About George G. Coe

Who are the Rohingya and Why are They Persecuted


Who are the Rohingya? Why are they persecuted? And who is persecuting them?Who are the Rhoingya?They are a Muslim minority who live mostly in the state of Arakan in Myanmar (Burma). They number about 800,ooo and their ancestors have lived in Burma for centuries, first setttling there in the 1400's. In 1785, Buddhist Burmese conquered Arakan and drove out most of the Rohingya males. In 1826, the British took control of Arakan and encouraged Bengal farmers to migrate to … [Read more...]

Reza Aslan on Religous Violence: The Daily Show


Here, on Jon Stewart's Daily Show, Reza Aslan, author of No God but God, and The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, adresses the issue of violence in Islam and other religions with some interesting observations.Aslan notes that religion is as much about who each of us are as people as it is about what we believe or what rituals we practice. He argues that it's an identity.In addition, he notes that religious scriptures are malleable and can mean anything we want them to mean. For … [Read more...]

America’s First Mosque


Where was America's first mosque built? Chicago, New York? No, North Dakota! KFYR-TV explains.When migrants from Europe, Germany, Lebanon and Syria settled in North Dakota during the turn of the last century, they "worked together to construct churches, synagogues, temples and the first mosque in America."The original mosque was torn down in the 1970's but according to North Dakota State University sociology professor Bill Sherman, the original mosque "was just a plain building, half … [Read more...]

How do Buddhists, Mormons & Sikhs Pray?


For the National Day of Prayer tomorrow, the Washington Post published an interesting story about how people in differnt religions pray. Below are very short clips showing how Buddhists, Mormons and Sikhs pray.These are great for a religions class! … [Read more...]

Mongolian Masks & Buddhist Rituals

mongolian mask

Mongolian masks are used in a Buddhist ritual called Tsam. In Mongolia, where the ritual was introduced in the 18th century, the tsam signifies a dance.According to the Tibetan Mongolian Museum Society, "the word 'Tsam' means a dance of the Buddha (deva) and elements of this dance show as if protectors and deities have physically descended on the Jambudtiva (Southern continent)."The Asia Society says the dances are held around the New Year with the purpose of destroying the evil that had … [Read more...]

Converting to Judaism


Here's an interesting clip from Religion and Ethics Newsweekly about why some people today choose to convert to Judaism and the difficulties they face.Some convert because heir spouse is Jewish and others convert because they think something is missing from their life. One woman noted that she liked that Judaism because it involved action, and not just belief.Converts face a belief among some Jews that converts are not the real thing but, according to a rabbi in the clip, they are 100% … [Read more...]

Arranged Marriages & Online Matchmaking in India

hindu wedding

In a country in which arranged marriages have been the norm for thousands of years, some Indians are starting to use technology to help them find the perfect mate. Online matchmaking sites are becoming increasingly popular, according to this fascinating New York Times story.  As a result, "parents are increasingly  surrendering control." On BharatMatrimony.com, which says it helps nearly 50,000 people in India get married each month, 82 percent of male profiles are posted by the prospective gro … [Read more...]