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Yoga Class Cancelled at University of Ottawa Over "Cultural Issues"
Posted on 2015/11/24 19:52:57 ( 555 reads )


OTTAWA, CANADA, November 22, 2015 (CBC News): A yoga instructor who says her free class at the University of Ottawa was cancelled because of concerns over cultural appropriation believes the student union's issues are misplaced. Cultural appropriation is when a culture that's seen as an oppressor borrows or steals elements of a culture they're oppressing. Scharf said there is also concern over yoga instructors who claim to be experts in the more spiritual aspects of yoga, but aren't.

Jen Scharf said she's been teaching a free yoga class for the university's Centre for Students with Disabilities, which is run by the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, for the last seven years. Scharf says she focuses on the physical benefits of yoga and doesn't play up the spiritual side of it, which she says some instructors can be guilty of. When she checked back in with the center in September, she said she was told by them the class wouldn't be happening because some students and volunteers were uncomfortable with the "cultural issues" involved.

"I guess it was this cultural appropriation issue because yoga originally comes from India," she said on Sunday. "I told them, 'Why don't we just change the name of the course?' It's simple enough, just call it mindful stretching.... We're not going through the finer points of scripture. We're talking about basic physical awareness and how to stretch so that you feel good.

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A Prayer Space Controversy: Student Leaders Discuss Interfaith on Campus
Posted on 2015/11/24 19:52:47 ( 504 reads )


PENNSYLVANIA, November 15, 2015 (Bi-College News): A recent disagreement over the presence of religious statues in the Prayer Room in Aelwyd, the Religious House on Cambrian Row, has led the Interfaith Council of Bryn Mawr College to reexamine the way in which different faith groups could best utilize the non-denominational prayer space.

The Interfaith Council was officially established this year as a way of facilitating dialogue between students of all faith groups and non-faith groups. At the first meeting of the Council, certain groups voiced concern that people might feel uncomfortable worshipping their faith in a space that housed other religious symbols.

According to Kayla Schneider-Smith, one of the Interfaith Student Co-Coordinators, the question arose in response to a Hindu shrine that belongs to the Dharmic Students Association. Schneider-Smith said that the shrine is "very visible" and that groups on campus had "differing perspectives" as to whether the room should be "an interfaith space, where everyone can keep their different symbols of worship and co-exist together, or whether it should be...a neutral space".

Schneider-Smith gives credence to both sides of the discussion. "On one hand, we think, as interfaith coordinators, it's a really moving idea to have a lot of different religions and representations of faith coexist in one room together, because that's what we're trying to promote: interfaith on campus. But on the other hand we want everyone to feel comfortable, that's also our job." She advised those attending the meeting to discuss the issue with their respective groups.

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Hindu Religious and Civil Society Leaders Urge Climate Change Action
Posted on 2015/11/24 19:52:37 ( 561 reads )


UNITED STATES, November 23, 2015 (Press Release): Over 60 Hindu leaders and organisations have signed the Hindu Declaration on Climate Change issued today, calling for action from the world's 900 million Hindus and the 196 governments meeting in Paris from November 30 to December 11 at the 21st Conference of Contracting Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21).

The Declaration is an initiative of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies/Bhumi Project, in partnership with the Hindu American Foundation the interfaith environmental organisation GreenFaith and the interfaith campaign for climate action OurVoices. Signatories from India, EU and North America include the renowned scientist and activist Vandana Shiva, and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. "We are at a historic moment in time, as Hindus worldwide experience first-hand the effects of climate change. Through their religious beliefs, they are recognizing their individual and collective responsibilities to address it." said Gopal Patel, Director of the Bhumi Project.

The Declaration asks the world's 900 million Hindus to transition to using clean energy, adopt a plant-based diet, and lead lives in harmony with the natural world. International and national action must be scientifically credible and historically fair, based on deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through a rapid transition away from polluting technologies, especially away from fossil fuels. Renewable energies are also the best hope for the billions of people without electricity or clean cooking facilities to live better lives and reduce poverty.

The full text is available at source.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/11/24 19:52:26 ( 478 reads )


We who have come from the East here have been told day after day in a patronizing way that we ought to accept Christianity because Christian nations are the most prosperous. We look about us and see England as the most prosperous nation in the world, with her foot on the neck of 250 million Asiatics. We look back in history and see Christian Spain's wealth beginning with the invasion of Mexico. Such prosperity comes from cutting the throats of fellow men. At such a price the Hindu will not have prosperity.
-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, at the Parliament of the World's Religions, 1893

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Madhesi Uprising in Nepal: The Only Solution Lies in Making Constitution Inclusive
Posted on 2015/11/23 19:49:58 ( 683 reads )


NEPAL, November 21, 2015 (Daily Pioneer, editorial by Hari Bansh Jha): The Madhesi uprising cannot be resolved on foreign soil as it is a fight for democracy within the country. Blaming any other country without keeping its own house in order will only complicate the matter. If at all the problem is to be resolved, it would be possible to do so through negotiation with the Madhesi and Tharu leaders.

By imposing economic blockade at the main custom points between Nepal and India in protest against the newly promulgated and allegedly discriminatory Constitution in the Himalayan State, the United Democratic Madhesi Front and Tharuhat Struggle Committee have paralysed the entire economy of the country. People in Terai have been agitating for the last three months to pressure the country to meet their demand for the formation of two undivided federal provinces in the region to preserve their identity. Their other demands include population-based electoral constituencies for Parliament, proportionate representation in the civil services, and the removal of discriminatory clauses in citizenship rules.

As a result of the economic blockade, there has been acute shortage of essential commodities like food, medicine, and cooking gas. The present crisis was caused by a handful of ruling elites of Nepal when they decided to prepare the Constitution on a fast-track basis from June 2015 to serve their vested interests. In haste, the Constitution that could not be drafted in seven long years earlier was "accomplished" in just four months to enable certain people to come to power and retain it for long. In the course of Constitution-making process, the Madhesis, which comprise over half of Nepal's population of 28 million, were deprived of several rights given to others. For centuries, they have been victims of exclusionary policy of the State. Even today, Nepal administration has the least trust in these people, and therefore their presence in various State institutions is pathetically low.

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