Engaging the non-Engaged:Raising Awareness of Religious Diversity in a Secular Society New Zealand Diversity Forum Aotea Centre, Auckland 19 August 2012 todd nachowitz email: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Dept. of Political Science & Public Policy University of Waikato
How ethnically diverse are we? 2006 Census: Pop: 4,027,947 European 67.6% New Zealander 11.1% Maori 14.6% Asian Paciﬁc 9.2% 6.9% MELAA 0.9%
How religiously diverse are we? 2006 Census: Pop: 4,027,947 Other: Baha’i: 2,772 0.07% Object 6.5% Buddhist: 52,362 1.40% Hindu: 64,392 1.72% Not stated Christian 6.7% Islam: 36,072 0.96% 55.5% Jain: 111 0.01% Judaism: 6,858 0.18% Sikh: 9,507 0.25% No religion 34.6% Zoroastrian: 1,071 0.03% Other Other religion: 1.10% 6.6% Don’t know: 1,743 0.05% Outside scope: 30,945 0.83%
Religious Diversity in New Zealand and Future Trends 1956 2006 2026 Pop: 2,174,062 Pop: 4,027,947 Pop: 5,058,200 Christian Christian Christian 87.4% 56.0% 43.4% Other Other Other 44.1% 56.6% 12.6%Religious diversity will continue to increasealong with the rise of secularity
With continued increases in religious diversitythere is an acute need to better educateourselves about the diversity around us…. cultural literacy linguistic literacy religious literacy WHY?...
Gunman Kills 6 at a Sikh Temple Near Milwaukee Sikh Massacre, Oak Creek, Wisconsin, USA, 5 August 2012Although we don’t know for certain the gunman’s motives, thiswas clearly a hate crime directed at the “other”Media often plays a role in our understanding of the “other”...
Time magazine explains how to make arbitrary racial distinctions:Two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Time ran an articleentitled “How to tell your friends from the Japs,” an arbitrary andinsensitive guide on how to differentiate the Japanese from the Chinese. Source: Time Magazine, 22 December 1941
On 6 August 2012, a day after the shooting in a Sikh house of worship, the Chicago Tribuneran a “Turban Primer,” a similarly insensitive guide on arbitrary religious and culturaldistinctions between, essentially, brown people from South Asia and the Middle East... Source: Chicago Tribune, 6 August 2012 This is racial proﬁling, and it only serves to reinforce existing stereotypes
Some obstacles to understanding: media’s portrayal of diversity fear of the unfamiliar fear of being proselytised afraid that we might do something that might offend stigma of being interested in another faith or belief system fear of interfaith from within our own religious cohort … But remember that being familiar with other cultural andreligious communities gives value to our ownHindu Mandir: Sikh Gurudwara: Islamic Masjid:Radha-Krishna Mandir, Hamilton, Hamilton Gurudwara Built 2001 Ponsonby Masjid, Auckland Built 1977 Built 1979
My point:The more diverse society is, the greaterthe need for education about diversity!There are many types of diversity, including ethnic, cultural,linguistic, religious, gender, age, and ability diversities...Education should be about raising our awareness and improving ourliteracy in these diversities.
So what can we do? Article 18: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience andAT HOME: religion. Everyone has the right to educate ourselves. Read about practice a religion. Everyone also has the right to not practice a religion.”other faiths and belief systems get acquainted with the UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights read the HRC’s “Statement onReligious Diversity” share experiences! invite friends of other faithshome to share in our holiday feasts have interfaith pot luck meals start an interfaith book club learn another language expand your comfort zone!
AT WORK: work on a project with a colleagueof another faith get to know your workmates better accept those with different beliefs support all types of diversity in theworkplace, including gender, sexualorientation, religious, linguistic, age,and ability read and share the Human RightsCommission’s booklet entitled“Religious Diversity in the NewZealand Workplace”
IN OUR COMMUNITIES: take friends of other faiths to your own place of worship visit the places of worship of faiths other than your own get involved with your local interfaith council OR start one yourself write letters of support for other communities in times of need organise public talks with multiple perspectives to improve religious literacy show movies & docos that educate about diversity & the perspectives of others organise community bus tours to visit a variety of houses of worship engage your religious leaders on interfaith issues organise an interfaith tree planting involve youth!
Engagement also means working with our politicalrepresentatives & elected ofﬁcials on diversity issues engage in civic & political activities that foster peace greater civic & political participation can make a difference become familiar with the stances of your elected ofﬁcials ensure that elected ofﬁcials do not advocate for policies thatendanger the rights of minority populations communicate your opinions on policy issues to elected ofﬁcials hold your elected ofﬁcials accountable to the people in yourcommunity
REMEMBER: embrace diversity! mere tolerance of difference is not enough. be actively engaged!
Engaging the non-Engaged:Raising Awareness of Religious Diversityin a Secular Society New Zealand Diversity Forum Aotea Centre, Auckland 19 August 2012 todd nachowitz email: <email@example.com>Dept. of Political Science & Public Policy University of Waikato