Scholars Visit Utah to Study Religious Diversity

Scholars Visit Utah to Study Religious Diversity

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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- Seventeen Fulbright scholars from countries such as Bangladesh and Brazil, Cameroon, the Czech Republic, India, Indonesia, Slovakia and Spain arrived today to see religious diversity firsthand.

Unlike most nations, where a single religion dominates every aspect of public and private life, America boasts more than two thousand faith traditions vying for members and respect.

It's a political experiment that intrigues many foreigners.

Utah may seem an odd place to study diversity, given the fact that this state has a dominant religious majority -- much like many of the scholars' home countries.

But group leader Wade Clark Roof says Utah's small Mormon empire is set in a pluralistic nation.

Roof directs the University of California, Santa Barbara's summer workshop on American Religious Pluralism and Public Presence. He says the very idea of religious pluralism is baffling for many of these participants, especially Muslims.

He says that's because they don't see anything like it in their countries.

The six-week course is funded by the Fulbright American Studies Institute of the U-S State Department.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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