Religious Diversity News

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Muslim Schools Win Zoning Battles in Virginia and California

Source: The Washington Post

On February 12, 1998, The Washington Post reported that the Loudon
County Planning Commission voted unanimously on February
11 to recommend approval of a Muslim school project in
Virginia. The Post reports that the project had
“drawn fierce opposition from some residents who say they
fear it will attract terrorists. Members of the
commission said they had considered residents’ concerns
about the proposed school, but had to base their decision
on land-use issues. “I wouldn’t do anything that
jeopardizes anybody’s safety,” said commission member
Robert F. DuPree Jr. “I’ve looked at this one, and I just
don’t see it as a threat. It’s a school.”
In California’s Silicon Valley, after a four-year
legal struggle with LSI Logic Corporation, the city
council of Santa Clara granted a use permit to Granada
Islamic School. The school is affiliated with the Muslim
Community Association of the San Francisco Bay Area
(MCA), and is adjacent to the community’s large and
active masjid.

Controversy Over All-Faiths Chapel at Chapman University

Source: Orange County Register

On February 27, 1998, Chapman University will hold a
“ground blessing” for the planned $5 million Wallace All
Faith Chapel. An article from the Orange County
on February 9, 1998, entitled
“All-faiths Chapel Coming to Chapman,” describes the
innovative design plans which will make the worship space
equally suitable for use by all of the thirteen faith
groups on campus. However, as the February 27, 1998
article in the same newspaper, “New
Chapel No Blessing to Some” describes, within yards
of the ground-blessing for the chapel will be a protest
by some local Christian Churches to protest the inclusion
of non-Christians.

All Faith Service at University of San Diego

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported in their
February 7, 1998 edition on the fifth annual celebration
of religious pluralism at the University of San Diego’s
“All Faith Service.” The service, which was started in
1993 by Monsignor I. Brent Eagen as a way of honoring the
city’s diversity, took place at the Immaculata Church on
the campus of the Roman Catholic University.

Tustin Marine Facility Serves a Prayer Hall for Eid al-Fitr in Orange County, California

Source: Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times and The Orange County
reported on the use of the Tustin Marine Corps Hangar
on January 29, 1998 by Orange County Area Muslims celebrating Eid al-Fitr.
This creative solution to the problem of finding a place for some 11,000 local Muslims to pray was the result of an interfaith effort. The Register‘s article from January 30 is entitled “Hangar Has Plenty of Room for Prayer.” The February 7th L.A. TImes article, “Rite at Base May Bring New Respect for Islam,” details how the interfaith effort came together and suggests that, despite many acts of religious bigotry against Muslims in America in recent years, this event “may signal the start of an era of greater tolerance and respect for Islam in America.”

New Jain Temple Projects in California, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York

Source: Jain Digest

“The Jain Center of
Northern California
(JCNC) celebrated the Bhumi Pujan
ceremony on a rainy morning of November 15, 1997, with
great devotion, splendor, and gaiety. The event marked an
auspicious beginning of the construction of the first
Jain Bhawan in the San Francisco Bay Area. … The JCNC
intend to build a unique landmark for Jains across the
United States, Canada, and the rest of the world.”

New Jain Temple Projects in California, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York

Source: Jain Digest

“Jain Center of New Jersey (JCNJ) has signed a
contract for the purchase of a property in Edison, New
Jersey. The property is an existing 26,000 sq. ft. single
story building located on 8 acres of land. Site plans
have been submitted to the Edison Township for approval.
… The existing building will be improved and expanded
to house temples in Shwetamber and Digamber traditions,
prayer halls for Sthanakvasi and Srimad Rajchandra
traditions, an Assembly Hall and a Dining Hall.”

New Jain Temple Projects in California, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York

Source: Jain Digest

“The Jain Center of Greater Detroit celebrated a brick
laying ceremony at their temple site on Saturday,
September 27, 1997. The Detroit temple is under
construction and the society wanted all of their members’
participation in giving a symbolic hand in building the
“Jinalaya.” … During the ceremony, over 160 families
(more than 400 individuals) had an opportnity to place a
brick on the northwest corner wall of the temple in