For many Christians who observe the liturgical season of Advent, leading up to Christmas, an Advent devotional is a beloved companion.
Such devotionals typically include a short Scripture reading and reflection on the birth of Jesus.
But most are “crap,” according to the Rev. Jason Chesnut of Baltimore.
Violent anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. rose 50 percent last year. According to the Anti-Defamation League, there were a total of 56 against Jewish victims.
“And we know that for every incident reported, there’s likely another that goes unreported,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL, which produced the study and calls the trend “very concerning.”
While many countries in Europe have sealed their borders to refugees, Germany has done the opposite. Last year, the country registered over 1 million asylum seekers, including 425,000 from ravaged Syria.
No other country in the European Union has accepted as many. For Syrians and others who risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea in rubber dinghies, Germany has become a beacon of hope.
As France marks the anniversary of the terrorist shootings that targeted a kosher supermarket and a satirical weekly, a new report warns anti-Semitism here continues to rise, taking a myriad of underreported forms.
“Violence targeting Jews and Jewish sites has led to a heightened sense of insecurity, and an increasing number of Jews are relocating in or outside France for security reasons,” U.S. advocacy group Human Rights First wrote in a report published Jan. 7.
Why and how did Greg’s post resonate with so many people on the meme’s second time around the Internet? Why did it take so much darkness before something profoundly positive happened? I think I come back to two powerful resources available to us as a church, if we have the courage to embrace it.
Shortly after teenagers beat up a Columbia University physician Saturday, a Muslim woman was attacked a few blocks away.
It is not clear whether the attacks on Dr. Prabhjot Singh and the Muslim woman, who were both treated at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, are related. But many say the motives, if not the perpetrators, are depressingly familiar.
They are part of a long line of assaults on Sikhs, who are sometimes mistaken for Muslims; on Muslims; and, more generally, on people perceived as foreigners.
For Raed Jarrar, the FBI’s decision Wednesday to begin tracking hate crimes against Arabs is a battle won in a larger war.
“This is just one part of fixing the system, because unfortunately many hate crimes against Arab Americans have not been noticed,” said Jarrar, spokesman for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
In addition to its decision on tracking anti-Arab hate crimes, the FBI has agreed to track crimes against a number of religious groups it has never before tracked. The new categories include reporting crimes committed against Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Orthodox Christians.
Amish bishop Samuel Mullet was convicted Sept. 20 of federal hate crimes and conspiracy for exhorting followers to forcibly shear the hair and beards of those who opposed his breakaway Ohio sect.
Mullet’s three sons, his daughter, and 11 other family members and followers from his ultra-strict Amish order 100 miles southeast of Cleveland also were convicted of conspiracy and hate crimes after a trial that attracted international attention.
The 66-year-old bishop could face life in prison for his crimes. U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster scheduled sentencing hearings for Jan. 24.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bridget Brennan said federal sentencing guidelines recommend a minimum of 17 1/2 years for the other 15 defendants given that their crimes involved violence and kidnapping.
But defense attorneys said the judge has the discretion to sentence some of Mullet’s followers to as little as time already served in jail.
Most people, Christian or not, know the story of the Good Samaritan. In it, a man, who is presumably an Israelite, is mugged on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho. A priest passes by without stopping. So does a Levite. But then a Samaritan — someone who belongs to a radically different socioeconomic and cultural group than the Israelite — stops to help. This is Jesus’ vision for us as we answer the question, “Who is my neighbor?”
So it should shock us, surprise us, and sadden us, when we hear about tragedies like the shooting at the Sikh gurudwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. For the victims of such attacks — whether they are Sikh, Muslim, Hindu — are our neighbors too.
U.S. Sikhs are taking heart in a widely publicized Senate hearing on hate crimes and a pledge by the Justice Department to consider tracking hate crimes directed at their community.
The hearing, on Sept. 19, featured Harpreet Singh Saini,18, whose mother was one of six Sikh worshippers killed Aug. 5 when a gunman opened fire in their Wisconsin gurudwara (house of worship or, literally, "house of the guru").
“Senators, I came here today to ask the government to give my mother the dignity of being a statistic,” he told a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “My mother and those shot that day will not even count on a federal form. We cannot solve a problem we refuse to recognize.”
Sikhism, a monotheistic faith founded in South Asia, is the world’s fifth largest religion with an estimated 200,000 to 500,000 adherents in the U.S. Male Sikhs often keep their uncut hair bound up in a turban.
The Senate hearing, spurred by the Wisconsin shooting, brought more than 400 people to Capitol Hill, most of them Sikhs.
A few weeks ago, we asked you to sign a petition asking the Department of Justice to investigate hate crimes against the Islamic Society of Joplin’s mosque. Federal officials are offering $15,000 for information leading to the man who set the mosque on fire July 4th.
Beau Underwood wrote for Sojourners two weeks ago: “The biblical call to love our neighbors as ourselves requires Christians to speak out against these attacks. By protecting the rights of American Muslims to worship in the United States, we provide a powerful witness to those countries where Christian minorities face attack and persecution, such as Nigeria, Egypt, Somalia, and Kenya. If we expect others to take our advocacy for global religious freedom seriously, then our efforts must begin in our own backyard.”
More than 5,500 of you signed this petition, which is incredible! But we don’t have to stop there.