02 September 2010

Indonesia orders Buddha Bar to shut down

The Central Jakarta District Court has ordered the Buddha Bar in Jakarta to close, finding its name and imagery to be offensive to Buddhists, and specifically the Anti-Buddha Bar Forum. The lounge is part of a French-based chain, each featuring a large statue of the Buddha as a centrepiece.

The owners of the lounge, along with the Jakarta Tourism Agency and Fauzi Bowo, the governor of Jakarta, have been fined a total of Rp 1 billion (Can. $116,933 / €86,595).

Will the Pope be swayed by bus ads?

In the run up to Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Britain, scheduled to take place later this month, a group called Catholic Women's Ordination (CWO) has unveiled a London bus ad campaign that features signs on the exterior of buses saying "Pope Benedict -- Ordain Women Now!"

The campaign cost the CWO ₤15,000 (Can. $24,332 / € 18,003) for a month's worth of ads. Pat Brown, a spokeswoman for the group, said, "We do not want to be disruptive, but I think the church has got to change or it will not survive."

Meanwhile, the Vatican has asked people planning to attend the Pope's public events in Britain not to bring alcohol or musical instruments. On the other hand, flags and folding chairs are encouraged.

The Onion battles anti-mosque prejudice

In an article entitled "Man Already Knows Everything He Needs To Know About Muslims", The Onion pokes fun at most of the arguments being bandied about by the mosque rejection movement.

According to the latest "local man", "All Muslims are at war with America, and I will resist any attempt to challenge that assertion with potentially illuminating facts."

30 Mosques profiles mosque in Utah

Over the years, I've heard lots of stories from Katie about growing up in Utah, in a very Mormon-majority setting. Like the ones where her Mormon friends would disapprove of caffeine, which still makes her dubious about tea and coffee.

Well, yesterday, the 30 Mosques/30 States blog featured a post on the Utah Islamic Center in Sandy, the town where Katie and her family lived for about six years. The article focuses on an interfaith marriage between a Muslim man and a Mormon woman, and makes for thought-provoking reading.

Armstrong on American Muslims

According to Karen Armstrong,

...it was the [Catholic] bishops of the United States who were largely instrumental in pushing forward the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.... American Muslims could exert a similar influence on the Islamic world and prove that it is indeed possible to live according to the ideals of the Quran in the United States. But they cannot do that if they are shunned as potential terrorists and feel constantly on the defensive. It is vital that Western people realize that Islam is not an alien creed but that this tradition is deeply in tune with their own ideals.
What she says sounds very relevant today, given the whole Park51 melodrama. But she wrote these words in 2004, for her foreword to (who else) Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's book, What's Right with Islam: A New Vision for Muslims and the West. In a way it's sad that these words still bear repeating six years later.

Something Even More Magical

In other news...