Thursday, April 24, 2014

USA: Louisiana Lawmaker Scraps Efforts To Make The Bible The Official State Book

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[L]awmakers said it raises questions about whether Louisiana would be violating the separation of church and state. Opponents said it could land the Legislature in a costly lawsuit.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: The Huffington Post / AP
By Melinda Deslate | April 21, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A Shreveport lawmaker is scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.

Republican Rep. Thomas Carmody told the state House on Monday that he wouldn't pursue the measure. He said lawmakers had told him they were worried the bill was becoming a distraction from more important debates, like the state budget.

Carmody had said he sponsored the proposal after a constituent made the request. He insisted the bill wasn't designed to be a state-endorsement of Christianity or a specific religion.

But lawmakers said it raises questions about whether Louisiana would be violating the separation of church and state. Opponents said it could land the Legislature in a costly lawsuit.

USA: Volunteers schedule clean up in Chino and Chino Hills

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The Mormons will be joined by BAPS for the Chino Hills project and the Ahmadiyya Muslims Mosque and Gateway Community Church in Chino.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: Champion Newspapers
By Ahmadiyya Times | April 23, 2014

Volunteers from the Chino stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will participate in the annual “Helping Hands” efforts at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 26 by sprucing up both the Old Schoolhouse in Chino and Hickory Creek between Rolling Ridge Drive and Pipeline Avenue in Chino Hills (meets at the end of Autumn Street).

The Mormons will be joined by BAPS for the Chino Hills project and the Ahmadiyya Muslims Mosque and Gateway Community Church in Chino.

Volunteers from Crosspoint Christian Church will do yard beautification.

The year's project is to  remove the very old asphalt sidewalk around the Old School Museum, smooth the pathway, fill it with gravel, level and tamp it down.

Kenn Rasmussen, an organizer from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said working on the Old Schoolhouse Museum will be a great blessing to the community. "It is also an opportunity to serve together shoulder to shoulder with members of six different faith congregations."

Canada: Point of view - Against extremism | Letter

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The Prophet Muhammad teaches me that loyalty to my country is a part of my faith, and so it sickens me that these extremists delude themselves into believing that this is all "with permission from Allah the almighty," as one Syrian extremist put it.

File photo: Ahmadi Muslims celebrate Canada Day
Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: The Calgary Herald
By Sabahat Ali | April 23, 2014

Re: "Pope's focus on Syria, Ukraine at Easter mass," April 21.

I'm a Canadian Ahmadi Muslim, and proud of it. The word Canadian comes first, because my loyalties lie with this grand nation. The extremist views held by radicals, be they in Syria or Nigeria, are about as Islamic as a Canadian's hesitation to apologize - if not less.

The Prophet Muhammad teaches me that loyalty to my country is a part of my faith, and so it sickens me that these extremists delude themselves into believing that this is all "with permission from Allah the almighty," as one Syrian extremist put it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Perspective: We will not be shaken | Letter

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One way we can remember the victims is to hold a blood drive, and that’s exactly what Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Boston is doing in their honor.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: The Press Enterprise
By Ahsan Jattala | April 23, 2014

Reader Ahsan Jattala says he is still reminded how much the tragedy of the Boston Marathon Bombing affected him, one year later. As a Muslim, he says he is offended that the suspects in the attack claimed that they were Muslim, but did not truly honor the faith. He says this year’s race will be a chance for American’s to show that they will not be oppressed by terrorism.

April 15, 2013, was a day like any other, until I saw a notification that a bombing had occurred in Boston. I read the depressing details and realized how close to the heart this disaster had occurred.

The Boston Marathon bombing tragedy hit rather close to home due to the fact that the bombers claimed they were Muslim and it occurred in my native country, the USA. As a Muslim, this is appalling to me, considering that everything the bombers did were not reflections of Islam in any way. Islam repeatedly states that the killing of innocent people is a major sin, and goes against its teachings of peace.

Indonesia: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Pluralist Legacy in Tatters, Survey Confirms

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“There needs to be more courage shown by the president and his ministers in the future to eradicate these discriminatory bylaws.”

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int'l Desk
Source/Credit: The Jakarta Globe
By The Jakarta Globe | Apr 23, 2014

Jakarta. As Indonesia debates the merits of the three-decade rule of strongman Suharto, the one thing the country seems to agree on is that the dictator fared better on protecting religious freedoms than the democratically elected incumbent, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Fewer that 40 percent of 1,200 Indonesians polled last week said Yudhoyono’s stewardship of the country’s religious pluralism was a success, compared to 45 percent for the late Suharto, according the Indonesian Survey Network, or LSI.

In fact, says LSI researcher Ardian Sopa, Yudhoyono was the worst-scoring president in this regard among the six presidents in Indonesia’s history.

Sukarno, the country’s founding president, came out on top with an approval rating of 65 percent, followed by Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid with 58 percent, B.J. Habibie with 49 percent and Megawati Soekarnoputri with 44 percent.

Canada passes US in middle-class wealth

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According to a New York Times report, the rich in the US are getting richer, but the poor and middle classes are falling behind some of their Western peers.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch |
Source/Credit: BBC News | Echo Chambers
By BBC | April 22, 2014

Last week we noted that a pair of academic researchers said the US was starting to look less like a democracy and more like an oligarchy, where a wealthy elite determines public policy. Here's another bit of cheer in that regard.

According to a New York Times report, the rich in the US are getting richer, but the poor and middle classes are falling behind some of their Western peers.

"Middle-class incomes in Canada - substantially behind in 2000 - now appear to be higher than in the United States," David Leonhardt and Kevin Quealy write. "The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans."

The UK median income is still behind that of the US, but it's catching up fast - a 19.7% increase since 2000. This is the same increase as Canada's, whereas the US number was up by only 0.3%. (It's worth noting that Germany's middle class is also stagnating - at 1.4%.) [ more ... ]

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