Worth reading

August 2, 2010, 4:38 pm | Posted by

Lots of interesting news and commentary around the internet today. A few worth a look:

The Arizona Republic released a poll today showing that a plurality of Arizonans believe the SB 1070 debate has exacerbated racism in the state.

On a semi-related note, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who filed an amicus brief in support of SB 1070, has authorized law enforcement officers to check the immigration status anyone they stop or arrest.

Two insightful takes on the controversy surrounding the Cordoba House Islamic Center in lower Manhattan near ground zero: Will Saletan on the Republican leaders driving it, and Blake Hounshell on the erstwhile Republican leader who can do the most to help stop it.

For a thorough take on the right’s bigoted response to Cordoba House and the Muslim community’s religious freedom, check out today’s Progress Report.

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Franklin Graham’s Selective Hearing

May 6, 2010, 5:05 pm | Posted by

Last week, Franklin Graham was disinvited from a Pentagon prayer service for calling Islam an evil religion. Since the announcement, Graham has gone on a media blitz, playing the victim and reiterating his hateful remarks. Among numerous inflammatory and dubious claims, he had this to say to Newsweek’s Jon Meacham yesterday:

“I am who I am. I don’t believe that you can get to heaven through being a Buddhist or Hindu. I think Muhammad only leads to the grave. Now, that’s what I believe, and I don’t apologize for my faith. And if it’s divisive, I’m sorry. I think yelling “Allahu Akbar” as you’re flying jet airplanes through buildings and killing 3,000 Americans–that was evil and it was wicked. And I’ve not heard one Islamic leader around the world stand up and say that was a terrible thing.”

The only way he could not have heard any condemnation from Muslims is if he’s been covering his ears for the last nine years. For starters, there are things like this…and this…and these. You know what, Rev. Graham should probably just read the whole list.

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New study shows Muslim community’s anti-terrorism efforts

January 8, 2010, 3:32 pm | Posted by

Buried among the flood of terrorism news that’s come out over the last couple of days is a new study showing that American Muslims have effectively worked to stop radicalization in their communities.

The researchers, from Duke University and the University of North Carolina, found that

…it is the Muslim-American communities themselves who play a large role in keeping the number of radicalized members low through their own practices…Leaders and Muslim-American organizations denounce violent acts, for instance, in messages that have weight within communities.

In addition, such communities often self-police — confronting those who express radical ideology or support for terrorism and communicating concerns about radical individuals to authorities. Some Muslim-Americans have adopted programs for youth to help identify those who react inappropriately to controversial issues so they can undergo counseling and education, the researchers said.

The study also found that “since 9/11, there has been increased tension among Muslim-Americans about their acceptance in mainstream American society,” and that they perceive anti-Muslim bias in the media and discrimination in security and counterterrorism initiatives.

When demagogues openly call for racial profiling, it’s important to remember not only that such measures violate American principles of due process, but also that they single out communities that are already doing a great deal to stop terrorism and facing religion-based discrimination and hostility. It isn’t right, and it isn’t smart.

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Quick hits

November 12, 2009, 3:50 pm | Posted by

A few thoughts coming off the midweek holiday:

- To my grandfather who served at the Battle of the Bulge and my father who served in the Air Force, happy belated Veterans’ Day. That goes for all current and former military personnel.

- To religious right fearmongers who claim Muslims should be discriminated against or prohibited from serving in the military in the wake of the Ft. Hood massacre, I’d like to direct your attention to some especially poignant remarks by Colin Powell on Meet the Press last year.

- Kudos to CNN for showing Lou Dobbs the door. It reflects well on the network and is a step forward for civil debate on immigration, which will be especially important in the coming months as congregations across the country mobilize to pass comprehensive reform.

- The LDS Church has endorsed a Salt Lake City ordinance that protects LGBT people from workplace and housing discrimination. What a surprising and uplifting development.

- Faith leaders worldwide have responded to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s solicitation of their leadership in the fight against climate change.

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Fomenting fear of Islam

September 24, 2009, 5:46 pm | Posted by

50,000 American Muslims will gather for prayer on Capitol Hill tomorrow, and according to the event’s web site, the day’s activities include the following:

- The Athan will be chanted on Capitol Hill, echoing off of the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and other great edifices that surround Capitol Hill

- Thousands of Muslims from all races, creeds, colors and ethnicities will gather for the sole purpose of prayer

- Bonds of friendship will be formed between those in attendance, both Muslims and Non-Muslims

- Muslim youth will experience tours of the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court.

- The peace, beauty and solidarity of Islam will shine through America’s capitol.

Sounds to me like an important moment for a community of faith that has consistently been subjected to discrimination and demagoguery in this country.

Speaking of which, in a Washington Update earlier this week Tony Perkins wondered,

Will any of the expected 50,000 attendees affirm loyalty to the U.S. and our constitutional liberties? Or will they pray for shari’ah law to come to America?

According to the organizers, the point of the event is “to inspire a new generation of Muslim to work for the greater good of all people [and to] serve all people, regardless of race, religion or national origin.” Serving the greater good of all people sounds like a fundamentally American (and religious) value to me.

Perkins also made several guilt-by-association allegations by event organizers and urged Family Research Council members to pray for Muslims’ conversion to Christianity, but to me the big picture is this – American Muslims are gathering to pray on Capitol Hill, and it makes Tony Perkins suspicious, and he wants his readers to share his suspicion.

When did presumption of disloyalty based on religion alone become a Christian value?

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