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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-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. 11,12 "...a 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
bullet2004-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." 14
bullet2004-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." 15

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
bullet2004-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 activities." 17

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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. Lisa de Moraes, "Reality TV Goes Amish -- and Amiss," 2004-JAN-19, at:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/
  12. Rob Moll, "Amish in the City: Has Reality TV Gone too Far?," Christianity Today, 2004-19. Online at: http://www.christianitytoday.com/
  13. Bernard Weinraub, "UPN Show Is Called Insensitive to Amish," New York Times, 2004-MAR-4, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
  14. "Statement from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church," 2004-MAR-14, Seventh-day Adventist Church in Central California.
  15. "Kosovo & Serbia: Churches & mosques destroyed amid inter-ethnic violence," News Release, 2004-MAR-18 by F18News at: http://www.forum18.org/
  16. 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.
  17. "Russia: Court bans Jehovah's Witnesses," Forum 18 News Service news release, 2004-MAR-29.

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Copyright © 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-MAR-9
Latest update: 2004-MAR-29
Author: B.A. Robinson

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