tv Religion Ethics Newsweekly PBS July 7, 2013 10:00am-10:31am PDT
prepare for ramadan, we have a lucky severson story about american muslims helping people of all religions, or none, on chicago's impoverished south side. >> we want to show as muslims that we are compassionate, where mercy is part of the prophetic model. >> also, fred de sam lazraro explores the difficulties of trying to prevent more factory tragedies in bangladesh. ♪
>> and, a band called heartbeat -- young israeli and palestinian musicians together convinced that music can help bring peace. >> welcome. i'm bob abernethy. it's good to have you with us. major religious groups continued their strong opposition to the requirement that employers provide free contraception insurance coverage under the new healthcare law. the administration has made
changes to the policy to try to accommodate religious objections but a broad coalition, including members of the us conference of catholic bishops and the southern baptist convention, say the policy still violates religious freedom. >> we want people of belief and of conscience to be able to run their businesses and their daily activities according to christian principles should they choose to do so. >> meanwhile, several businesses who also have moral objections have sued the administration over the mandate. an appeals court recently ruled the owners of the arts and crafts store chain, hobby lobby, will not have to pay penalties for not complying with the mandate while they challenge the policy in court. those fines might have been as high as $1.3 million a day. in other news, church files made public this week by the catholic
archdiocese of milwaukee show that priests accused of sexual abuse were often transferred between parishes instead of being removed from the priesthood. the former archbishop of milwaukee timothy dolan, now a cardinal and head of the u.s. conference of catholic bishops, was not involved in that practice but questions have arisen over how he responded to the scandal. the documents confirm that accused priests were paid up to $20,000 to leave the priesthood and that church funds were moved into a trust so the money would be protected from "legal claim and liability." dolan denies any wrong doing. the former president of yeshiva university in new york apologized this week and said he must repent for the way he handled allegations of sexual abuse at the orthodox university's high school. rabbi norman lamm is leaving his
current position as university chancellor. while he was president, several men said they were abused by teachers and employees at the high school. lamm called his decision not to tell police "ill-conceived." as muslims prepare for ramadan this week, we have a lucky severson story today about helping rebuild a destitute community, replacing crime and hopelessness with social justice. it's also a story that might fit somewhere in the argument about whether islam fosters peace or violence. it turns out that there is a strong and influential campaign by muslims on the south side of chicago to help people of all religions, and none, help themselves. >> it's not at all unusual for the call to prayer to be overwhelmed by the wail of a siren, not in this southwestern
chicago neighborhood. it's known as chicago lawn, a tranquil name for a very unsettled place. this is usama cannon. >> there are people who are here who have sleepless nights because their hearts are torn apart by what's happening to the human family. there are people here. >> what's happening to the human family, and more particularly families living in desperate situations, is an obsession of rami nashashibi, a palestinian by birth. it's why he started the inner-city muslim action network, also known as iman, 15 years ago. >> i always kind of had an active bone in me, an activist bone in me, and so i was moved by the framework of islam as a powerful framework for social justice. i was moved by that. >> iman is all about social justice, about providing basic quality-of-life services that make a community a community. it's a big job even for a guy with a doctorate in sociology from the university of chicago. rami has traveled extensively
and didn't become a devout muslim until he moved back home to chicago's south side. this has always been a rough neighborhood. in the '60s, it was white, blue-collar, and home of the illinois kkk. when martin luther king jr. came here in 1966, he and 30 other protesters were injured in a hail of rocks, bottles, and firecrackers. today the community is much more diverse. the kkk is gone. now it's gangs and poverty. few people understand the 'hood more than rafi peterson, who converted to islam while doing time for murder. he was one of the first people rami hooked up with. >> in a neighborhood like this there's nice homes, as you see, but it's also the epicenter of the foreclosure market. there's no unemployment. i mean, there's no employment. there's no youth jobs. they've got over 88,000 young people in this community, and there's not one youth center. that's not the same over on the north side.
>> so iman started its own small version of a youth center. shamar hemphill, in charge of youth programs, calls it a center of peace. >> in a neighborhood that's filled with senseless violence, activities, the threat of gang activity, heavy police presence, we feel that the young people on the south side of chicago, specifically the chicago lawn neighborhood, needs a safe space, an environment where they can grow, develop. >> the kids come in all colors, from all persuasions. >> no, no proselytizing. everything is done through our actions. we want to show as muslims that we're compassionate, where mercy is part of the prophetic model. that, you know, wherever we are we should serve, and we should serve at the best of our actions. we definitely believe that. that's a huge part of our faith. >> there's also the free health clinic under the supervision of dr. altaf kaiseruddin. >> i've had people walk in with, you know, just being bitten by a dog, or just being shot or just being stabbed. yes. we've got that.
>> it's a muslim-run clinic for patients of all faiths, many whose only other recourse is to go to an emergency room. the clinic started at half-a-day a month. now it's five days a week, soon to be seven. >> our population tends to present a little bit later, meaning they come in with a little more advanced stage of disease, because most of the time they didn't know that they had any type of outlet or any type of access that they could get treatment. >> because many convicts convert to islam, those who've served time are of special interest to iman. one program is called green reentry, where volunteers, usually ex-cons, build ecofriendly houses for other formerly incarcerated. rafi peterson heads the program. >> the average statistic shows that the average inmate in illinois recidivate back within three years, 18 months actually. none of our brothers have went back. >> hassan, who helped convert this house and now lives here, has been out of prison from a murder sentence for seven years.
>> our neighbors look at us not as problems in the community, but problem solvers. if something going on on this block, they either going to come and knock on his door, or they're going to come ring my doorbell which is down the street. >> the home isn't just for the asking. much is expected from those who qualify. >> we call it a leadership home. the idea is that they come through, that they see themselves as leaders in the community. you need to be ready to participate and engage with the community. you need to be ready to work with the rabbis, the priest, the imam. >> it's working together with different faith groups in the community that really sets iman apart. >> you know, we've had rabbinical students working with us. we've had sectors of the jewish community come partner with us around housing. we've had sectors of the church that, you know, works across the street. we've prayed in the street together. >> i think iman is making a tremendous difference. this is an on-the-ground organization. they've made it a better community, and the little that they do turns into a lot.
>> rabbi capers funnye recalls the first time he met rami. >> he said, who are you? i said, i'm rabbi funnye. and he said, my name is rami. i run an organization called iman. and he said, man, can i come inside? i said absolutely. so i brought him inside. he said, i've never been in a synagogue before. so he came in, and then he said, do you mind if i call you? i said not at all. a few months later he called. he said rabbi, ramadan is coming up and i was wondering if you would mind hosting the muslims in this community in your synagogue for iftar. and iftar is the prayer we do before we break the fast of ramadan. i said, i don't see why not. >> earlier this year, after the boston bombings, a pew research poll showed that 4 out of
10 americans believe islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence among believers. the people here are very aware of that perception. >> a lot of people will say, well, you always say islam is peace. you always say islam is peace, but we don't see that. this is that in action. >> and if islam is our way of maintaining our dignity and our self-esteem as men and coming back and being good husbands to our wives, good fathers to our children, then maybe america needs to look at it. >> do i believe that there's a problem with some sectors of the community that are vulnerable and susceptible to violence? absolutely. i wouldn't deny that. do i believe that some of those who carry out, like in the boston situation, then find ways of thinking about their faith as a context to justify that? absolutely. i think the largest antidote, cure if you will, to any concern about radicalization and violence associated with it is meaningful, critical engagement.
>> it was violence that eventually led dylan hall to iman. >> i used to be a high school teacher on the west side of chicago, and one of my students was shot and killed, and it was a very difficult experience. >> after a lot of soul-searching he converted from catholicism to islam. >> part of the thing that i like about islam is that it forces me to engage with people of christian faiths, because that's where i come from and just try to change their perspective as well and just say this isn't necessarily a violent religion. >> he was supposed to be receiving his mba diploma from the university of chicago on this day, but chose instead to volunteer for iman's takin' it to the streets 15th annual festival. it's become a chicago tradition drawing entertainers from all over the world and giving the public another view of islam. >> in the very park that king walked, in the very park that, you know, the nazis were rallying in, the very park that in many ways was a symbol of
division, you have this extraordinary coming together. >> iman has become a model for muslims working within the community and with other faith groups. there are now similar programs in other u.s. cities, and rami has become an important voice to many in the muslim world. for religion & ethics newsweekly, i'm lucky severson in chicago. >> we have a fred de sam lazaro story today about the morality of global free trade. in a fiercely competitive world, what is the responsibility of governments, factory owners, american and european companies and consumers to help increase wages and worker safety in a place like bangladesh. >> this is what's left of rana
plaza, the seven-story building that collapsed in april. a memorial, already weathered by heat and monsoons, to the deadliest of bangladesh's recent garment factory disasters. the death toll here -- 1,127 and counting. many victims of the rana plaza tragedy may never be accounted for. more than 200 bodies, some decompod beyond recognition, had to be buried before they could be identified. >> translator: i'm tired. i have no energy to look for her anymore. i don't know where to go. >> an anguished crowd bearing images of loved ones quickly gathered around us. bilquis' daughter shahinoor is among those missing. many here gave dna samples in hopes a match could be found with someone buried. so far, they said, no word and no compensation. >> translator: i had two sons and a daughter-in-law working on
the second floor. we got the bodies of my older son and daughter-in-law but they haven't found my younger son. >> reporter: i don't know about my future. i have no strength. and it is difficult for me to move. i pray to allah. i want a job. i need to start again. >> apparel makers, high fashion and bargain names alike, have been lured here by the low wages. the minimum wage is just $37 a month. in barely two decades, bangladesh has become second only to china in garment manufacturing. but all this has come at huge expense to workers, says nazma
enforcement of safety rules and the suppression of labor unions, issues the u.s. government cited last week as it suspended trade privileges for some bangladeshi imports. the move does not directly impact garments but there's fear it could drive away investors. fazle abed is founder of the bangladesh rural affairs committee, or brac, the world's largest antipoverty organization. >> there is certainly more awareness everywhere that we need to do something very quickly, otherwise bangladesh might lose a lot of business. so that is there among the industry owners. the government is certainly under pressure. >> for its part, the government says it will train 400 new inspectors. it has just 18, over-seeing 5,000 factories, in homes, in rapidly built high-rises like rana plaza. commerce minister ghulam quader
says the industry grew much faster than the capacity to regulate it. and he admits, it didn't really want to regulate much. >> government thought that this is a sector which needs to have some sort of protection, especially -- >> the government favored the manufacturers. >> manufacturers in a way that, yes, so that's why we try to restrict labor union activities. government wanted to see the peaceful development of the sector. >> he says unions will now be allowed a greater voice to help monitor safety, something brac's abed has urged. >> only a couple of months ago, if you asked a garment industry owner what do you think of a union, they will say no, no, no, no unions. but now, many of them are saying that yes, maybe the union is something that we have to accept. >> but factory owner david hasanat says it's western buyers
who really hold the cards and they continue to squeeze local producers. after previous disasters, like a string of fatal factory fires, he says there was talk but no action. >> couple of months, lot of media, international media. believe me, few months later, the customer, they act the same way -- the price, price, price. >> what is your share of this nine-pound price tag? >> roughly, something like two pounds. >> he says there's unrelenting pressure from buyers to cut costs. so many producers cut corners. perhaps a third of dhaka's factories are substandard, he says, and western clients could change this if they insisted on better conditions. >> if there is demand, everybody would set up the right kind of factory because business is not going to reduce. the prices we're offering, we're getting from bangladesh, you cannot get from other parts of the world, you have to come to bangladesh. >> major brand buyers say they
have stepped up their own plant inspections, though none would allow us to go along on a visit. >> you should buy our clothes and pay fair and everybody has the responsibility, the government, manufacturer, retailers, as well as the consumer. >> for all its faults, fazle abed says the garment business remains the best option for poor bangladeshis. >> it's created about four million jobs, almost more than three million jobs for women. so it is very critical. >> he's hopeful the sheer scale of rana plaza will finally force retailers to coax consumers to pay more and require factory owners to both improve pay and safety conditions. for religion and ethics newsweekly, this is fred de sam lazaro in dhaka, bangladesh. >> former congressman william gray died suddenly this week.
gray served in the house of representatives from 1978 to 1991 and was the first african american to be a majority whip. during that time, he was also pastor of bright hope baptist church in philadelphia and traveled home from washington to preach on sundays. gray left congress to lead the united negro college fund. he was 71 years old. in other news, in california, a judge ruled this week that teaching yoga in local public schools does not violate the separation of church and state. parents in the encinitas school district sued over the twice weekly yoga classes, saying that yoga is a religious practice. the judge agreed yoga can be religious, but said the district wide program was secular in nature. he said any religious references had been removed and even the
poses were renamed, lotus pose, for example, became crisscross applesauce. on our calendar this week, as we mentioned, muslims begin the month-long fast of ramadan, when they refrain from eating from sunrise to sunset. and on july 9th, baha'is observe the anniversary of the martyrdom of the báb, a prophet of their faith. john kerry returned this week from the middle east. it was his fifth trip there since he became secretary of state, but there is no sign yet of a breakthrough in israeli-palestinian negotiations. meanwhile, and finally, we take note of a band called heartbeat that was on tour in the u.s. earlier this year. it's made up of young israelis and palestinians, ages 17 to 21, who believe together in the power of music to make possible
peace. ♪ why won't you let this go ♪ i said why won't you let this go ♪ >> so for me, the name heartbeat is because we play to the heartbeat. we are all born with our heartbeat, you know. and it's something that really unifies as human. ♪ >> i have a lot of friends who keep telling me stuff like "eh, it's impossible. peace can't be achieved." i'm asking them, "how many palestinians have you ever met? how many palestinians did you ever talk with? how many palestinians did you ever eat something with?"
every rehearsal we are meeting heartbeat, i experience peace in real life. and when we are now touring in the u.s., we are equal, we have peace. and peace is not only something that the governments will sign on a paper and that's it, we'll have peace. peace can be created through people without any governments getting involved. ♪ >> we all come from different backgrounds, we all come from different societies, from different beliefs. and i'm a muslim, and a lot of people, some are jewish. i actually don't know if anyone is christian. some don't believe. but it's really magical how all of a sudden, music becomes our faith. ♪ >> at shabbat, we sometimes sit
together and bless our food together. so that's how it goes in heartbeat. it's not just a religion and music and a social life, we are equal in everything. >> for me, heartbeat is proof that music can be a common language between different people from different cultures. isn't that beautiful? >> in heartbeat, we respect the religion in the same way we respect life 'cause it's a part of the human fabric. ♪ >> we don't think who's israeli and who's palestinian. it doesn't matter.
the music does something that words can't. >> i'm pretty sure that the majority of the world wants peace and wants to live happily ever after, but it's up to all of us, it's up to everyone. ♪ >> that's our program for now. i'm bob abernethy. you can follow us on twitter and facebook and watch us anytime on the pbs app for iphones and ipads. and visit our new redesigned website, where there is always much more, including audio and video podcasts of this program. join us at pbs.org. as we leave you, more music from
barry: today, on "between the lines," a woman who came into our lives because she is the daughter of a famous family, the daughter of ronald and nancy reagan, patti davis. i'm barry kibrick. now the author of 7 books, patti has carved out a name for herself, but as she says, she is always and forever a daughter. with her book "the lives our mothers leave us," patti shares her story, along with those of many other notable women, to give us an insightful, complex, and ultimately, loving look at the mother-daughter relationship. linda ellerbee: i'm a writer today because i was a reader when i was 11 years old, and it was... deepak chopra: you need not--need--you do not need to prove ur