With recent national turmoil and controversy surrounding the construction and expansion of various mosques, churches, temples and cultural centers, some Americans of various faiths now consider cultural tolerance a major criterion for relocation. People look for this community feature for several reasons: wishing to teach tolerance to children, the desire to interact with a diverse community and the ability to practice any faith freely.
In New York and New Jersey, diversity is most widely seen in cities. Though Manhattan is at the center of the mosque controversy, it’s also home to multiple religious centers of multiple faiths, usually attended and recognized without controversy and conflict.
Philadelphia, New Jersey’s urban neighbor, also includes a variety of religious institutions. Many of them are historically relevant, such as St. Augustine, a Catholic church that has traditionally served immigrant communities. The Daily News also indicates Philadelphia’s comparatively-high tolerance of the Islamic faith and the city boasts a strong Jewish community as well.
This article suggests that suburbs of Philadelphia, including those in New Jersey, retain higher amounts of tolerance to a variety of beliefs and individuals. This is particularly promising as many Pennsylvanians and New Jerseyians who live so close to I-95 or public transportation commute to New York City-some even directly affected by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Families looking for communities with religious tolerance in New York and New Jersey may run into difficulties. Due to real estate laws protecting individuals against discrimination in housing, real estate agents cannot discriminate against properties or neighborhoods based upon race or religion. This law is in place to safeguard the public against discrimination in real estate transactions.
This means you’ll have to do research of your own if you’re interested in living in a multi-faith or tolerant community. When you identify potential communities that match your hopes for a future residence, provide a list to your real estate agent. You can search for multi-faith communities and increase religious tolerance in a community in the following ways:
Speak to friends of various faiths about their experiences in their communities; search for communities with high occurrences of interfaith community centers; reach out to members of religious congregations in your faith and outside of your faith; search local news articles for headlines about hate crimes and examine how the community and police force dealt with any instances.
You may also wish to connect with spiritual leaders who avoid politics and focus on promoting tolerance in the community.
Religiously-tolerant communities will appreciate and welcome your efforts to work with the community to produce tolerance.