Awareness week targets religious intolerance

By Amanda Hunt

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Religions of the world will unite on the UA Mall this week.

Religious Awareness Week, sponsored by the Religious Awareness Club on campus, will consist of several daily lectures and representation of over 20 religious groups. This is the first year for the event.

The topics of the lectures will stem from various religious beliefs, practices and philosophies. The groups that will be represented include several Christian denominations, the Muslim Student Association, Arizona Student Atheists, the Hillel Foundation, the Quaker University Organization and various others.

Booths will be set up on the Mall every day. Lectures will take place from 4-7 p.m. each night in the Harvill Building, Room 302.

Jeff Hardee, the non-student adviser of the club, said this week is an opportunity for the club to exercise its purpose to admonish the "improper perception" students in general have of the entire religious community and "challenge religious ignorance and intolerance through education."

Hardee said one of the biggest problems with having a week dedicated to religion is that students shy away from the topic. The organization is facing "a skittish population" of students, he said.

Rev. Allan Breckenridge, an Episcopal chaplain and chairman of the University Religious Center, said the participators want to use "a broad paintbrush approach" to religion to display the entire picture of various religious communities. Breckenridge said he has worked closely with Hardee in organizing the week's events.

"Respecting other religions doesn't mean you can't make a choice (about what you believe in)," Hardee said.

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