Thursday, September 23, 2010

Links Worth Reading Re: Recent Islamophobia

Keeping this blog going is at times an effort for me with everything going on in my life, and posting thoughts and links on Facebook has proven not only easier but also often instantly gratifying.  I get more comments and responses on Facebook than I do here (unless you count spammers).  That being said, there is good stuff I've shared on Facebook that is now lost in the ever-changing flow of status updates.  So, I'm going to post some links to articles, op-eds and essays I've liked in the last few months here on the blog.  We'll see if I can keep more up to date with similar items from here on out>

Here are some things I've found helpful regarding the recent flurry of Islamophobia in America, such as the almost burning of the Qur'an by a Florida minister and the opposition to an Islamic Center near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan.

  • Nice op-ed by Nicholas Kristof re: the double standard against Muslims recently in America--he makes his point without ignoring the extremes within Islam, Christianity or any other group
  • As the deadline for the Qur'an-burning in Florida drew near, word came of a Muslim organization in South Africa that prevented a local Muslim leader from burning a Bible in retaliation.  Why didn't this make it on to the cable news talk shows?
  • Good news! Not all Christians are xenophobic hatemongers. (Of course, some of us have know that all along.)
  • An excellent explanation for why the threatened Qur'an incited such a global response from all sides AND great thoughts about why burning books (esp. sacred books) is such a powerful symbol--by Laurie Patton a professor I was fortunate enough to have for a class in grad school
  • Jim Wallis' reflections on what we have learned and not learned since 9-11, with special attention paid to recent bigotry and xenophobia towards Muslims by Americans in general and Christians in particular
  • From the National Council of Churches, USA  (I put this as an insert in our Sunday bulletin a few weeks ago)--a great statement on how Christians should love their Muslim neighbors on the anniversary of Sept. 11. Well-said by Michael Kinnamon who is both a leader in the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ and in ecumenical work.
  • Mixed in with all the bad news about Christians displaying bigotry towards Muslims was a very encouraging story about a church in Memphis which allows a local Muslim congregation meet in its building and both groups have benefitted from the dialogue and relationship.  (This particular story comes towards the end of the video from MSNBC)
  • Another op-ed from Kristof at NYT: For me, this demonstrated the meaning of words like grace and peace. THIS is how we should respond to 9-11.  It's the story of two women whose husbands were killed on 9-11 but who chose to respond by fighting poverty and lack of education in Afghanistan. (from the op-ed) "So at a time when the American government reacted to the horror of 9/11 mostly with missiles and bombs, detentions and waterboardings, Ms. Retik and Ms. Quigley turned to education and poverty-alleviation projects —  in the very country that had incubated a plot that had pulverized their lives."
  • New York is unfortunately not the only place where bigotry towards Muslims has resulted in protests of a planned Islamic Center.  Murfreesboro, TN has also had a isappointing outbreak of ugliness.  The Daily Show with Jon Stewart took a look at the whole sordid affair, and the people of Murfreesboro can feel proud of how small-minded they appear.  (warning: you have to wait through some Comedy Central commercials and the first third of the episode, so be prepared for off-color language and jokes.)
  • A recent episode of NPR's On the Media demonstrated how words matter in the reporting of news (and most forms of media are too lazy to choose their words carefully)--especially in the case of an Islamic center in lower Manhattan--or should I say "Ground Zero Mosque"?
  • What's the most dangerous religious group in American history? It's not Muslims, rather the most violent religious group in American history has and continues to be. . . white, male Protestants! (You should be afraid of me.)
  • A nice piece about the origins of the controversy regarding the Islamic Center in New York at It appears conservative talk show hosts were FOR the Islamic center in lower Manhattan before they were AGAINST it. I guess Obama is not the only one who  flip-flopped on this issue.
  • Jim Wallis declares that American Muslims are not responsible for 9-11 and tells about trying to make this point on Fox and Friends.
  • The so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" is actually 2 blocks away. What else is within a 2 block radius of Ground Zero you ask? Take a look at these pictures--much of it is anything but "hallowed".
  • Lost in all the attacks levelled at the Islamic Center in lower Manhattan was the fact that it is being built by Sufi Muslims who have a demonstrated track record of interfaith dialogue, peacemaking and bridgebuilding.  They couldn't be further from Al Qaeda.

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