Muslims

Anti-Shariah Movement Loses Steam in State Legislatures

At this point in 2011, 22 state legislatures had either passed or were considering bills to prohibit judges from considering either Islamic law, known as Shariah, or foreign law in their decisions.

What a difference a year can make.

The wave of anti-Shariah legislation has broken in recent weeks, as bills in several states have either died or been withdrawn, raising questions about whether the anti-Shariah movement has lost its momentum.

The Morning News: Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011

New Law Aims To Shine Light on Conflict Metals; Immigration Effort Mistakenly Holds U.S. Citizens; North Korea’s Persecution of Christians Expected to Continue After Kim Jon Il’s Death; Muslims push Lowe’s boycott over reality series; Two Muslim religious leaders sue airlines for discrimination; Christianity goes global as world’s largest religion; (Opinion) Obama’s simplistic view of income inequality.

The Daily Show Blasts Controversy Over "All-American Muslim"

Last night on "The Daily Show," host Jon Stewart and "senior Muslim correspondent" Aasif Mandvi took a few clever swings at the Florida Family Association and Lowe's for their opposition to the new TLC series "All-American Muslim," which depicts Muslim-American families living in Dearborn, Mich.

Why I Don't Heed "The Call"

Lou Engel (center with mic) at the Call Nashville event in 2007. Image via Wiki
Lou Engel (center with mic) at the Call Nashville event in 2007. Image via Wiki Commons.

Though I treasure my Pentecostal heritage, these days I feel like an outsider looking in, because though it started out as a pacifist movement in the early 20th century, today Pentecostalism (at least in America) is largely known as a religion that spawns extremist movements that trumpet militarism and bigotry.

Chief exhibit: The Call

Founded by Lou Engle, The Call is a movement that regularly holds massive prayer events in stadiums across the country. Engle is part of a network called the New Apostolic Reformation, which believes that God is raising up an end-times army of apostles and prophets to take over earthly governments before Jesus comes back.

A few of its prominent leaders are Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs, Rick Joyner, and Mike Bickle. Though the end-times theology of these individuals may vary, the underlying principle that binds them together is the idea that Christians are called to dominate earthly governments and civil society, and that apostles and prophets are supposed to pave the way to make that happen.

I Am the 9/11 Generation

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For every American student, September starts a new year. September was a time to put away the suntan lotion and refocus on studies -- on more serious pursuits. Gone were the carefree days of summer, and in came the weather that lives perfectly in my memory -- those almost orange leaves, crisp blue skies, and the faint smell of autumn in upstate New York.

I remember it like this 10 years ago. Fourteen and gearing up for a Varsity volleyball season, I had it all. I had only one worry -- that my dad would forget to pick me up from practice, which he never did.

My class had just finished homeroom -- it was my friend's 15th birthday. I don't remember singing, but I'm sure we did. I moved into my world history class, I think we were on the Greeks. And then, it changed. My choir teacher rushed in and frantically told us to turn on the television. We saw the hallways fill with teachers.

Commemorating 9/11 by Desegregating Theological Education

I just returned from a very moving convocation at the Claremont School of Theology where I am on the faculty. We were celebrating the historic founding of a new interreligious theological university that brings together institutions representing the three Abrahamic faiths, along with our newest partner, the Jains. The Jains are an eastern religion founded in India over 2,500 years ago who are perhaps best known for their deep commitment to the concept of no-harm or ahimsa.

While each partner institution will continue to train religious leaders in their own traditions, the Claremont Lincoln University will be a space where future religious leaders and scholars can learn from each other and collaboratively seek solutions to major global issues that no one single religion can solve alone. The CLU's founding vision of desegregating religion was reflected in the extraordinary religious diversity present at the convocation held in a standing room-only auditorium. I sat next to a Jewish cantor and a Muslim woman who had tears flowing down her face as we listened to the prayers offered in all four religions along with a reflection from a Humanist speaker.

'Please Welcome Them'

Two years ago in Jordan, I met an Iraqi doctor whose father, a pastor, had recently been killed by Iraqi insurgents because he refused to close the doors of his Baghdad church. "It's God's church," the pastor told the rebels. "I can't close it." So they shot him and threatened to do the same to his son if the son didn't leave the country. The young doctor began his presentation with video footage of Iraqi citizens being lined up against a wall and executed.

I asked my Jordanian friends what they would say to Americans. "Pray for Iraqi citizens who are suffering," they said, "and care for refugees." They explained that Detroit has one of the the largest Arab populations outside of the Middle East and that many Arab refugees are now settling in the Chicago area as well. "Please welcome them."

The more than 4 million Iraqis who have been displaced in recent years have created one of the "largest humanitarian crises in the world today," according to Michael Kocher, a refugee expert at the International Rescue Committee. Millions of Iraqis who fled their homes to escape violence remain in desperate conditions in Iraq. Over 1.2 million more live in squalid camps or rundown neighborhoods in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.

As in most wars, women in Iraq have been uniquely victimized. In just the first four months of the war, 400 women and girls were abducted and raped. Armed groups target women in order to terrorize families and to force husbands, fathers, or brothers to yield to their demands. Sadly, the terror doesn't end when women flee the country.

Most Iraqi refugees don't have legal status in the countries to which they flee, so they can't work. Economic hardship leads to frustration and tension. Domestic violence is common. Even worse, widows who can’t feed their children are forced into prostitution.

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Friday Links Round Up: The Onion. Palin. Pick Our Cover.

The Onion. Palin. Pick Our Cover. Here's a little round up of links from around the Web you may have missed this week:

  • "Dear Children of Troy: Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. That's the advice of your good friend, Dr. Seuss."

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