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Center for Reduction of Religious-Based Conflict- Fall Update-2010

Center for Reduction of Religious-Based Conflict- Fall Update-2010

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Published by Jaakko Wallenius
Center For Reduction of Religious-Based Conflict - fall update 2010
Center For Reduction of Religious-Based Conflict - fall update 2010

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Published by: Jaakko Wallenius on Sep 30, 2010
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09/30/2010

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CENTER UPDATE
“Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the onlything that ever has.”
- Margaret Mead
Vol. X No. 3 Fall 2010
FROM THE DIRECTOR 
 
A
question that frequently is asked at our lectures and seminars is “how can we not have religious- based conflict when there are so many different religionsin the world and when many of them have as their basicdogma that their religion is the only correct religion?”.This is certainly a fair concern. And, it is clear that anytime anyone or any religion states that “we are right andanyone who doesn’t agree with us is wrong” the potentialfor conflict is there. Thus, the question: why are there somany conflicting religions? This is because the peculiar tendencies with which a person is born must remain withhim, and, in most cases he is destined to follow thetendencies peculiar to himself. Thus the chief reason whythere are many religions in the world. So, people withdifferent tendencies will have different cosmic views -each following those tendencies peculiar to himself -necessitating more than one religion on our planet. Howdo we get around this? How do we avoid - or at least,reduce the potential for such conflict that this brings?There is only one way of which we are aware at present -the Center way - education, beginning at home, teachingchildren to
de-emphasize
religious differences whilelearning to find those common threads of similarity whichall religions have (see our new Brochure,
CommonThread Number One
). Though this is long-term it isnecessary if we are to reduce religious-based conflict. Asfar as we are aware, there are no practical short-termmeasures which can accomplish this.
 ___________ 
ITS THAT TIME OF THE YEAR AGAIN
Y
es, it is that time of the year when we ask youto help us continue with our urgent work - to support theCenter by making a gift of your choice. As regular readers know, we make this request only once a year, notevery week as, for example, many houses of worship do.While you are free to donate to the Center at any time -either by mail or online - it is this one time of the year that allows you to plan your annual gifts and to positivelysupport our unique cause. As you know, the Center existsand functions only because of people like you. Withoutyour support, we cease to function. 
W
hat do we do with your donations? What wedo not do is pay salaries or other compensation to our Trustees, Officers and other staff. We are all volunteers.Likewise, we have no professional fund solicitors. So, if your donation is to our Operational Fund, you can restassured that ALL of the money you donate goes directlyfor the purpose intended, namely for the Center to perform its work of publicizing the problem of religious- based conflict to the world, explaining its causes as wellas the terrible costs to all - even to those not directlyaffected - and offering the way forward, past what has been, until now, the so-called solution of tolerance. Weshow how to go beyond tolerance and why.
Y
our support not only pays the normal, day-to-day bills of rent, utilities, office supplies, maintenance,etc., it also allows us to publicize our work via the variousmedia, to give lectures, to attend conferences as speakersor panel members. As we go forward, it will among other things, assist in bringing in research and technicalexperts, hire qualified staff, develop a more advancedwebsite, as well as travel for research and investigation,all to better bring our important message to the world.
!
O
n the other hand, should you desire to donateto our Endowment Fund, such donation will providelonger term financial security and certainty to the Center.In accordance with accepted and standard norms, themonies from the principal of our Endowment Fundcannot be spent, only any proceeds (i.e. interest,dividends, etc.) can be used for operational purposes.Thus, in this case such donation provides the building block for financial credibility and permanency. 
 
S
o, please help us with our efforts to reducereligious-based conflict. Make your tax-deductibledonation to the Center today. And be sure to designatewhether you want your donation to go to the Operationalor Endowment Fund. Thank you!
!!
 
Terry O. Trowbridge 
HOTSPOTS
Iran
 
S
even Baha’i leaders faced the final hearing of their trial in Iran which began on January 12
th
last withthe final hearing taking place on this past June 14
th
. Theyhad been charged with espionage, propaganda activitiesagainst the Islamic order, and “corruption on earth”,among other allegations. The Iranian governmentconsiders Baha'is to be apostates from Islam and barsthem from openly practicing their faith. Baha'is havefaced discrimination in higher education and many areasof employment. Since the establishment of the IslamicRepublic in 1979, security forces have arbitrarily arrestedand detained hundreds of Baha'is on purported nationalsecurity charges. 
T
he conclusion of this trial coincided with thefirst anniversary of the country’s contested presidentialelection. Though there has been much secrecy, the judge,Judge Mohammed Moghiseh, has apparently sentencedeach of the defendants to 20 years in prison. The United Nations’ Office of the Baha'i International Community inGeneva reported that on August 9 authorities transferredthe seven from Evin to Raja'i Shahr (also known asGohardasht), a prison 20 kilometers west of Tehran. 
B
efore their imprisonment, Fariba Kamalabadi,Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie,Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahmattended to the spiritual and social needs of Iran’s Baha’icommunity, which numbers more than 300,000.
 Northern Ireland
J
uly 12 is an important day in Northern Ireland -for both the Roman Catholics and the Protestants. Itmarks the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690which commemorates the victory of Protestant KingWilliam of Orange over the army of Catholic King JamesII. Even though there was a “peace agreement” betweenthe two rivals in March, 2007, the violence persists -especially every June 12
th
. This year was no exception. 
T
he violence in working-class Catholic parts of Belfast and other towns came both before and after tensof thousands of Protestants of the Orange Order  brotherhood marched at 18 locations across NorthernIreland in an annual show of communal strength. It wasthe worst rioting in Belfast since the same event exactlyone year ago. 
P
oliticians and police commanders said therioters, influenced by Irish Republican Army dissidentsopposed to compromise, were chiefly motivated to attack the police themselves. IRA dissidents have focused inrecent months on trying to lure police into ambushes,until now with little success. 
T
he Northern Ireland police commander, Chief Constable Matt Baggott, released video of Monday'srioting in two parts of Belfast captured by surveillancehelicopters. The footage showed hundreds of maskedteens and young men swarming and pummeling policearmored vehicles and swinging clubs at ranks of shield-wielding police while the officers stood their ground or retreated slowly.
 
!!!!
 
POTPOURRI
(
What you may not have read or heard in the news)
Malmö
 
M
arcus Eilenberg is a Swedish Jew whosefamily roots in Malmö run deep. His paternalgrandparents were Holocaust survivors who found shelter in this southern Swedish city in 1945. His wife's parentsfled to Sweden from communist Poland in the 1960s. Now the 32-year-old law firm associate feels the welcomefor Jews is running out, and he is moving to Israel withhis wife and two children in May. He says he knows atleast 15 other Jews who are leaving for a similar reason. 
 
 
T
hat reason, he says, is a rise in hate crimesagainst Jews in Malmö, and a sense that local authoritieshave little desire to deal with a problem that has exposeda crack in Sweden's image as a bastion of tolerance and ahaven for distressed ethnic groups. Anti-Semitic crimesin Europe have usually been associated with the far right, but Shneur Kesselman, an Orthodox rabbi, says the threatin Sweden now comes from Moslems. "In the past fiveyears I've been here, I think you can count on your handhow many incidents there have been from the extremeright," he said. "In my personal experience, it's 99 percentMoslems."
!!!!!
 
COSTS
A
s those of you who periodically visit our website know, we have a digital counter there whichshows the financial costs of the Iraq/Afghan conflicts tothe United States alone as they occur; and are conflictswhich are listed as two of our Hotspots of religious-basedconflict. In the Afghanistan conflict, the USA alonespends more than $250 billion a year including militarycosts and civilian aid. While this figure, which changes by the second, may not be 100% accurate, and whilesome may disagree with its totals or the way they arecalculated, it is fair to say that the figure is an astonishingone and certainly, in general, adequately reflects the coststo the United States alone of this one out of manyconflicts. As of September 1
st,
, 2010 this cumulative costto the United States alone was more than $743 billion, upfrom $714 billion in April, 2010.
ABOUT THE CENTER 
 
W
hat the Center, as a totally independentinstitution, does is unique. No other such organizationhas as its sole goal the reduction of religious-basedconflict through a practical and specific approach whichgoes beyond tolerance. We believe this problem is larger than religions themselves, not within their total control,and cannot be solved by them alone. They need our help. Non-believers and governments alike must work tosupport them in this effort. 
I
n this respect, the Center’s primary mission iseducation. To educate, we must first publicize the problem of religious-based conflict and show how itaffects all of us - either directly or indirectly; either  physically or financially - and in many instances, both.We then educate by offering an approach towards itsreduction not heretofore recognized, showing how wemust go beyond tolerance, the current mantra for its so-called resolution, if we are to succeed. We describe thisstep in practical, realistic, not altruistic, terms.
T
he Center does not purport to be able to
resolve
 this problem; rather we show how the people and their governments can approach it and eventually cause changein the direction of its reduction. Since humans areimperfect, we cannot expect to totally resolve the problemof religious-based conflict, but we can, through thismethod, substantially reduce it - to at least manageable proportions.
Y
ou can help reduce religious-based conflict inthe world – probably more than you think you can. Eventhough individuals have limited power when acting alone,when they act as part of a group with a common purpose,this power increases geometrically. By supporting theCenter – morally, actively or financially, you do just that – have more impact. For those of you who provide youmoral support, we thank you. For those who either asformal Volunteers or as individuals discuss with othersthe Center’s work, we cannot be more appreciative. For those who have the financial means and make charitablecontributions, we are forever grateful to you.
O
ur cause is unique. Our message is spreadingdaily to more and more people and governmentsthroughout the world. Our work continues to receive praise from those who know of it.
B
ut we must reach more people and moregovernments in order to increase our impact. And in this process, we must not only publicize the problem of religious-based conflict, as well as its astonishing andgrowing costs to us all; but we must also explain whytolerance is not the answer to this problem. And, finally,we are leading the way towards
educating 
the people andtheir governments, showing them
how
to attain this goalwith a practical and realistic plan.
T
his, in brief, describes who we are and how wework to achieve the crucial goal of reducing religious- based conflict in the world.
 

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