NEWS OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICT & INTOLERANCE,
||2004-MAR: TV reality show: The UPN television network, and
CBS (who oversees UPN) announced a new reality show to be tentatively
called "Amish in the City." The show involves five 16-year old
Amish youth who will be matched up with five "mainstream young adults"
chosen by UPN. They will live in a house in a city which has yet to be
selected. The creators insist that the program will be "totally
respectful" and is "not intended to insult." However, the
show would appear to violate one of the fundamental practices of the
Amish, the prohibition of graven images, including pictures or movies.
campaign to stop the show has been started by lawmakers, rural groups,
Pennsylvania Dutch tourism officials and representatives of the
Amish....The Center for Rural Strategies, a nonprofit organization based
in Whitesburg, Ky., has helped organize opposition to the Amish show."
Its president, Dee Davis, said: "Once again Viacom has created a
reality show where rural people were going to be these curios...Viacom's
got plenty of ways to make money without ridiculing rural people."
(Viacom owns CBS and UPN.) 13|
||2004-MAR-12: CA: Multiple murders:
News media did a particularly incompetent job reporting the multiple
murders allegedly committed by Marcus Wesson in Fresno, CA. Eleven
deaths are reported including nine children allegedly fathered by
Wesson. At various times, news reports announced that the victims were
mutilated, that ritual killings were suspected, and that Wesson was a
member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. When
the smoke cleared, no rituals appear to have been involved. There was no
mutilation of any of the victims. The Seventh Day Adventist church
issued a formal statement saying that they "cannot find any record of
Marcus Wesson being a member of any Seventh Day Adventist Church."
||2004-MAR-17: Kosovo: Christian and
Muslim violence: Large scale violence in broke out in
Mitrovica, Kosovo after the disputed drowning of two ethnic Albanian
children: Egzon Deliu and Avni Veseli, ages 12 and 11. Fitim Veseli, 13,
claimed that a group of Serbian Christians with a dog chased him and the
other two Muslim children into the Ibar River. In an apparent
retaliation, Muslims attacked the Serbian Christian-populated Northern town of Mitrovica. Riots then spread to Serbian-populated enclaves throughout
Kosovo. International peacekeepers from KFOR and UNMIK
struggled to restore law and order. In the Serbian capital Belgrade and
in the southern city of Nis, mobs set two mosques on fire despite the
pleas of clergy from the Serbian Orthodox Church. In Belgrade, Metropolitan
Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral personally pleaded with the
mob and urged police and firefighters to react and preserve "what
could be preserved". After initial hesitation for fear of the mob,
firefighters and police did intervene. The Belgrade mosque, which is
"under state protection", was saved from complete destruction.
By MAR-22, the violence had left 28 dead, 600 injured and 4,000 people
homeless. Pastor Artur
Krasniqi, pastor of the Fellowship of the Lord's People, an
ethnic Albanian Protestant Church in Pristina, Kosovo said: "The
[Serbian] Orthodox Church is the only institution that has kept the
Serbian community alive here. The Orthodox Church has played a political
role, so it has always paid the price."
Abide Veseli, 35, the mother of Avni, appealed to an end to
the violence. She said: "Though I lost my son, I wouldn't want more
problems here. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy." At the
funeral of the two boys, their playmates held signs that read: "Stop
the Violence" and "We want peace." 16
||2004-MAR-26: Russia: Moscow court bans
Jehovah's Witnesses: According to Forum 18 News Service: "...a local
court deprived the Moscow community of Jehovah's Witnesses of its
legal personality status and banned its activity. 'Nothing changes -
they accused us of the same things of which Hitler and Stalin accused
us," Jehovah's Witness representative Vasili Kalin commented to Forum 18
News Service on 29 March. Kalin emphasized, however, that the community
had already submitted an appeal to Moscow City Court, so that the
verdict would not have legal force until such time as this appeal might
be rejected. He estimated that it would take approximately two months to
reach the courtroom....The prosecution's original charges, however, were
that the Moscow Jehovah's Witnesses incite religious hatred, force
families to disintegrate and encourage the refusal of medical aid to the
critically ill on religious grounds. Under Article 14 of Russia's 1997|
religion law, these activities entail the loss of a religious
organization's legal personality status and a ban on all its
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Lisa de Moraes, "Reality TV Goes Amish -- and Amiss,"
Rob Moll, "Amish in the City: Has
Reality TV Gone too Far?," Christianity Today, 2004-19. Online at:
Bernard Weinraub, "UPN Show Is Called Insensitive to Amish,"
New York Times, 2004-MAR-4, at:
"Statement from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church,"
2004-MAR-14, Seventh-day Adventist Church in Central California.
"Kosovo & Serbia: Churches & mosques destroyed amid inter-ethnic
violence," News Release, 2004-MAR-18 by F18News at:
Garentina Kraja, "Thousands morn death of two boys. Kosovo drowning
lead to violence. Families appeal for end of fighting," Associated
Press, 2004-MAR-22, Toronto Star, Page A3.
"Russia: Court bans Jehovah's Witnesses," Forum 18 News
Service news release, 2004-MAR-29.
Copyright © 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2004-MAR-9
Latest update: 2004-MAR-29
Author: B.A. Robinson