Are Muslims and Christians at war? The data says no

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(CNN)The bombings on Easter Sunday of eight sites in Sri Lanka, including three churches, seemed designed not only to inflict mass casualties but also to send a message.

Initial investigations showed the chain of bombings was carried out by “a radical Islam group,” perhaps as retaliation for mass shootings in March at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, Sri Lanka’s state defense minister, Ruwan Wijewardana, said Tuesday.
ISIS has reportedly taken credit for the slaughter in Sri Lanka but did not immediately offer proof of its involvement.
To some, the bombings, carried out on the holiest day in the Christian calendar, has fed a narrative of religious war. Christians and Muslims, this theory goes, are increasingly at odds and willing to strike at each other’s spiritual hearts — sanctuaries.
To be utterly clear: Any attack on any house of worship is heinous and should be unequivocally condemned. In too many parts of the world, Christians are attacked by Muslims and vice versa.
But taking the long view, the data on terrorist attacks does not support a narrative of incipient religious war or sanctuaries facing increasing threats.
From 1970 to 2017, attacks at houses of worship comprised just 1.45% of all terrorist attacks worldwide, according to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism(START) at the University of Maryland.

Study confirms Muslims have the highest life satisfaction

12117700-0-image-a-21_1554931243403It is believed that no barometer or measuring tool can be used to quantifthe bliss a person feels in any given moment in their life. However, a new study conducted by German psychologist, Dr Edinger-Schons, found that measuring life satisfaction is as close as you can get to quantifying happiness. He found that the overarching sense of ‘oneness’ is used to envisage the overall contentment in the life of a person.  

Over 67,000 were gathered to complete a survey and after dividing the respondents by religion, Muslims were found to feel the greatest sense of oneness, leading to a greater sense of well-being. [1] 

Furthermore, a professor at the University of Illinois created a scale for happiness, or the ‘satisfaction with life scale’ (SWLS).[1] It consisted of five questions in order to determine how satisfied a person is with their life. Each question had a ranking from one to seven, and according to this, the higher the score, the more satisfied you are with your life. 

Another survey in 2016 concluded that “highly religious” people are more likely to be ‘very happy’ in life.1 90% of these ‘very happy’ people were Christians; though, now the German psychologist has concluded that the idea of oneness is the common denominator that runs through people with a higher level of spirituality in their respective faiths. 

Over 67,000 non-students were surveyed by researchers at the University of Mannheim in Germany to determine how oneness affected life satisfaction across different religions. Due to the belief that they were connected to something larger than themselves, it was found that Muslims were most likely to be the ones with a higher life satisfaction over other faiths. Oneness as a personality marker can be used to distinguish between people who seek and make more meaningful connections with others, the world around them, and the almighty entity of God. 

FULL ARTICLE FROM ISLAM21c

 

Group highlights civil rights abuses against Muslims

An elementary school student who received threatening notes in her classroom. A congressional candidate who dealt with anti-Islam political flyers during her campaign. And a mother who was subjected to an invasive airport search.

Those and many other cases from 2018 are highlighted in a new report released Wednesday by the Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the state’s largest Islamic advocacy organization.

The goal of the report is to educate the public about the abuses local Muslims are facing while also encouraging people to step forward if they’re dealing with similar issues, said Barbara Dougan, the group’s civil rights director.

“The perpetrators and haters are emboldened,” she said. “The level of aggression toward women is especially troubling. Muslim women who wear hijabs are shouldering the greatest burden of the physical violence and harassment.”

Among the prominent cases highlighted was one involving a fifth-grader at Hemenway Elementary School in Framingham who received two notes in her classroom storage bin — one calling her a terrorist and the other threatening her with death. The incident prompted an outpouring of support from across the country as some 500 people sent letters of encouragement to the young student as part of a campaign promoted by the council.

FULL ARTICLE FROM FOX NEWS

Georgia’s Medieval King And Its Contemporary Muslims

b-175By Giorgi Lomsadze*

In one tiny, bustling barber shop in Tbilisi Iraqi men sit lined up in the chairs, having their beards, sideburns and eyebrows contoured into almost geometrically perfect shapes. Their cheekbones, earlobes and even foreheads are shaved, waxed and plucked remorselessly. The barbers, most of them also Iraqis, proceed to mold lush pompadours on their clients’ heads, hairlines permitting.

The barber shop is huddled in a basement, just off David the Builder Avenue, in a Tbilisi neighborhood that has increasingly become the city’s Middle Eastern nook. Here you can get the full appreciation of what serious business looking good is for Iraqi men – and also what sort of interactions they have with Georgians.

The owner – a middle-aged, bulky transplant from Mosul – has an avocado-green mask slathered on his face. His fingers are dipped in hot water bowls. With regal patience he awaits the ceremony of manicure to start and his Georgian accountant’s anti-Arab diatribe to end.

The accountant, an ebullient, neurotically skinny woman, soliloquizes on the damage done to Georgia by Arab invaders across the centuries. She is undaunted by the fact that nobody listens to her history lesson. The barbers only sneak smiles at one another when her voice hits a particularly high pitch. “She does this every day,” one of the barbers told me later. “But she is actually really nice. She brings us cakes and pies every now and then. She also helped me with my visa documents.”

In her tirade, the accountant lingered on how King David the Builder – the name on the parlor’s address – liberated Tbilisi from the Arabs 900 years ago and led Georgia into its Golden Age.

The medieval Georgian king has lately been serving as inspiration to modern-day crusaders. Most recently, his name appeared scrawled on a rifle of the Australian who massacred 50 people in a March 15 attack on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

At home, too, David has served as inspiration to Islamophobes: Two years ago, Georgian right-wing groups marched down David the Builder Avenue, carrying large a painting of the king and protesting the growing Middle Eastern presence on the king’s street.

There is a sad irony in the fact that a killer who targeted Muslims drew inspiration from a leader that regularly attended prayers in mosques, and that Georgian ultranationalists idolize a leader who embraced multiculturalism. They tend to dwell on the Christian king’s military prowess against Islamic powers, but historical accounts also describe David as an ardent advocate and defender of his Muslim subjects: He offered tax exemptions to Muslim residents of Tbilisi, banned Christians from slaughtering pigs in Muslim quarters and acted as a mediator in interethnic disputes.

FULL ARTICLE FROM EURASIAREVIEW 

How To Fight Islamophobia In America, No Matter Your Faith

MuslimGrafittiThe U.S. is no stranger to discrimination against Muslims. Here’s how you can fight back.

“Hello, brother.” Those were the words that a Muslim man said to a gunman before he was shot to death at the Al Noor mosque in New Zealand on Friday.

The gunman, an avowed white supremacist, went on to kill at least 49 others in a horrific attack on two mosques in the city of Christchurch during Friday prayers, a weekly tradition for those who practice Islam.

While the attack on Muslims may have been an unprecedented show of hate for New Zealand, the gunman’s Islamophobia is hauntingly familiar in the U.S. 

In December, a woman in Dallas attacked a Muslim woman and told her to “go back to [her] country.” A month later, four people in upstate New York were charged with plotting to attack a Muslim community with explosives. Last April, three white militiamen in Kansas were charged with planning to bomb a Somali community’s apartment building

That’s why now is as important as ever for people of all faiths to speak out against hate and violence against Muslims, according to Catherine Osborne. Osborne is a Christian and the campaign director for Shoulder to Shoulder, an interfaith coalition against Islamophobia in the U.S.

“Silence is action, in and of itself,” Osborne said of the response to Friday’s massacre in New Zealand. “Choosing not to speak out is an action that somebody is choosing to take.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST 

Two Muslim women are headed for Congress

20180915_usp503IN HIS first presidential campaign, George W. Bush received 42% of the Muslim-American vote, compared with 31% for Al Gore. The 9/11 attacks, and the wars that followed, changed that affiliation. Eight years later, Muslim-Americans overwhelmingly backed Barack Obama. This was a big change for a religious minority that tended to have conservative views: traditionalist Muslims and LBGT advocates are strange bedfellows. Donald Trump’s election, though, has brought a clutch of progressive Muslims into politics. Some are now heading to Congress.

America has 3.5m Muslims, around 1% of the population. Some say the number is closer to 5m and rising; the Census Bureau has not asked questions about religion since the 1950s, so it is hard to know for sure. Only about 100 Muslims filed papers this year to run for office. These few attract a disproportionate amount of attention, largely because of America’s views of their faith. Polling by the Pew Research Centre in April 2017 found that 44% of eligible voters think there is a “natural conflict” between Islam and democracy.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE ECONOMIST 

When Muslims condemn terrorism, does it matter?

39552_Photo2_1535030198494Heraa Hashmi compiled a 712-page Google doc of times when Muslims have condemned terror attacks. A year on she reflects on that decision.

Heraa Hashmi was propelled into the public eye when she compiled a worldwide list of as many different instances as she could find of Muslims condemning terrorism.

A Muslim-American of Indian ancestry, Heraa was moved to action following a disappointing conversation with a classmate who wondered why Muslims are so silent about the violence of some of their co-religionists. The list was turned into a publicly available spreadsheet with 5720 examples of Muslim condemning terror which can be found on a website she created with some friends.

A year on, she visits Istanbul and ponders the efficacy of the decision due to her concern that the list played into the “moderate Muslim” narrative.

The idea of a ‘moderate Muslim’ she argues is “an invention of a global system of capital and political hegemony” which uses the ‘moderate’ Muslim category “to include those Muslims whose lifestyles and beliefs are approved”, and exclude, arrest, torture and kill those who aren’t.

A student of molecular biology at the University of Colorado Boulder, Heraa is also a prolific YouTuber, a writer of fiction and runs an online blog with friends called Traversing Tradition which explores Islam for counter-cultural perspectives.

FULL ARTICLE FROM TRT WORLD