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Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympics: Interfaith considerations

(Olympic Flag)
The Huffington Post reports that the "London Olympics will try to accommodate religious athletes with 193 chaplains, a prayer room in every venue and a multifaith center in the Olympic Village."

According to the BBC, these accommodations grew out of a well-orchestrated interfaith effort.  Reverend Canon Duncan Green, an Anglican Priest, has been at the helm of this endeavor.  Facing such upcoming challenges as Muslims observing the Ramadan fast (which this year coincides with the Olympics scheduling) and
Christians observing the Sunday day of rest, Green began by forming a "faith reference group" composed of representatives from
the following nine religions:  Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Sikhism, the Bahai Faith, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism and Jainism.

Canon Green is delighted that the group's focus has been serving the Olympics rather than just "talking about what we do and don't believe."  The chaplains will be part of any emergency response that is needed.  Other
concerns will also be addressed, such as the opening of predawn dining facilities and the availability of "break-a-fast packs" for those observing the Ramadan fast.

This is not the first time that Olympian efforts have been made to accommodate religious needs.  The Huffington Post reports that in 2008, "Israeli President Shimon Peres received special housing accommodations at the Beijing opening ceremony so that he would not have to drive in a car on the Jewish Sabbath."   

Copyright July 30, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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