By Lady Arsinoe……
America has lost the moral high ground, though. Beginning on September 11, 2001, collectively as a nation, we condemned the celebrations in the streets throughout the Muslim world. We denounced the carnival atmosphere in the Middle East as the World Trade Center collapsed. We cried for the murder of over 3000 innocent people. We said, how barbaric it was to celebrate death and destruction in that manner. Those people aren’t human, we declared.
By Teo Sagisman
I lost both my parents at what I consider a young age. My religious background is that of a secular Turkish Muslim but I now consider myself a spiritual seeker more than religious. I lost my father when I was only five years of age. My paternal grandfather, originally from Eastern Turkey, had migrated to Istanbul in the early 1900’s. His last name, Sagisman, I later discover belonged to a list of Jewish converts to Islam (Dönmeh) who followed Sabbatai Zevi (1626-1676) a 17th-century Jewish Kabbalist who claimed to be the Jewish Messiah but was eventually forced by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed IV to convert to Islam. After Sabbatai’s conversion, a number of Jews followed him into Islam and became the Dönmeh.
By Michel-Camille Bordeau….
CJ: Absolutely the Bible is a dangerous book if you do what God commands you to do. For example, if my daughter says, “God damn it!” I’m to take her to the edge of the town and bash her brains out with large rocks. If I wish to sell my daughter into sexual slavery, not only does the Bible not say there’s anything wrong with that, it gives commercial terms and conditions for doing such a thing. When we look at places like tribal Pakistan, for example, there they routinely execute people for blasphemy, a victimless crime. Now, are they barbaric, evil people? No they’re not. In fact, according to biblical law, of which the Koran is based, they’re more pious and pleasing to God than those who ignore that command. When people become cognizant of these kinds of issues, people realize this ancient book has no relevancy in today’s times.
Terry Jones has a right to free speech, regardless of how repugnant. Just as I lauded the Supreme Court’s decision regarding Snyder vs. Phelps, I will stand beside Terry Jones (way far away!) to protect his right to free speech. Any limitation on his free speech is a limit on my free speech. The government has no business telling anyone what to say or not to say. The First Amendment to the Constitution explicitly states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” How difficult is that to understand?
Sheema Khan, The Globe and Mail….
Then came the March 8 rally to commemorate International Women’s Day. About 200 women, along with a smattering of men, gathered in Tahrir Square to urge Egypt to give women a voice in building its future. Many had been alarmed by an ominous turn of political events deemed unfavourable to women: Only one woman had been selected to the interim cabinet; the eight-member committee tasked with formulating constitutional amendments was all male; one of the proposed amendments suggested that future presidents could only be male; and the quota of 64 parliamentary seats for women had been abolished.
By Roger Cohen, New York Times….
So Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who organized a Koran burning on March 20, wanted “to stir the pot.” Mission accomplished. Perhaps he’d care to explain himself to the family of Joakim Dungel, a 33-year-old Swede slaughtered at the U.N. mission in Mazar-i-Sharif by Afghans whipped into frenzy through Jones’s folly. On reflection, no, there’s nothing Jones can explain to Dungel’s family, or the other U.N. staffers murdered. Jones is not in the explanation business. He’s a zealot. How else to describe a Christian who interprets his faith not as grounded in love and compassion but as a mission to incite hatred toward Islam?
By Eboo Patel, Huffington Post…..
Lately, Congress appears to be obsessed with Muslims. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is holding hearings Tuesday (March 29) on “Protecting the Civil Rights of American Muslims,” and Chairman Peter King has announced a second set of hearings on “Radicalization in the American Muslim Community” in the House Homeland Security Committee, this set focusing on radicalization in prisons. Although the word “Muslim” is the one getting the most media play, I believe these hearings are really about America, and whether we value the contributions of, and cooperation between, our many different communities.
By Joshua Stanton…..
Ever since the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States, hatred and discrimination against Muslim Americans has been growing. Over the past year, the rhetoric has only gotten louder and more violent. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights protects the freedoms of religion, speech, and assembly. These are also essential American values.
By Miroslav Volf, Huffington Post….
Muslims and Christians can work together to depose dictators and assert the power of the people. We’ve seen it happen on the Tahrir Square in Cairo during the 2011 revolution in Egypt, with devout Muslims and Coptic Christians protesting side by side. But can Muslims and Christians work together to build a democratic society in which rights of all are respected, the rights of minority Coptic Christians no less than the rights of majority Muslims? They can, if they have a common set of fundamental values. But do they? They do, if they, both monotheists, have a common God.
By Bob Smietana, USA Today….
A proposed Tennessee law would make following the Islamic code known as Shariah law a felony, punishable by 15 years in jail. State Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, and state Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, introduced the same bill in the Senate and House last week. It calls Shariah law a danger to homeland security and gives the attorney general authority to investigate complaints and decide who’s practicing it.
By Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, State of Formation….
Here’s a news headline for you: The trial begins in Phoenix today for Faleh Hassan Almaleki, the Iraqi immigrant accused of killing his daughter for becoming too Westernized. The prosecution’s argument goes like this: Almaleki ran over his 20 year old daughter with a Jeep Cherokee because she was abandoning their traditional Muslim values, having moved in with her boyfriend’s family.
By Nilanjana S. Roy, New York Times….
“Religion is assumed to be the domain of men, and women do not have much role in it,” the Indian feminist writer and publisher Urvashi Butalia said in an interview. “But women generally do not have the right to question religion — this is something men hold on to tightly, and it’s not only in Islam. Look at all those so-called honor killings in India — all of them under the guise of religious sanction and tradition.”
Last week, the blasphemy laws claimed a prominent victim. The governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, was assassinated by one of his bodyguards. Mr. Taseer’s assassin was showered with rose petals by crowds who approved of his act. Mr. Taseer had drawn much criticism in Pakistan for his defense of Ms. Bibi and his demand for changes to the blasphemy law.
By Samantha Kirby, Tikkun Magazine….
My grandmother was many things: a piano teacher, a Chicagoan, a coffee aficionada — and a pioneer.
I added that last part after she passed away, when I learned that she had graduated from Northwestern University in 1944, about twenty years before NU removed its quota for Jewish admissions. By the time I was an undergraduate shivering through my years in Evanston, it was hard to believe that the campus, with its thriving Jewish community, had ever tried to restrict its number of Jewish students. I couldn’t imagine my grandmother walking the same streets as I had but feeling like a second-class student.
By Dave Niose, Open Salon….
Nine bullets fired from close range ended the life of Salman Taseer on Tuesday, making the Pakistani governor the latest high-profile victim of religious violence. Taseer had the audacity to publicly question Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, and for this transgression he paid with his life. Taseer joins a list of numerous other high-profile victims of militant religion, such as Dr. George Tiller, the Kansas abortion doctor killed by a devout Christian assassin in 2009, and Theo Van Gogh, the Dutch filmaker whose provocative movie about Islam resulted in his being brutally murdered in Amsterdam in 2004. And of course, several thousand innocent people became victims of religious violence on September 11, 2001.