjacent historic homes on Pasadena's
      oldest street were on the market Saturday for the first time in decades.
      [...] Yet, many emerged with starkly different views of the properties,
      which had been shuttered for the last several years by their owner, the
      Worldwide Church of God. Some visitors saw an opportunity; others envisioned
      a money pit. [...] With the church in the midst of a financial downsizing,
      the decision was made to develop much of its 50-acre Pasadena property and
      move its headquarters elsewhere in Southern California.

      [Mormon Church] The Untold Story Of The Mormons
      In the wake of civil legislation across the world and anti-racism campaigns
      against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in America came an
      incredible revelation on June 9, 1978, from the Mormon President, Spencer W.
      Kimball, who announced that he had received a revelation which signalled the
      end of the Church's ban on blacks' acceptance into the priesthood, The
      Chronicle has gathered. Until then, the Church had pontificated that blacks
      would never hold priesthood in the church because they bore the "Mark of
      Cain" and had been born through this lineage as a punishment for their
      failures in the pre-existence.

      [Mormon Church] Ghana LDS Temple Open for Tours; Veep Visits
      The first temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in
      West Africa is completed... and will open for public tours today.

      [Islam] Seminary Is Reaching Out to Muslims
      One of the nation's leading evangelical Christian seminaries has launched a
      federally funded project for making peace with Muslims, featuring a proposed
      code of ethics that rejects offensive statements about each other's faiths,
      affirms a mutual belief in one God and pledges not to proselytize. The
      $1-million project, initiated by Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, is
      being hailed by both sides as a pioneering attempt to ease continuing
      conflict. But, in an illustration of sharp theological divides, some
      conservative evangelicals are challenging the ethics code and asserting that
      they do not believe in the same God as Muslims.

      [Opus Dei] Catholics scrutinize enigmatic Opus Dei
      Lexington College, a school on Chicago's Near West Side that specializes in
      food-service management, is run by Opus Dei, a tiny religious movement
      brought to public attention by the best seller "The Da Vinci Code," a kind
      of ecclesiastical mystery novel featuring a Machiavellian Opus Dei operative
      who takes orders from a sinister, off-stage presence called "The Teacher."
      Earlier, the group briefly made headlines when it was learned that Robert
      Hanssen, the FBI agent turned Russian spy, sent his children to a
      Washington-area private school run by Opus Dei--Latin for the "Work of God."
      Recently, the group opened a new multistory headquarters in the heart of
      Manhattan, a sign of its abundant financial resources. All of this has shone
      a spotlight on a group that has been something of a mystery, even to other
      U.S. Catholics. Yet it has tentacles of influence stretching all the way to
      the Holy See, where the pope's spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, is a

      [Islam] Alhambra mosque: Granada rediscovers its Muslim roots
      Five hundred years after being hounded out by the Roman Catholic monarchs
      Isabel and Ferdinand, Spain's Muslims have built a mosque overlooking what
      was once Islam's most important outpost in Europe, the Alhambra palace in

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      Sun, Dec. 07, 2003
      [Franklin Graham] Evangelist invited to visit Sudan
      Evangelist Franklin Graham plans to travel to Sudan at the invitation of its
      Muslim government, which he has criticized for military actions against
      predominantly southern, Christian rebels.

      [Aum Shinrikyo] Aum's Hayashi continues appeal of death sentence
      Convicted killer Yasuo Hayashi appealed his death sentence to the Supreme
      Court after the Tokyo High Court on Friday upheld the punishment against the
      former member of Aum Shinrikyo. Hayashi, 45, the former ``minister of
      science and technology'' in the cult, was sentenced in the Tokyo District
      Court in 2000 for his role in the 1995 sarin gas attack on Tokyo subways
      that killed 12 people and made more than 5,500 others ill.

      [Islamism] Hamas chief Yassin rejects coexistence with Israel
      Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin has again rejected the continued
      existence of Israel next to an independent Palestinian state, telling a
      German news magazine a Jewish state could be established in Europe.

      [Catholic Church] Priest accused of molesting boy after dressing him up like
      A former DuPage County priest already facing sexual abuse charges molested a
      teenage boy after dressing him like Jesus Christ and taking his picture, an
      attorney for the victim said Wednesday.

      [Hinduism] Hindu sect ready to build temple
      Hindus plan to build a worship center at the Florida Shirdi Sai Center...
      [...] Sai Baba is a branch of Hinduism. The devotees of Sai Baba worship
      Shirdi Sai Baba, an Indian philosopher who lived from the mid to late 1800s,
      and also Shatya Sai Baba, the religious leader who lives in India. devotees
      of Sai Baba believe the two men are direct incarnations of God who have
      descended to earth.

      [IPIC International] Rancho Cucamonga man denied bail in $160 million church
      fraud case
      A Rancho Cucamonga man accused of bilking Christian ministries out of $160
      million was ordered sent to Texas to face charges of securities fraud and
      money laundering. A federal judge denied bail Friday for Gregory Earl
      Setser and ordered the 47-year-old businessman sent to Texas to enter pleas
      to the charges.

      Sat, Dec. 06, 2003
      [Lee Malvo] Cult Expert Testifies for Malvo Defense
      Attorneys tried to bolster their insanity defense for sniper suspect Lee
      Boyd Malvo with testimony from a cult expert who said Malvo's childhood
      could have made him vulnerable to brainwashing by sniper mastermind John
      Allen Muhammad. [...] [Paul] Martin has not interviewed Malvo or Muhammad,
      but offered general testimony on how brainwashing typically occurs, and
      answered hypothetical questions about how the circumstances of Malvo's life
      apply in the context of indoctrination. He did not give an opinion on
      whether Malvo was brainwashed.

      [Lee Malvo] Over Objections, Expert on Cults Is Witness for Sniper Suspect
      An expert on cults testified on Friday at the trial of Lee Malvo, the
      younger suspect in last fall's sniper attacks in the Washington area.
      Drawing parallels to the brainwashing of prisoners of war in Korea, to the
      Jonestown mass suicide and the Branch Davidian siege in Texas, he suggested
      that John A. Muhammad, who has been sentenced to die for his role in the
      shootings, may have come to control Mr. Malvo's mind and free will. "They
      can change their moral values," the expert, Paul R. Martin, said of people
      who have been indoctrinated. "People can start to engage in crimes. People
      can kill when they are under this sort of mindset." Mr. Martin, who said he
      had neither interviewed Mr. Malvo nor studied his case, spoke in general
      terms, over a prosecutor's frequent and furious objections.

      [Superior Universal Alignment] Satanic cult leader acquitted in mutilation
      murders of boys
      A jury in an Amazon state acquitted the leader of a satanic cult on Friday
      in connection with the murder and sexual mutilation of several young boys.
      The jury voted 6-1 to acquit 75-year-old Valentina Andrade, who was accused
      of planning and ordering the mutilations and killings as part of a black
      magic ritual, a court official said by telephone from Belem, 2,400
      kilometers (1,500 miles) northwest of Rio de Janeiro. [...] Four other
      defendants were convicted in earlier trials in connection with the killings
      and mutilations which occurred in the western Amazon city of Altamira,
      between 1989 and 1992. They are serving sentences ranging from 30 to 70
      years in prison.

      [Aum Shinrikyo] Aum cultist loses appeal
      The Tokyo High Court on Friday upheld the death penalty for senior Aum
      Shinrikyo member Yasuo Hayashi for his roles in two fatal sarin attacks and
      an attempt to spread cyanide gas at JR Shinjuku Station.

      [Panawave] Five Pana Wave members held over man's death
      Five members of Pana Wave Laboratory, a sect whose members dress in white,
      were arrested Friday in connection with the August death of a man at their
      compound in the city of Fukui, police said. [...] The five, who all live at
      the Pana Wave compound, repeatedly struck Chigusa on the back and buttocks
      with bamboo swords and rods made of cardboard on Aug. 7, police alleged.
      They added that they would further investigate to see whether the injuries
      they inflicted were directly linked to the man's death.

      [Superior Universal Alignment] Sect leader acquitted in Brazil mutilation
      Andrade was accused of the murder of three boys and castration of two others
      in Altamira, 200 kms (125 miles) from Beleme, between 1989 and 1993. She was
      said to have led the crimes of a sect known as Superior Universal Alignment.
      Defense lawyer Arnaldo Busato Filho presented the court documents, including
      one from Parana state police in southern Brazil, showing that Andrade wasn't
      in Altamira when the crimes were committed.

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