Keith Ellison and the Tea Party’s View of Shari’a

Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips stated this week that Keith Ellison should be voted out of Congress because, among other reasons, he is a Muslim. (He also stated, erroneously, that Ellison was the only Muslim member of Congress.) But now, according to Salon, he’s put up a new post “clarifying” his views.

The erroneous assumptions he makes while “clarifying” are that (a) Islam decrees that people should be killed if they disagree with Muslims, (b) that Islam supports the imposition of a theocracy, and (c) that Islam urges killing Jews and infidels.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST

 

Justice Department says opposing Tennessee mosque could be a crime

Reporting from Washington —

For the second time in two months, the Obama administration has interjected itself into a dispute over a proposed Islamic center, warning local officials that opposing the mosque could violate the civil rights of its members and become a federal crime.

The Justice Department filed court papers Monday in support of construction of a Murfreesboro, Tenn., mosque, saying local Muslims were protected by the 1st Amendment right to free exercise of religion and disputing opponents’ claims that Islam is not a valid religion.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

 

Pursuing an Islamic Metamorphosis

Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti

In his book, The Autumn of the Middle Ages, Dutch historian Johan Huizinga describes the decline of the medieval world as a process of “dying and rigidifying of a previously valid store of thought”.

The main thesis of Huizinga’s book is that, by the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the cultural forms and norms on which medieval Europe was based became overused and exhausted. When any ideal becomes exhausted, it fails to be a source of inspiration; rather it becomes an artificial burden.

From Huizinga’s perspective, the European world of the late middle ages was a world of artificial vanity and self-deception, a ruin of a world that had died a long time before.

I think that the abstract aspect of Huizinga’s thesis on cultural forms is enlightening, and can be extended to explain transitional moments in other cultures, including contemporary Islamic culture.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AL JAZEERA

Bigotry and Islam: O ‘Reilly is at it Again

by John Esposito

Bill O’Reilly and his inflammatory speech was on “The View” this week, and everybody knows it.

But, the attention should go elsewhere.

His baseless anti-Muslim rhetoric that led to Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg to walk off the set earlier this week was a ratings boon for him and the show. O’Reilly appeared on the Glenn Beck show and “The View” hosts are scheduled to discuss Thursday’s show on Monday.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST

 

Christian Exodus Hurts Middle East Says Muslim Scholar

Mohammad Sammak, a Sunni Muslim who is secretary general of Lebanon’s Christian-Muslim Committee for Dialogue, told a synod of bishops the declining number of Christians in the region was a concern for all Muslims.

“The emigration of Christians is an impoverishment of the Arabic identity, of its culture and authenticity,” said Sammak, who is an adviser to Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. He added that maintaining the Christian presence in the Middle East was a “common Islamic duty.”

The two-week meeting is debating how to protect minority communities in the Middle East and promote harmony with other religions. Christians made up about 20 percent of the region’s population a century ago and now account for about 5 percent.

FULL ARTICLE FROM REUTERS NEWS SERVICE

 

Test Your Savvy on Religion (a Poll Everyone Should Take)

By Nicolas Kristof

The New York Times reported recently on a Pew Research Center poll in which religious people turned out to be remarkably uninformed about religion. Almost half of Catholics didn’t understand Communion. Most Protestants didn’t know that Martin Luther started the Reformation. Almost half of Jews didn’t realize Maimonides was Jewish. And atheists were among the best informed about religion.

So let me give everybody another chance. And given the uproar about Islam, I’ll focus on extremism and fundamentalism — and, as you’ll see, there’s a larger point to this quiz. Note that some questions have more than one correct choice; answers are at the end.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES