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We also have a list of religious tolerance news for this month. 
Sad to say, these are usually much shorter lists.

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bullet2004-JUL-6: OR: Roman Catholic diocese files for bankruptcy: The Archdiocese of Portland, OR, and its insurers, have already paid out more than $53 million over the past 50 years to settle more than 130 claims by people who say that they have been abused by priests. Plaintiffs in two lawsuits involving the late Rev. Maurice Grammond have sought a total of over $160 million. Because of these costs, the diocese has been forced to file for bankruptcy. It is the first archdiocese in the history of the American church to have done this. Spokesperson Bud Bunce said that church operations will continue as usual. 11
bullet2004-JUL-6: Federal Government warns Sarasota County, FL officials: The U.S. Department of Justice warned Sarasota County officials that they may have acted unfairly when they refused a Muslim group permission to build a mosque. The Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton wants to build a mosque with two minarets that are 80 feet tall. The County Commission ruled in February that the tower could be no taller than 40 feet. They have not placed a restriction of this type on 14 other religious buildings approved by the County since 2002. The Justice Department sent a letter to the County indicating that its investigation was preliminary in nature, but that it had received information that the county may have imposed "a substantial burden on the religious exercise'' of the Islamic Society. If proven, that would be an unconstitutional act. 17
bullet2004-JUL-24: WV: Muslim woman on trial for speaking against hatred: Thirty five members of the Islamic Center in Morgantown WV signed a petition demanding that a woman member be placed on trial with the possible result of banning her from the mosque. The petition charges that she has engaged in "actions and practices that are disruptive to prayer, worship and attendance [and]....actions and practices that were harmful to the members of our community." According to her father, her crime was: "...speaking out against gender inequity, hate and intolerance at our mosque."  Women are allegedly require to enter the mosque by a back door and are restricted to a secluded balcony where they cannot see or speak to males. Her trial is allegedly to be conducted in secret. 12
bullet2004-JUL-24: France: Showdown over religious symbols expected in September: A new "secularity law" was passed in 2004-MAR that prohibits the wearing of religious symbols in French schools. It bans the wearing of Muslim hijabs, Sikh's head coverings, large Christian crosses or crucifixes, Jewish yarmulkes, etc. The Union of Islamic Organizations in France (UOIF), issued a statement recommending that girls wear "discreet" head coverings to avoid violating the law. In an apparent conflict with this statement, the French government has issued guidelines to schools which states that the ban covers both: "signs and behavior...whose wearing immediately makes known a person’s religious faith." More details 20
bullet2004-JUL-25: India: Proposal to ban witchcraft -- an apparent hoax: A number of websites have reported that the United Nations has released a report expressing concern about the large number of women around the world who were accused of being witches and murdered -- generally by vigilante groups out of fear. The report allegedly states that India and some countries in Africa, Asia and South America have high incidences of witchcraft-related killings. They estimate that 2,556 women were accused of witchcraft and executed in India between 1987 and 2003. They report a further total of 4,000 murders in Britain, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Australia between 1999 and 2003. The websites report that the government of India is planning to tackle the problem by outlawing witchcraft. That would be like outlawing Christianity because so many Christians are being killed by Hindus. We assume that the story is a hoax. There were zero witches murdered for their religion in the UK and Australia since 1999; there does not appear to be any UN report on this topic. 14,15,16
bullet2004-JUL-30: Serbia/Montegenegro: Discriminatory religion bill drafted: Forum 18 reports that: "If passed, the bill would give full rights only to religious communities recognized by the parliament of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia between 1918 and 1941. These communities are the Serbian Orthodox Church, [Roman] Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Slovak and Hungarian/German Lutherans, and the Hungarian Reformed Church. They will receive substantial state financial support and the right to perform marriages, burials and to maintain marriage registers. Other religious communities would be denied these rights and have strongly criticized the bill, the Baptists pointing out to Forum 18 that the only communities recognized are essentially mono-ethnic, and so the bill discriminates against "multi-ethnic" religious communities and is thus un-constitutional. Milan Radulovic, Minister of Religion, has dismissed criticisms as 'communist'.....Several NGOs, including the Helsinki Committee for Human
Rights in Serbia, joined the criticism, as did one political party, the Social Democratic Union
......The Belgrade-based Association for Religious Freedom also issued a statement complaining it was 'discriminatory to name only some
so-called traditional churches and religious communities.' The Association requested the Ministry of Religion to add a preamble to the bill defining the terms 'church', 'religious community' and 'religious association'." 18 More details

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  1. DayWatch is a daily service of Maranatha Christian Journal. It provides "a daily summary of news headlines with a Christian perspective..." The newsletter is free on request. Their web site is at: http://www.mcjonline.com 
  2. ReligionToday™ provides free newsletters to which you can subscribe at: http://www.ReligionToday.com. These summaries are part of GOSHEN.net, which also includes LiveIt.net, Devotionals.net, ChristianShareware.net, ChristianClassifieds.net, ChristianMessageBoards.net, BibleStudyTools.net, MediaManagement.net, WorldNewsToday.net, WebCastGuide.net, and ChristianCollegeGuide.net
  3. Reuters is "the world's leading financial information and news group. Their web page is at: http://www.reuters.com/ 
  4. Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): E-mail: cair1@ix.netcom.com
    URL: http://www.cair-net.org To join CAIR-NET, CAIR's read-only mailing list: Send subscribe cair-net in the body of a message to majordomo@cair-net.org
  5. EWTN News carries Roman Catholic news from Catholic World News, Vatican Information Service, ZENIT, CWNews.com. See: http://www.ewtn.com/news/ 
  6. Ecumenical News International (ENI) in Geneva Switzerland distributes news free religious news highlights to subscribers. They can be contacted at PO Box 2100, CH - 1211, Geneva 2, Switzerland. Telephone: (41-22) 791 6087/6515. Fax: (41-22) 788 7244 Email: eni@eni.ch. Their web site is at http://www.eni.ch 
  7. ZENIT.org is "an International News Agency based in Rome. Our mission is to provide objective and professional coverage of events, documents and issues emanating from or concerning the Catholic Church for a worldwide audience, especially the media." Their web site is at: http://www.zenit.org/english/ 
  8. Anglican Communion News Service provides information from an Anglican perspective. See: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/index.html A companion Episcopal News Service is at: http://www.ecusa.anglican.org/ens/ 
  9. AANEWS is distributed by American Atheists.
  10. CNSNews.com -- Cybercast News Service -- is a conservative news source. Their home page is at: http://www.cnsnews.com
  11. "Archdiocese files for bankruptcy over lawsuit," The Toronto Star, 2004-JUL-7, Page A9.
  12. Zafar Nomani, "Excommunication From the Mosque? They want to ban my daughter from the Islamic center I helped found 23 years ago," Beliefnet, at: 
  13. "French Muslim group courts showdown over headscarf law," The Peninsula, Qatar, 2004-JUL-27, at: http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/
  14. "Government may make witchcraft illegal," 123Bharath.com, 2004-JUL-25, at: http://www.123bharath.com/
  15. "Mixed messages," The Pagan Prattle, 2004-JUL-25, at: http://prattle.antipope.org/
  16. "India's government may make witchcraft illegal," Religious News Blog, 2004-JUL-26, at: http://www.religionnewsblog.com/8006-.html
  17. "Feds warn county about limits on mosque," Islam-Infonet, 2004-JUL-29.
  18. "Serbia/Montenegro: 'Discriminatory' religion bill," Forum 18 News Service, F18News, 2004-JUL-30, at: http://www.forum18.org/

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Copyright © 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-JUL-24
Latest update: 2004-JUL-29
Author: B.A. Robinson

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