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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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bullet2005-JAN-06: TN: Muslim cemetery in Memphis blocked: Some in the suburban community of Fayette County, TN responded with outrage to a request by a Muslim mosque to build an Islamic cemetery in their area. During a public hearing, one resident said: "We don't need bin Laden's cousins in our neighborhood." Another said: "We know for a fact that Muslim mosques have been used as terrorist hideouts." The latter resident later likened Muslims to Nazis. The mosque withdrew their request. They now have three options: resubmit their application and face the religious hatred of the residents, file a lawsuit, fight it out in the courts, or build a mosque on the land that they own. A mosque would guarantee them the right to build an adjacent cemetery. 16
bullet2005-JAN-11: CA: Religious hate posters removed: A storeowner in Santa Monica, CA, posted signs in her store windows which referred to Palestinians as "Gaza cockroaches," and "scumbag cockroaches descended from the bowel movements of pigs;" to Islam as a "pig faith;" to Arabs as "ragheads;" and to Mexicans as a "third world freak circus." The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) joined with the Coalition for the Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), the South Asian Network (SAN), the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center (LAGLC) the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Progressive Alliance at Santa Monica City College, the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, and the Mayor Pro-Tem of Santa Monica. Although the storeowner initially refused to remove the signs, she finally agreed. Robin Toma, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Commission for Human Relations said: "This is a wonderful victory against hate speech, and one that is especially pleasing for the Commission. One of the primary goals of our Hate Crime Victim initiative is to cultivate greater solidarity among all the diverse communities affected by hate, and this case was a great example of that." 11
bullet2005-JAN-12: UK: Satanist allegedly a victim of a hate crime: Daniel Romano, 20, is a Satanist who has long been harassed for dressing like a Goth. He was allegedly physically attacked by two teenagers who called him a "baby sacrificer" and "hooker killer." They are reported as attacking Romano with a metal club and ice scraper. He required 12 stitches at the local hospital. Two male youths, both aged 18, have been arrested and charged with a hate crime "which carry harsher penalties and are usually leveled when an attack involves a victim's ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation." 12
bullet2005-JAN-13: Russia: Lawmakers call for oppression of Jews: Twenty members of the State Duma -- the lower house of parliament in Russia -- called for the Prosecutor General to outlaw all religious and ethnic Jewish organizations in the country as extremist. Berel Lazar, Russia's chief rabbi, said that lawmakers were seeking support "by playing the anti-Semitic card." Referring to the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Army in 1944, Alla Gerber, head of Russia's Holocaust Foundation, said that it was "horrible that as we're marking the 60th anniversary of this tragic and great day...we can speak of the danger of fascism in the countries that defeated fascism....anti-semitic campaigns are led by all sorts of organizations. The economic situation is ripe for this. An enemy is needed, and the enemy is well-known, traditional." 19
bullet2005-JAN-19: USA: Accusations made against Christian Research Institute (CRI): The Christian Sentinel, a fundamentalist Christian counter-cult group has published an article claiming that a "Federal Criminal Mail Fraud Investigation [has been] Launched Against CRI and Leader Hank Hanegraaff." The Sentinel reports that CRI sent a letter to supporters appealing for financial help. It said that many donations were allegedly routed by the Post Office to another firm and destroyed. According to a copy of the letter on CRI's web site, it says in part: "....please help us catch up! If at all possible, please send a sacrificial gift to help CRI and the Bible Answer Man broadcast keep ministering at the high-impact level to which we are committed. Gifts of $50, $100, or $200 are especially needed, but any amount will help." 17 The appeal letter states that the loss may have amounted to "...hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Sentinel also reports that their contacts in the Post Office said that there is nothing on record in their office about misdirected CRI mail, and that CRI had never complained to them. 13

William Lobdell, a Times Staff Writer wrote: "An executive with the company that Hanegraaff said threw away his ministry's donations said the statements in the fundraising letter were exaggerated. Alan Baron, chief operating officer with On-Target Marketing in Foothill Ranch, said his company received a single tray of the Christian Research Institute's mail and called the ministry the same day to correct the problem. Baron said no mail was thrown in the trash. 'I don't know why this is being blown out of proportion,' Baron said. 'This was a very limited problem, and it was quickly solved'." Paul Young, executive vice president with the CRI said that they were able to recover sufficient envelopes from a trash bin to fill a postal bag.

Hanegraaff has been accused of plagiarism in the past. 14 CRI has also been accused of past financial irregularities, which allegedly triggered an investigation by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). 15 Christianity Today reported that Hanegraaff's salary was slightly over a quarter of a million dollars in 2001. 15 The LA Times reports that the annual donations received by CRI total almost 8 million, and that "During ...2003 at least six [CRI] employees were fired or resigned after complaining about alleged commingling of ministry and personal funds by the Hanegraaffs. Those employees said the ministry routinely used donations to pay for Hanegraaff's personal expenses and luxury items, including a board-approved 2003 Lexus sports car and smaller items, such as repairs to his children's computers and birthday flowers for his mother. Hanegraaff denied any misuse of ministry money, but vowed to tighten accounting procedures." 18
bullet2005-JAN-22 to 24: USA: Observance of the 32nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade: Tens of thousands of pro-life demonstrators marched through Washington DC on JAN-24. Some expressed the hope that President George W. Bush's re-election and increased Republican majorities in both houses of Congress will lead to an overthrow of Roe v. Wade -- the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1973 which made early abortions available across the country. President Bush addressed the group by phone from nearby Camp David. He said "This movement will not fail....This is the path of the culture of life that we seek for our country." He expressed the hope that the continuing debate will "change hearts and minds" of those Americans who still favor abortion access. Senator Hillary Clinton told about 1,000 pro-choice supporters in Albany, NY, that during Bill Clinton's presidency, family planning was a priority and "we saw the rate of abortion consistently fail....Unfortunately in the last few years, wile we are engaged in ideological debate instead of one that uses facts and evidence and common sense, the rate of abortion is on the rise in some states." 21
bullet2005-JAN-27: 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz: The Soviet Army liberated the Auschwitz death camp on 1945-JAN-27. Between 1 and 1.5 million prisoners had been exterminated at Auschwitz; most were Jews. Others were Roma (a.k.a. Gypsies), homosexuals, and persons of various nationalities. Observances are being held around the world to commemorate this event. On 2005-JAN-24, the United Nations held a special session. Elie Wiesel, winner of a Nobel Peace Prize and a Holocaust survivor spoke. Referring to the many smaller-scale genocides that have been committed since the Nazi Holocaust, he said "If the world had listened to those of us who tried to speak, we may have prevented Darfur, Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda." This was a remarkable event, because the Soviet Union had previously blocked any commemoration at the UN. The UN also broke with tradition not allowing prayer at its meetings. The ceremony began with the El Maleh Rachamim, the traditional Jewish memorial prayer. It ended with the Israeli national anthem.  20

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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. "JDL member removes hateful signs from Santa Monica business," Muslim Public Affairs Council, 2005-JAN-11. (Newsletter).
  12. Corey Kilgannon, "Beating of Queens Satanist Prompts Hate Crime Charges," The New York Times, 2005-JAN-12, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
  13. William Alnor, "Federal Criminal Mail Fraud Investigation Launched Against CRI and Leader Hank Hanegraaff. Did the Bible Answerman’s unusual fundraising appeal go too far?," The Christian Sentinel, 2005-JAN-19, at: http://www.cultlink.com/
  14. Robert Bowman, "Is the Good News Bear a Copycat? Hank Hanegraaff and Plagiarism," 1998, at: http://www.atlantaapologist.org/
  15. Marshall Allen, "Christian Research Institute Accused of 'Naïve' Bookkeeping. Report by whistleblowers to Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability prompts CRI employees to reimburse funds," Christianity Today, 2003-JUL-14, at: http://www.christianitytoday.com/
  16. Carrie Kilman, "Muslims Fight for Right to Bury Dead," Southern Poverty Law Center, 2005-JAN-06, at: http://www.tolerance.org/
  17. Hank Hanegraaff, "A letter from Hank," Christian Research Institute, undated, at: http://www.equip.org/abouthank/letter1.asp  This is expected to be a temporary posting. It does not appear to be linked to the rest of the CRI web site.
  18. William Lobdell, "Evangelist Says Offerings Lost in Mail. O.C.'s 'Bible Answer Man' appeals for more funds. Claim is disputed by post office, business," Los Angeles Times, 2005-JAN-23, at: http://www.latimes.com/
  19. Steve Gutterman, "Russians target Jewish groups," Associated Press, 2005-JAN-24.
  20. Nick Wadhams, "Death camp liberation remembered at the U.N.," Associated Press, 2005-JAN-25.
  21. "Anti-abortion demonstrators march through Washington," Associated Press, 2005-JAN-24.

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Copyright © 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2005-JAN-12
Latest update: 2005-JAN-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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