Facebook’s anti-Islam algorithm [Getty]

479Right-wing evangelical Christians have created an array of Islamophobic Facebook pages

A newly published Snopes investigation provides a deeper understanding of how small groups of right-wing extremists are manipulating Facebook to portray anti-Muslim views as representative of a much broader swath of the general public.

The authors of the investigation reveal how a small group of right-wing evangelical Christians have created an array of Islamophobic Facebook pages in conjunction with establishing Political Action Committees (PACs) to build “a coordinated, pro-Trump network that spreads hate and conspiracy theories” about Islam and Muslims.

For instance, the Facebook pages titled, “Blacks for Trump” and “Jews for America,” among others, are financially tied to Christian evangelical activist Kelly Monroe Kullberg, who is neither black nor Jewish, but founder and president of The America Conservancy, a group that claims to do “justice” to the “American story”, and “to explore those roots and fruit of thriving culture possible in relation to a life-giving God who brings dying things back to life.”

Well, that’s what “the Kullberg group” claims to be all about, but in reality their motives are far more sinister. These include the manipulation of Facebook to promote US President Donald Trump by stirring up further fear and hatred of Muslims, at a time when the United States is dealing with a domestic white nationalist terrorism crisis, one that produced more than 500 hate crimes against Muslims in the first five months of 2019.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AL ARABY (UK) 

Wheaton Offers Scholarship Named for Former Professor Who Said Muslims, Christians Worship Same God

A new scholarship now being offered at a prominent evangelical college named after a former professor who infamously claimed that Christians and Muslims worship the same God is confusing some while being celebrated by others.

The Wheaton Record reported on April 5 that a scholarship in the name of former political science professor Larycia Hawkins was announced last month.

Wheaton College political science professor Larycia Hawkins posing in a hijab in a photo that was posted to Facebook on Dec. 10, 2015. | (Photo: Facebook/Larycia Hawkins)

The scholarship will be up to $1,000 and was created as part of a Feb. 2016 settlement with Hawkins, the first African American female to receive tenure at the school. Hawkins left Wheaton that month amid international controversy over a Dec. 2015 Facebook post in which she published a photo of herself wearing a hijab in solidarity with Muslims who had been antagonized following terror attacks at the time, and claimed that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. She was summarily put on administrative leave due to the “theological implications” behind those comments.

The Wheaton board of trustees admitted later that year that the school had made an “error in judgement” in handling the situation; a task force issued a report in October concluding that they could not decisively say whether or not Hawkins’ theological views aligned with the school’s doctrinal statement of faith.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISIAN POST 

America’s Islamophobia Is Forged at the Pulpit

gettyimages-97549379-1The first time I remember hearing Islam equated with terrorism from the pulpit, I was a 17-year-old junior at Heritage Christian School in Indianapolis, where my mom was—still is, in fact—an elementary teacher. It was 1998, long before Islamophobia seized the Western mainstream. My family attended a small, nondenominational evangelical church in the suburb of Carmel, where my dad was the music pastor.

“A good Muslim,” our head pastor, Marcus Warner, intoned that Sunday morning, “should want to kill Christians and Jews.” He insisted that this was the only conclusion possible from a serious reading of the Quran. As a doubting young evangelical who would later become an agnostic, this extreme statement made me uncomfortable even then. Today, in the wake of the shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, it should be considered every bit as offensive as the worst anti-Semitic tropes .

But a harsh double standard has been in effect, as the brouhaha over the comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) proved. The United States recognizes anti-Semitism for the poison it is, and polices—at least on the left—even accidental falling into its tropes. But the religiously inspired Islamophobia I grew up with continues to shape Washington’s foreign policy—and Islamophobic statements too often pass without criticism in the public sphere.

To be sure, the statements about Israel by Omar, one of the first two Muslim women ever elected to U.S. Congress, did conjure up anti-Semitic tropes. In a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, she chose her words more carefully, avoiding the rhetoric of “allegiance” that rightly caused many to criticize her language. Some of that criticism, however, was not only made in bad faith—it was shaped by the very Islamophobia that darkly mirrors anti-Semitism.

FULL ARTICLE FROM FOREIGN POLICY 

How Should Christians Respond to Christchurch Mosque Massacre?

89945Eleven evangelical experts weigh in as death toll of New Zealand Muslims hits 50.

On March 15, Muslim worshipers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, suffered a terrorist attack at the hands of an avowed white supremacist. 50 people were killed, with another 50 injured.

Prior to the attack, the citizen of Australia posted a lengthy manifesto to social media, filled with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim themes. He then proceeded to livestream the shooting. Some victims originally hailed from Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Given recent attacks on Christians in their places of worship, including many in Muslim nations, CT invited evangelical leaders to weigh in: How should Christians respond to Christchurch?

Richard Shumack, director of the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam at Melbourne School of Theology, Australia:

The thing that came to mind immediately is Jesus’ beatitudes. How should Christians react to Christchurch? With mourning, a hunger for justice, and peacemaking. Christians must mourn with their Muslim brothers and sisters, thirst for the perpetrators of this heinous crime to be brought to justice, and put every possible effort into brokering peace in an age of furious tribalism.

I also embrace wholeheartedly the poignant wisdom of Dostoevsky quoted by the Anglican bishop of Wellington, New Zealand: At some ideas you stand perplexed, especially at the sight of human sins, uncertain whether to combat it by force or by humble love. Always decide, “I will combat it with humble love.” If you make up your mind about that once and for all, you can conquer the whole world. Loving humility is a terrible force; it is the strongest of all things and there is nothing like it.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIANITY TODAY 

Young Evangelicals Are Rejecting the Islamophobia of Their Elders

Barna Research Group recently reported that evangelical Christians are less likely than most to have friends of other religious beliefs. A whopping 91 percent of evangelicals said that their current friends are “mostly similar” to them when it comes to religious beliefs. However, this statistic wasn’t broken down by age or generation, which is critical to understanding how American evangelicals are changing.

Pew Research found that the younger an evangelical is, the more progressive they will likely be on a number of issues. Public Religion Research Institute discovered that younger white evangelicals (ages 18-39) are far more likely to say that American Muslims are an important part of the religious community in the U.S., and that they are comfortable with public displays of Muslim culture and religious expression, than those ages 40 and up.

We launched our organization, Neighborly Faith, when we were graduate students at Wheaton College in 2015. We were there during the saga between Wheaton College administration and Dr. Larycia Hawkins, and when Wheaton students penned an open letter in the Washington Post, condemning Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.’s inflammatory remarks about Muslims after the San Bernardino shootings. We saw a growing crop of evangelical college students who wanted to love their Muslim neighbors as themselves, but who were getting little guidance on how to do so from their elders.

We have also been inspired by the work of Fuller Theological Seminary professor Matthew Kaemingk, who has traveled to evangelical collegesacross the U.S. to encourage a posture of hospitality toward Muslim immigrants. There are also 2018 books like Islam in North America:Loving Our Muslim Neighbors by Micah Fries and Keith Whitfield and The Dignity Revolution by Daniel Darling, each authored by evangelical thought leaders who are active in the lives of college students.

FULL ARTICLE FROM SOJOURNERS MAGAZINE

Christians are hospitable because Jesus is Lord

0802874584An evangelical case for pluralism

If you were looking for an argument for welcoming strangers of another language, religion, and race, you probably wouldn’t seek it from an American evangelical Christian. But that is precisely what Matthew Kaemingk gives us in his startling new book. Given the political harm American evangelicals have recently wrought in the world, it is thrilling to find this counternarrative.

The background of the book is familiar: while political correctness demands that people speak no ill of cultural newcomers, frustration and resistance to this stance erupts in xenophobic vitriol. But Kaemingk isn’t writing about Latino immigration to the United States. His topic is Muslim immigration to the Netherlands, rooted in his doctoral research in Amsterdam. The Dutch, proud of their reputation for being liberal and inclusive, run face-first into the conservative Islam adhered to by immigrants in ways that are both nationally traumatic (as in the 2004 assassination of filmmaker and critic of Islam Theo van Gogh) and quotidian (hijabs on the streets of Amsterdam).

Three Evangelicals Walk into a Muslim Convention

20180902_113913By Kevin Singer, Chris Stackaruk, and Usra Ghazi

This wasn’t the first time Evangelical leaders participated in the largest annual gathering of Muslims in the United States. The Islamic Society of North America Annual Convention has for many years included panel sessions, discussions and even celebratory events on interfaith relations with religiously diverse leaders. Perhaps because of the unique relationship between the current U.S. presidential administration and Evangelical leaders, and because of a heightened political climate of partisan and ideological divides, this was the first ISNA convention to feature multiple conversations about bridging these divides and a majority Evangelical panel, live recorded for a predominantly Christian podcast audience.

Neighborly Faith is an organization that seeks to help Evangelicals become better neighbors to people of other faiths. On September 6, 2018 Neighborly Faith partnered with America Indivisible, a national organization that addresses anti-Muslim bigotry by strengthening neighborly ties, to make the case for better Muslim-Evangelical relations directly to Muslims in Houston and Evangelical podcast listeners all over the country.

The panel, titled “Reaching Persuadable Americans: Why Engaging Conservatives Matters,” featured Neighborly Faith co-hosts Kevin Singer and Chris Stackaruk, Texas megachurch Pastor Bob Roberts Jr., president of Islamic Relief USA Anwar Khan, and Dalia Mogahed, director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. What was especially intriguing were the questions and comments during the Q&A. They provide a window into what everyday Muslim Americans are concerned about when it comes to their relationships with Evangelicals and conservatives. As we shuffled through the question cards, we noticed a couple of themes emerge.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE ISLAMIC MONTHLY