Mar 16, 2015

Education Can Win the Hearts and Minds of the People

Source: Dialogue Institute Southwest
 
Sister Martha Ann Kirk has spoken publicly about her trips to Iraq and her time in that beleaguered country — where so little hope seems to exist, especially for educational opportunity for girls. But this time she was on a panel at the United Nations, where she was invited to speak about her research on the ground.

Feb 25, 2015

Landmark Ruling Nets First Sikh Officer with Turban, Beard in Harris County

 
 
It was a matter of pride for the 50 or so members of the local Sikh community who had gathered in the Officer’s Dining Hall of the Harris County Sherriff’s Administrative Offices on 701 N. San Jacinto St, next to Buffalo Bayou in downtown Houston.  They came to celebrate not only one of their own becoming a police officer, but to witness history in making as one more visage of mainstream rule crumbled to the power of the diversity that is the cornerstone of this region’s appeal.

Feb 18, 2015

SermonSlam shakes up Interfaith Dialogue

By Sonia Zuniga
Source: The Cougar
 
 
Being true to themselves while expressing their beliefs courteously to members of another faith was the challenge six students faced at UH’s first SermonSlam Tuesday in the Student Center Legacy Lounge, part of A.D. Bruce Religion Center’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Feb 2, 2015

Americans Know Nothing about Sikhism: Study



Although more than half a million Sikhs live in the US, a majority of Americans are unaware of what Sikhism is and some admit wariness when seeing their Sikh neighbors, according to new study. Conducted by Washington-based Hart Research Associates, the study released here Tuesday, shows that there is enormous potential to increase awareness and enhance positive sentiments toward Sikhism within the broader American public.
 

Jan 26, 2015

Terrorism is a Matter of Privilege

By Daniel Johnson
Source: Free Thoughts
 
As I watch the latest episode in international terrorism play out and the inevitable blaming of Islam for extremist behavior, I wonder if we will ever see the same blaming of Christianity for its extremist activity. As it currently exists, the discussion of terrorist actions can only apply if you are a Muslim or a person of color, or by some happenstance both at the same time.
 

Jan 19, 2015

What the Interfaith Community Can Learn from MLK

By Saadia Faruqi
 
Today (January 19th) is Martin Luther King Day, celebrated by millions across the United States. We all know Dr. King very well, of course, and although his courageous efforts were for the betterment of the African American community, he has now become a national icon – a symbol for freedom, civil liberties and justice. He is not just a man but an image standing for the downtrodden sections of society and demanding their rights.  

Jan 15, 2015

Hip Hop and Religion

Source: Houston Press
 
About 30 minutes before the Tuesday-night Conversation at the Menil Collection was scheduled to begin, all of the best seats stuffed inside Renzo Piano's low-slung masterwork were already taken. All of the bad seats, too. Still, people continued to press inside, sitting, standing or stooping in whatever space they could find. When even the museum's wings filled up and there was no more room left anywhere, folks finally just propped the door open and huddled together outside in the cold.
 

Dec 25, 2014

Muslim Memories of Christmas

By Saadia Faruqi
 
Today is Christmas Day, and I want to take this opportunity to wish my friends and colleagues a very happy Christmas. Some among my circle express surprise, even shock, at my supposed participation in this very non-Muslim tradition each year. These are the people who don't know me, I suppose. These are the people who don't know what Islam is truly about. Christmas to me and countless other Muslims is a very positive, joyous occasion for a number of reasons. Here then, are a few of them:

Dec 17, 2014

Christmas with an International Flair

 
 
Houston’s one and only Indian Christmas celebration was hosted on December 20th at the Stafford Civic Center. As always the auditorium was packed to watch an awe inspiring program by Houston Indian Fellowship.
 

Dec 5, 2014

Book Review: Jesus and Buddha

Source: Goodreads
 
 
Three thousand miles from where Jesus was born, another miraculous birth occurred: the Buddha (also said to be born without a father - editor). As the Buddha walked on water, passed through walls, and raised the dead, so did Jesus in his day. As the Buddha fed 500 with a few small cakes, so did Jesus work with loaves and fishes. Five hundred years after a terrible earthquake marked the death of the Buddha, the earth shook again when Jesus breathed his last. 

Nov 29, 2014

Celebrating Religjons on Thanksgiving

By Saadia Faruqi
 
 
Thanksgiving is such an American holiday. Turkey, stuffing, apple pie and football… what could be more American than that? Well, how about religion, or rather many different religions? 
 
It used to be that Thanksgiving was strictly a family affair. Extended family members would often brave snow storms and other kinds of bad weather to arrive at the doorstep like Prodigal Sons and Daughters.
 

Nov 27, 2014

Lobbying for an Accurate Portrayal of Hinduism and Its Role in American Society

By Jawahar Malhotra
 
 
The most powerful testimonial on the impact of inaccurate portrayal of Hinduism in the text books used in American schools comes from a young Indian man who is a product of these very schools. He speaks about the shame he felt in classes in Philadelphia as he heard the unflattering description of Hindus and how the text on Hinduism swiftly moved from 500 BC to Buddhism.
 

Nov 20, 2014

Yezidi’s State their Plight in Houston

By Jawahar Malhotra
 
 
At the fundraiser for the Hindu American Foundation held this past Saturday, November 15, the plight of the tiny Yezidi community which has lived for generations in the northeastern portion of Iraq, bordering on Kurdistan and Turkey, was brought out and the HAF taken on their cause and vowed to help in whichever way they can.
 

Nov 14, 2014

Texas Sikh Women Wins Kirpan Lawsuit

Source: Sikh 24
 
 
A former Internal Revenue Service worker in Houston has settled a federal lawsuit that alleged she was fired for insisting she be allowed to wear a three-inch Kirpan [a kirpan is a ceremonial knife worn by followers of the Sikh faith - editor].
 

Nov 4, 2014

Finding Common Ground in Grief

By Saadia Faruqi
 
 
The last month has been a roller coaster for me personally. A friend, who became a friend only through interfaith dialogue, was grieving. Her younger sister had suddenly been taken to the hospital with several imminent health concerns, and finally after about three weeks of ups and downs, hope and despair, she passed away. I don’t need to explain how my friend felt; grief translates across boundaries of geography, culture and faith. What was interesting to me was how I felt, and how I reacted to this illness and death. How, even in the midst of grief and pain, I could learn an interfaith lesson.
 

Nov 1, 2014

Why Write? To Save the World Perhaps

By Shane Fernandez

I have been a writer since the day I could hold pen to paper. That was some twenty years ago, and I wouldn't even remember it if it wasn't for my proud Indian mother taking a picture with her Polaroid camera when I wrote my first words. It was just my own name, in clumsy childish, handwriting, but Ma was proud nonetheless. The picture has since then been lost, but my mother's pride, and my own love of writing has only gotten stronger.

Oct 27, 2014

Bringing Interfaith Dialogue from Pakistan to the United States

By Saadia Faruqi
 
 
I was recently selected as a 2014 Contributing Scholar of the State of Formation, an online forum for emerging religious and ethical leaders. As part of my first assignment I was asked to submit an essay answering the question: why are you committed to building interfaith relationships with people of other religions? Here is my response:
 

Oct 23, 2014

Can Christians Celebrate Diwali?

By Ken Chitwood
Source: Deseret News

The lights are hung, the candles lit, the feast prepared, the New Year is almost here, families gather and the children wait to hear the dramatic re-telling of stories from the ancient past. No, it is not Christmas, nor is it Hanukkah or Kwanzaa; steeped in mythical tales, religious devotion, and socio-cultural importance, it is the Hindu festival of Diwali, celebrated in India and throughout its diaspora spread across the world.

Oct 20, 2014

Hindus of Greater Houston Hold Diwali Food Drive

By Venugopal Menon
Source: Voice of Asia
 
Hindus of Greater Houston wishes all a very happy Deepavali, the festival of lights. The ‘Festival of Lights’ signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair. As an appropriate gesture, and corresponding to their 25 year observance of Janmashtami together, the several Hindu temples and organizations of Houston are celebrating Diwali by helping the Food Bank of Houston and serving the needy.

Oct 18, 2014

Houston's Problems With the First Commandment and the First Amendment

By Andrew T. Walker
Source:
Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
 
 
News that Houston city officials are requesting materials from pastors pertaining to efforts to repeal a controversial non-discrimination ordinance makes for troubling precedent about the future of free speech and religious liberty in America.