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tv   Religion Ethics Newsweekly  PBS  January 18, 2015 4:30pm-5:01pm EST

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♪ coming up -- in the wake of the paris terror attacks, muslims respond to renewed debates about islam and extremism. also, as martin luther king day approaches, judy valente on pastors in ferguson, missouri trying to overcome. and, fred de sam lazaro on new life and good karma for the disabled in india. major funding for religion and ethnics newsweekly is provided by the lily endowment. dedicated to its founders
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interest in religious, community development and education. additional funding also provided by mutual of america. designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. >> welcome. i'm bob abernethy. it's good to have you with us. the international community continued to mourn the victims of last week's terror attacks in paris amid concern about growing hostility toward minorities. in france, security officials guarded synagogues and tried to assure jews that they are safe. in many quarters, there is renewed debate about islam and extremism. many muslim groups condemned the violence, but also urged more public respect for religion. pope francis waded into the controversy, saying while no one should ever kill in the name of god, people also should not provoke or insult the faith of others. many muslims expressed alarm
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about anti-islamic sentiment in parts of europe. in germany, record numbers attended anti-muslim protests, outpacing a separate rally organized to show interfaith solidarity. joining me now are kim lawton our managing editor and haris tarin, director of the washington office of the muslim public affairs council. haris, welcome back here. what has this week meant for muslims in this country? >> well, what i think that it's done is that it's reignited the debate around islam and violence again. and american muslims are having to come out and say that this type of violence and extremist ideology does not represent who they are or what they believe or even the 1.6 billion muslims across the world who practice their faith peacefully on a daily basis. >> but are there specific responses? are there, you know, practical things that the u.s. muslim community can do within this environment? >> there are. the first thing that the american muslim community can do is engage fellow citizens,
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really understand, really help people understand who they are, what they believe, and where they're coming from. there's a lot of misunderstanding. four out of ten americans only know a muslim. if that number increases, i think the misunderstanding, the misinformation, will also decrease. >> is there something that you can suggest here that the united states government can do to wipe out or control the people doing this violence? >> well, i think the first thing that the government can do is build partnerships with muslim majority countries who are addressing this issue and muslim groups who are really addressing this issue, because the primary victims of violent extremism are muslims themselves. people who are being killed, over 90% of them are muslims themselves. >> and can muslims themselves take care of the people doing these terrible things? >> well, they're on the front lines. you know, in pakistan alone, over 50,000 -- >> but are they effective? are they doing it? >> they are, i think they're dying on a daily basis and
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they're doing it. and they're the only ones that can actually win this battle because it is about an extremist ideology that they are going to have to stand up against. so in places like syria, iraq, pakistan, afghanistan, they're the ones who are taking on the fight and dying, and it's working. and there's muslim scholars who are coming out on a daily basis and pushing back against this ideology. >> how is the situation in the u.s. different from what we're seeing in europe where we're seeing a real heightening of all these tensions? >> well, i think in american, there's a different model of engagement and integration. american muslims are demographically more integrated socioeconomically, they're engaged in the civic political process a lot more. and there's more institutions that are doing the type of work of integrating into the civic and political process in america. >> and we've seen renewed debate about insulting religions and whether there should be laws that outlaw defamation or blasphemy. where do you come down, because a lot of muslims support that kind of thing?
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>> i think our perspective and the islamic principles of this is that there should be no laws. the quran actually challenges the opponents of the prophet to debate him, and the quran quotes them saying "madman" and "magician," people were calling him these types of names. but the quran does not in any way sanction violence or any type of retribution for that. >> and do you see though, this, what is your message to your fellow muslims around the world who are pushing to say, "we shouldn't insult religion?" >> the message is engage in debate. the best type of response is discourse, debate and conversation, not any type of violence or action. >> thanks to haris tarin, and to kim lawton. in other news, in nigeria, the islamic militant group boko
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haram has reportedly carried out a gruesome massacre in several northeastern villages. amnesty international said the attacks killed hundreds of people and displaced thousands more some of whom continued to flee this week. religious groups were among those raising concerns that too little attention has been paid to these victims. pope francis began his trip to asia this week in sri lanka, where he received an enthusiastic welcome. in multiple addresses, he emphasized the need for interfaith dialogue to move forward after the country's 30-year civil war. francis also visited a buddhist temple, becoming the second pope ever to do so. he then continued on to the philippines, where he is focusing on the plight of the poor and recovery from natural disasters. here at home, the u.s. supreme court heard arguments in a dispute over church signs that advertise sunday services.
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the good news community church of gilbert, arizona says a town ordinance unfairly limits how large its signs can be and how long they can stay up restrictions that don't apply to others, such as politicians and real estate agents. also this week the court decided friday that it will take up the issue of same-sex marriage this spring. a group of prominent christian leaders is challenging potential presidential candidates to make ending hunger and poverty a priority. ahead of president obama's state of the union address tuesday, the leaders cited recent u.s. census data, saying that more than 45 million americans live in poverty. the group was convened by a coalition of christian denominations and agencies called the circle of protection. a christian missionary doctor who recovered from ebola returned to liberia this week.
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dr. rick sacra contracted the disease there in august while working with the group s.i.m. sacra said he wanted to go back to help his colleagues in an overburdened hospital. he won't be working in the ebola ward, even though doctors say he's now immune. sacra said he isn't anxious to test that immunity. on the eve of martin luther king day, monday, judy valente reports on pastors in ferguson, missouri, trying to heal their community's persistent racial division. one minister tells her the protests will stop when reform begins. >> reporter: reminders of turmoil still mark the streets of ferguson. memorials left at the site where an unarmed african american teenager was shot last summer by a white police officer. buildings, burned or vandalized during the sometimes violent protests that followed both the
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shooting and a grand jury's decision not to indict the officer involved. barricades surrounding the ferguson police department. but as this traumatized city prepares for the national martin luther king holiday, there are also signs of hope several months after michael brown's shooting, ferguson remains a city searching for healing. through a variety of initiatives, some church leaders are trying to become bridge builders. >> when i came to prayer one morning, the thought occurred to me that ferguson has become the new bethlehem, where jesus leans into our humanity once more. >> reporter: as a young seminarian in the sixties, father robert rosebrough marched against segregation with civil rights activists in downtown st. louis. now the pastor of blessed teresa of calcutta parish not far from where the shooting occurred, "father rosy" as he's known, says it's time to complete dr. king's vision.
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he notes that laws changed during the 1960s, but not necessarily, hearts. >> we have not seen each other as brothers and sisters, working and walking together as one family. >> reporter: you have challenged your congregation to go on a three-year process. >> yes. >> reporter: what are you asking them to do? >> i'm asking them to risk and share their vulnerability. >> reporter: a key word these days in ferguson is "dialogue." >> for example, have you ever been told you can't live someplace? have you ever been told by your parents here's how you act before a policeman? all those kinds of conversations that we as caucasians don't ever face, and need to hear the other side of the story. >> reporter: across town at st. john's united church of christ, reverend starsky wilson presides over a congregation that is 75% black and 25% white. >> when you look out on the
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streets and protest lines you see a very diverse community working together acting together. >> reporter: st. john's was a host church for the "black lives matter freedom riders" who came from twenty states last fall to lead peaceful demonstrations. several st. john's members are now trained in techniques of non-violent protest. reverend wilson is also vice chairman of the ferguson commission, a group appointed by the governor and tasked with addressing the more complex issues of poverty, lack of affordable housing and educational opportunity in the african american community. >> we recognize that what we saw on august 9th was an exposure of the socio-economic challenges, the deep divisions that persist in our community and that is gonna require a longer-term commitment. >> reporter: another issue -- revamping community policing. >> so more training on some of these things around use of force and community relations i think would be helpful for our police. it would be helpful for our entire community. more oversight in municipal
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courts is something i think needs to come out of the commission because we recognize that police in small communities are used as revenue generators. >> reporter: while the street demonstrations increased tensions, especially those that turned violent, reverend wilson says they are a spark for igniting change. >> the critique of someone else's tactics based upon one's own desired behavior, or one's own principles of behavior, is the essence of privilege. work through the system. register to vote. run for office. these are all things that work really well for middle class people who are in the mainstream in america, but they don't work very well for 18 year-olds who are poor, who come out of an unaccredited school district in ferguson, or the many fergusons throughout this country. people ask me when do you think the protest are gonna stop? and my answer is that the protests will stop when reforms
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begin. >> reporter: the reverend mike trautman, pastor of the first presbyterian church, says the turmoil was a wake up call for many in his congregation who chose to live in ferguson because of its diversity. >> the people who stayed here stayed because there was something they gained from being in a racially mixed community. i began to reach out to many of my african american colleagues. because i needed to listen to their story. i needed to listen to their, what they were talking about and it was amazing to me that, to listen to how many of them are people of means and education, who are treated like strangers in their own community. >> reporter: reverend trautman is a founding member of community group formed since michael brown's death called "one ferguson." >> here is kind of an opportunity a living
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laboratory by which we try intentionally to work through toward that beloved community that dr. king invited us to. >> reporter: trautman says his church has received expressions of support for the people of ferguson from presbyterians all over the country like this handmade chain of 1,300 paper cranes, from a congregation in california. the cranes are symbols of peace. what about the police, their needs? that's a question that concerns deacon mark byington of the catholic archdiocese of st. louis, who is himself a former dallas police officer. >> the common phrase that i continually heard was "us and them." us and them. within the faith community, it's "we." and that if i see you're a creation of god and i'm a creation of god, well then, i can't do anything in a sense willfully to harm you. >> reporter: byington plans to lead a non-denominational weekend of reflection for area police officers at this jesuit retreat center overlooking the
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mississippi river. >> i really hope to help officers come back to center so they have peace in their own selves. >> reporter: byington says the retreat will provide officers with what no amount of training at the police academy can give -- silence, solitude and a chance to process their feelings. >> the key thing for those three things is silence, to get rid of all the noise that goes on and if you've ever ridden in police car, a squad car or a unit, you'll understand that it's constant noise, the radio, the car itself, you're working with a partner you're continually having to dialogue with, there's no time in a sense to think. >> reporter: sergeant trevor wild is a 19-year-police veteran. last august, he was called in from nearby franklin county to help in ferguson. >> you know, rocks and bottles and things, and everything was in such a melee it was hard to discern one thing over the other.
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personally, i'm in uncharted waters. you know, i've never experienced anything in my law enforcement career like we, like you know, the protesting. >> reporter: so far, 40 police officers from among hundreds who serve ferguson and the surrounding jurisdictions have expressed an interest in deacon byington's retreat. >> i think that the nucleus of people will draw more people. and i think it will take off because stress accumulates and this is a way to get rid of that. >> reporter: back at st. john's united church of christ, reverend starsky wilson still worries that all of these efforts won't be enough unless additional churches get involved. >> across the country, even with the faith leaders who are engaged, they still find themselves, we still find ourselves, at a minority, and
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that's for black and white churches, to be clear and to be fair. >> reporter: on a positive note, reverend wilson says the role churches have played is making an impression on young demonstrators who may previously have had no experience of church. >> i now hear young people who don't come to church and i see in a 140 characters or less on twitter them speak about jesus as a radical revolutionary cat who would be standing with them in protest. >> reporter: in his famous letter from birmingham's city jail, written in 1963, dr. king said some communities mistake a lack of tension for a kind of negative peace. he equated true peace with the presence of justice. it is that true peace many in ferguson are seeking. for "religion and ethics newsweekly," i'm judy valente.
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finally, we have a special report today from fred de sam lazaro on jaipur foot, a facility in india where disabled people -- up to 25,000 a year -- can get free artificial limbs. overcoming disability can open up opportunity for work and education. it is also seen as great karma. >> reporter: jaipur is one of india's top tourist destinations but not far from its architectural landmarks is a far more modest one that draws a whole different kind of visitor. they come, literally, on hands and knees to an organization commonly known as jaipur foot. >> every year we are fitting anything between 23,000 to 25000 limbs. >> dr mehta began offering
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artificial limbs and other services to physically disabled people nearly 40 years ago after suffering a broken leg that nearly had to be amputated after a car accident. a 74-year-old former top bank regulator, mehta says the experience sensitized him to the plight of millions in this country who lack good orthopedic care. desperate people like zareena, a widow who said she is reduced to panhandling to support her two children. where are you coming from? >> bombay. she has come from a place near bombay. >> reporter: bombay -- a long, long way. >> she has come to get a hand-pedals tricycle. >> you are the answer to my prayer. >> reporter: she's one of at least 5.5 million people in india with so called loco motor disabilities, caused in her case by childhood polio. others suffer congenital conditions. but the most frequent customers are amputees, victims of rail or road accidents. they are served free of charge. the organization runs on
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government and foundation grants and its costs -- for a typical lower limb, for example, are miniscule by western standards. >> now it's $50. >> reporter: here's a comparison. in the united states a prosthesis like this would typically range from $8,000 to $12,000. it would be made of metal, aluminum, possibly carbon fiber. whereas in jaipur, the key ingredient is pvc piping more commonly used to irrigate farms. and this is the key to a $50 artificial leg. they're made in simple molding facilities, cut and trimmed by hand. about a third of the workers themselves have jaipur limbs. they are made physically whole again, mehta said, as he asked these amputees to show us by sprinting. >> they can go and work back in their field, factory, or shop. earn their living. they start earning again, they
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acquire social respect and they acquire self confidence again. >> social respect and self confidence are critical in a land where disability carries stigma, seen as bad karma. punishment for one's misdeeds in a previous life, says pooja mukul, an orthopedics specialist at jaipur. >> disability in the west is seen a pure disability you lose a limb met with an accident or went to war or whatever. but here in india, we associate everything with karma. people don't want to be identified as disabled. they want to look normal. they don't want people to know they've lost a limb. dr. mikul says that's especially challenging in amputations above the knee. >> so much so that it's better to lose both the limbs below the knee than to lose one leg above the knee. and the knee has been the weakest link in prosthetic componentry in the developing world. we've had very simple knee
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joints which are single axis, which are more like door hinges and we've been using them largely because of the simplicity, low cost and also non availability of other options. >> reporter: dr. mukul is leading the effort to develop better options, partnering with m.i.t. and stanford university. with animation software typically used in movies they've conducted so called gait analysis to inform the design. >> so this is the first prototype or version one of the polycentric knee that we developed in collaboration with stanford. >> reporter: trials over the past five years with hundreds of patients in india and several other developing nations helped refine the new jaipur knee. >> this had this clicking sound. >> removing, for example, a clicking sound from version one. >> our patients don't want to hear clicks. they don't want to hear a sound
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to precede their entry into an area. so we got a bumper put in here. and now it is silent. also the geometry -- this is very squarish, doesn't match the geometry in any way. this is more like a knee. >> the new jaipur knee specifically tailored for the developing world will be ready for mass production later this year. >> we have tried to marry service with science. that's our motto. >> reporter: that motto was learned early from his mother, he says. >> she felt that, in terms of religion to help others is something that is very good karma. >> reporter: in a country where karma and religious piety are important, the jaipur foot project goes out of its way to display icons from all of india's major religions. a symbol that everyone is welcome. >> this is mahavir. >> reporter: mehta himself is a follower of a jainism, whose ancient guru, mahavir preached among other things that all life and life forms are equal.
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in the modern times, he says, that means restoring not just people's mobility but also their dignity. many who come are also provided means to start a microenterprise, for example -- a sewing machine or more commonly simple kits to start a roadside tea stall. >> every lady knows how to make tea. >> and everybody drinks tea. >> everybody drinks tea. >> reporter: zareena was getting ready to return home. >> having this cycle gives me some freedom now. >> reporter: the tricycle promises relief from severe stress on her arms and legs, she said. >> my neighbors have told me that i can open a small shop, selling little candies, smokes and matches. i should be able to put these children in school. that's all i want. >> reporter: for the first time in a long while, she says, the future they ride into will carry hope for her children.
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for "religion and ethics newsweekly," this is fred de sam lazaro in jaipur, india. 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. there is also much more on our website, where you can listen to or watch every program. join us at pbs.org. as we leave you, more scenes from the pope's trip to asia. ♪
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major funding for "religion and ethics newsweekly" is provided by a family foundation dedicated to religion, community development and education. additional funding also provided by mutual of america. designs customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company.
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>> rose: welcome to the program. i'm charlie rose. the program is "charlie rose: the week." just ahead, a new challenge for counter-terrorism. bill bratton on policing the police. and actor eddie redmayne wins accolades playing stephen hawking. >> what if i reverse time to see what happened at the beginning of time itself. >> wind back the clock. >> wind back the clock. >> keep going. >> i don't know how. >> yet. >> where to? >> rose: we have those stories and more on what happened and what might happen.

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