Republicans, Democrats sharply divided over Muslims in America: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Muslim men attend Eid al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in the Queens borough of New York

Muslim men attend Eid al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in the Queens borough of New York, U.S., July 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Many Americans view Islam unfavorably, and supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump are more than twice as likely to view the religion negatively as those backing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according to a Reuters/Ipsos online poll of more than 7,000 Americans.

It shows that 37 percent of American adults have a “somewhat unfavorable” or “very unfavorable” view of Islam. This includes 58 percent of Trump supporters and 24 percent of Clinton supporters, a contrast largely mirrored by the breakdown between Republicans and Democrats.

By comparison, respondents overall had an equally unfavorable view of atheism at 38 percent, compared with 21 percent for Hinduism, 16 percent for Judaism and 8 percent for Christianity.

Spokespeople for Trump and Clinton declined to comment.

The poll took place before an attacker on Thursday drove his truck into a holiday crowd in Nice, France, killing more than 80 people in what President Francois Hollande called a terrorist act. Police sources said the driver, while linked to common crimes, was not on a watch list of intelligence services and no Islamist militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The race for the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election has put a spotlight on Americans’ views of Muslims with Trump proposing a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States. He repeated the proposal after Omar Mateen, a New York-born Muslim armed with an assault rifle, killed 49 people in an attack on a Florida gay nightclub last month.

FULL ARTICLE FROM REUTERS

Do All Republicans Hate Muslims? I Don’t Think So, Here’s Why…

2016-07-12-1468308759-6512953-FlowerPensinvase-thumbIn January friends of mine invited me to attend a silent protest at a Republican political rally. I’m not very politically active; my interests lie more in interfaith activities and building bridges between people who are different.

My friend enticed me to go because her main purpose was to take part in a silent protest against hate speech. That appealed to me because it seems that politics has become more about vilifying the other. Not just one’s opponent, but anyone who is different or holds a different opinion. That kind of rhetoric from anyone holding the microphone drives wedges between people, creating an environment of suspicion and hate towards anyone who is different.

As an American I feel that standing up against hate speech is in keeping with American ideals and something worth doing, so I decided to go. As a Muslim American who wears hijab I realized the rally would be an opportunity for me to make connections with people who had probably never met a Muslim before.

I was pleased to find attendees of the rally were welcoming. One lady actually said, “It’s really nice to see you here”. I didn’t feel anti Muslim sentiments from the people I encountered before the rally started. But by the time we stood in silent protest (there were about 8 of us) the crowd had been whipped into a frenzy by statements like, “Syrian refugees are ISIS supporters”, “they hate us”, “they are out to get us”.

When security noticed the 8 of us standing, silently protesting, they asked us to l leave. There were people in the crowd who shouted ridiculous things at us as we left, but for me, the most memorable thing was a woman who took my hand and said, “I’m so sorry this is happening”.

That woman and the rest of the welcoming attendees are the reason I don’t believe all Republicans hate Muslims. However, I know there is a great deal of false information out there about the religion of Islam and its followers which has caused some people to fear Muslims.

In order to ease some of those fears, God willing, I’m going to Cleveland during the Republican National Convention, July 18 – 21. I will try to connect with attendees of the convention in the hopes of having friendly interactions that will leave them with a positive image of Muslims and Islam.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST 

‘HE’S GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL:’ NICE’S MUSLIMS DISAVOW MOHAMED BOUHLEL AFTER TRUCK MASSACRE

ShowImageThe al-Wahda prayer room and the Al-Baraka Mosque on the Rue de Suisse in Nice’s city center were filling up for their early afternoon services on Saturday. Muslim worshippers arrived, locked up their bikes and took off their sandals and socks on green mats laid outside the entrance to Al-Baraka to protect their feet. The sound of Arabic prayer spilled out from both.

Both Al-Wahda, which only has a limited space of 160 square meters for its worshippers, and the next door Al-Baraka Mosque, are refusing entry to non-Muslims for the prayers services. But once prayers were over Al-Wahda’s imam, Sheikh Abdulmonam, initially hesitant at speaking to aNewsweek reporter, gave me permission to enter the house of worship so that we could talk about the actions of Mohamed Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian that the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) on Saturday claimed as one their own.

After Bouhlel mowed down hundreds of locals and foreigners celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais on Thursday night, killing at least 84 people, Muslim communities across France are once again coming to terms with a mass killing carried out in their religion’s name.

FULL ARTICLE FROM NEWSWEEK

A Christian Human Rights Monitor Describes the Horrific Realities of Life Under Israeli Occupation

gaza

“Don’t they treat us like animals?”

It’s a hot friday morning, in the third week of Ramadan, and we’re at Qalandiya checkpoint, monitoring access for Palestinian women, children, and the elderly (including men over 45) who are traveling to Jerusalem for Friday prayers at al-Aqsa.

It is for one day only, and men under 45 are not allowed through, because the Israeli authorities have identified them a “security risk.”

“We just want to pray,” a Palestinian man exclaims, as he tries to argue with the soldiers.  “How are we a security risk for wanting to pray in al-Aqsa? You can check me! I’m carrying nothing!”

Men under 45 are not allowed through, because the Israeli authorities have identified them a “security risk.”  “We just want to pray,” a Palestinian man exclaims, as he tries to argue with the soldiers.  “How are we a security risk for wanting to pray in al-Aqsa? You can check me! I’m carrying nothing!”

I’m here with a Christian program, monitoring occupation related human rights abuses in the West Bank, and three times a week, we monitor the access—or lack thereof—through Qalandiya checkpoint.

Outside of the men’s entry to the checkpoint, many men under 45 are gathered.  Some try and pass through, even though they know that they will be rejected.

At first I ask the men coming back why they have been rejected, but after a few hours I’ve moved on to asking how many times they’ve tried to pass through.  “Ten times now,” says one man, smiling broadly.  I am encouraged by him; I see it as a peaceful kind of resistance, to attempt to do something which should be your right, despite knowing you won’t be allowed to.

At first I ask the men coming back why they have been rejected, but after a few hours I’ve moved on to asking how many times they’ve tried to pass through.  “Ten times now,” says one man, smiling broadly.  I am encouraged by him; I see it as a peaceful kind of resistance, to attempt to do something which should be your right, despite knowing you won’t be allowed to.

As soon as someone nearby hears that I, despite my Scandinavian features and big blonde hair, speak Arabic, a big group of teenage boys bombard me with questions. Two topics are reoccurring:  Whether or not I am fasting, and if I think what I see happening is right.

Do you fast, they ask me. No, I’m a Christian we fast in or before Easter, I tell them. Is this right what you see here, they ask me. Every time I answer the same way:  No, of course this is not right. How can you put an age limit on the right to pray?

A relationship with God is an undeniable, inalienable human right.  Praying is an undeniable, inalienable human right.

A relationship with God is an undeniable, inalienable human right. Praying is an undeniable, inalienable human right.   

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST 

North Dakota Mosque a Symbol of Muslims’ Long Ties in America

28religion-web1-master768ROSS, N.D. — Richard Omar drove his pickup truck through the cemetery gate and pulled to a stop in sight of the scattered headstones. As he walked toward a low granite monument, his running shoes crunched the dry prairie grass and he tilted forward into an unrelenting west wind.

“These are my parents,” he said beside a carved granite marker. Then he fixed bouquets of fabric flowers into place with metal stakes, hoping they would last until next spring.

Mr. Omar, a retired electrician, was engaged in an act of filial obligation and something larger, as well: the consecration of a piece of American religious history. This cemetery, with the star-crescent symbol on its gate and on many of its gravestones, held the remains of a Muslim community that dated back nearly 120 years. Up a slight hill stood the oldest mosque in the United States.

The original mosque, erected by pioneers from what are now Syria and Lebanon, had been built in 1929. After it fell into disuse and ruin, the descendants of its founders and the Christian friends they had made over the generations raised money to put up a replacement in 2005.

It is a modest square of cinder blocks, perhaps 15 feet on each side, topped with an aluminum dome and minarets. Several hundred yards off the main highway, on the outskirts of a town with barely 200 residents about 60 miles west of Minot, the mosque and cemetery exist much as they always have, surrounded by fields of wheat and corn and grazing lands. In this spot, all the industrial clamor of North Dakota’s fracking boom feels immeasurably distant.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

KKK does not represent Christians, nor does ISIS represent Muslims

kkk_09Tempted to make generalizations about a world population of 1.5 billion Muslims?  Please think twice, says Georgetown University professor Jonathan Brown.

“There are going to be different representations of any religion, and you have to be hesitant when people say they represent the true version of something” he says.

The Presidential campaign in the United States has featured a lot of anti-Muslim rhetoric on the part of one candidate, Donald Trump, who recently walked back a proposal for a complete ban on Muslims instead suggesting that his plan would focus only on “terrorist countries.”

But even under the broadest definition of a terrorist, says Brown, only .01 % of Muslims would qualify for that label, making the correlation statistically false. (A 2014 CNN article by Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider estimated that there might be, at the most, 106,000 jihadist militants worldwide).

“Americans don’t care when Muslims go to bed, brush their teeth, or go to work, “says Brown, director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding. “People only seem to care when Muslims do horrible things.”

The season of Ramadan (a month marked by daylight fasting, prayer, and charitable works) has been marked this year by grim events across the world, particularly in Muslim-majority countries, but also in Europe and the United States.  In Iraq, where a truck bomb exploded this past Sunday in Baghdad, 285 people have now died from injuries sustainedwhen they crowded the streets to mark the end of their daily fast.

“Many more Muslims have died at the hands of ISIS than non-Muslims’ says Brown.

In the United States, University of North Carolina sociologist Charles Kurzman, who tracks Muslim-American terror suspects and perpetrators reported that in 2015 81 Muslim-Americans were associated with terror plots – the highest number since the events of September 11, 2001.  The majority were attempting to travel to join militant groups abroad.

The total number of Muslim-Americans involved in violent extremist plans since 9/11?  As of 2015, that number was 344, with half plotting against overseas targets.

Saying that ISIS represents Muslims is akin to claiming that the Ku Klux Klan represents Christianity, says Brown.  “Does the KKK, which emerged out of a context of slavery and white supremacy represent what Americans want their country to be?” While ISIS comes out of the Islamic, because it uses verses from the Koran and should be viewed in the broader context of anti-colonial and anti-imperialist movements, it isn’t at all what most Muslims see as an accurate representation of their faith, he says.

In the United States, recently Muslim children have been bullied, women fear wearing their headscarves, and men and women identified as faith members are shot at and sometimes killed.

FULL ARTICLE FROM LANCASTER ONLINE 

‘If we were not brothers before this, we certainly are brothers now,’ a Dallas imam tells a minister

The minister and the imam had known each other barely a year.

They had met at a vigil after the mass shooting at a Charleston, S.C., church in June 2015. They had encountered each other at rallies to protest gun violence and domestic violence, to memorialize a long-ago lynching, to counter a Ku Klux Klan rally, to remember victims of the Orlando attack.

“We’ve had to come together so many times because of tragedy and heartbreak,” said the Rev. Michael Waters, pastor of the Joy Tabernacle A.M.E. Church.

As the first shots rang out Thursday evening in downtown Dallas, tragedy and heartbreak again brought them together. Waters spotted Imam Omar Suleiman in the crowd near the intersection of Market and Commerce streets, and together they fled what had quickly become a war zone.

The two men, along with Waters’s wife and several parishioners, sprinted to the nearby Omni Hotel. Waters, in a clergy collar and a T-shirt that read “Hope Dealer,” soon flagged down the driver of a Ford Excursion and offered him all of the cash in his wallet to take the group back to his church in South Dallas.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST