First Time That Atheists Are Included in Pope’s Interreligious Talks: News Roundup

In the news this week: the Pope hosts an interfaith dialogue event including non-believers, over 180 Muslim women, who are also community leaders, met in Istanbul, TLC is airing the “All American Muslim” series, and other stories.

When Pope Benedict XVI departs from a seldom-used railway station inside Vatican City on a train taking him to Assisi, he will follow the tricky path of interfaith dialogue first explored by his predecessor, John Paul II.
 
In the central Italian town, the 12th century birthplace of St Francis, the pontiff on Thursday is set to meet representatives of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and the world's other major religions. Kansas City Star
 
Four leading atheist intellectuals will take part in the inter-religious talks in Assisi for the first time in a sign of Pope Benedict's growing interest in dialogue between ''faith and reason''. Sydney Morning Herald
 
On October 24, a ceremony at the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia dedicated the first monument on Chaplains Hill, commemorating 14 Jewish chaplains killed on active duty in America’s armed forces. The Jewish Daily Forward
 
More than 180 Muslim women from 45 countries attended panels and seminars in İstanbul last week focusing on educating and empowering Muslim women and promoting their rights from an Islamic perspective.
 
“There are 750 million Muslim women in the world, and there is no single institution that speaks for us,” said Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA). She said that’s why this conference was organized to bring together powerful Muslim women who are making changes in their communities while working in different professions. Today’s Zaman
 
Individuals who practice religion and spirituality report better physical and mental health than those who do not.  To better understand this relationship and how spirituality/religion can be used for coping with significant health issues, University of Missouri researchers are examining what aspects of religion are most beneficial and for what populations. Now, MU health psychology researchers have found that religious and spiritual support improves health outcomes for both men and women who face chronic health conditions. Health Canal
 
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Department of Justice statistics indicate that complaints of religious harassment in the workplace are on the rise.
 
In fact, according to University of Tennessee professor Rosalind Hackett, religious harassment claims are second only to complaints about sexual harassment. "This is the second most problematic issue in the workplace," she said. Knoxville News Sentinel
 
What's life like as a Muslim-American?
A new eight-part series on TLC that premieres November 13 will try to answer that question by following the lives of five very different Muslim-American families. The show, "All-American Muslim", was filmed in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit that's known for its large Arab-American population. It promises to go "inside the rarely seen world of American Muslims to uncover a unique community struggling to balance faith and nationality in a post 9/11 world," according to a press release. Huffington Post
 
A Florida judge can rely on Islamic law to decide a case involving a local mosque, an appeals court has ruled.
The Florida 2nd District Court of Appeal dismissed without comment a petition to prevent Hillsborough Judge Richard Nielsen from invoking Islamic law, The St. Petersburg Times reported Tuesday. UPI.com