How Trump changed Americans’ view of Islam – for the better

imrsPresident Trump is expected to announce a ban on Muslim immigrants into the United States. However, polls conducted in the last year show that, despite his electoral success, Trump’s views on Islam and Muslims do not have wide support among the American public.

Americans’ opposition to accepting refugees from Middle East conflicts have been highly exaggerated. As I noted last June, “even in the middle of a U.S. presidential campaign that has been breathtaking in its exaggerations and racism, with devastating terrorism providing fuel, 59 percent of Americans say they are ready to accept Middle East conflict refugees” assuming they are screened for security. As usual, Americans were deeply divided along partisan lines on this issue.

Four polls during the election year revealed extraordinary, progressive and unexpected shifts that cannot be explained by events during that year. Attitudes toward “Muslim people” became progressively more favorable from 53 percent in November 2015 to 70 percent in October 2016.

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FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST 

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Utah Muslims face challenges in America, but love its freedom

dt-common-streams-streamserverFreedom, fear, hope and cynicism.

Those are just some of the feelings Muslims in this country cope with 15 years after the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

The lives of Muslims in America encompass a complex set of social norms buffeted by political winds and fallout from terrorism.

For Amr Abdelghany, an initial visit to the United States from Egypt was the first time he felt free to practice his religion as he pleased. That was in North Carolina in 2009.

“The governments we see in the Middle East are using religion to control the people,” he said Monday at a panel discussion on the campus of the University of Utah hosted by the Hinckley Institute of Politics. “When you are not obeying the king or the president, you are not obeying Allah.”

He said it follows that those who oppose their governments — or others — would use religion to foment terror.

Conditions for Muslims in Utah are good, according to Abdelghany, who is the acting president of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at the U.

“In Utah, I haven’t faced any hate speech,” he said. “The people here are friendly, open-minded and very accepting of my religion.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE 

There Is No “Other” America

BY OMID SAFI (@OSTADJAAN),  COLUMNIST

the crowd goes wild

Taken at the 09/14 Donald Trump rally at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

“It is not American.”

That’s what most of my friends tell me when I tell them about the latest horrific comments made by Donald Trump, who at the moment appears to be heading towards being the Republican nominee for the highest office in the land. Even by the admittedly outrageous standards of Donald Trump, this seemed beyond the pale. Shooting Muslims by bullets dipped in pigs’ blood. This, not in an anonymous hate group website, but under the full glare of spotlights, from the mouth of the leading Presidential candidate, in a political rally.

This is America.

During a recent rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, Donald Trump talked about how he would protect Americans. To make his point, he told the story ofJohn Pershing, a U.S. general who took some 50 Muslims captive in the Philippines in the early 1900s:

“He took fifty bullets, and he dipped them in pig’s blood. And he had his men load his rifles and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the fiftieth person he said ‘You go back to your people and you tell them what happened.’ And for 25 years there wasn’t a problem, okay?”

As if the moral of the story was not clear enough, the GOP front-runnerreiterated the message for the mob crowd:

“We better start getting tough and we better start getting vigilant, and we better start using our heads or we’re not gonna have a country, folks.”

This is where we are as a nation. This is our America.

FULL ARTICLE FROM ONBEING.ORG

Christian-Muslim split on religious freedom

JOHNHere is a “mini” opinion piece I wrote for our local paper (link here) in response to the article linked below:

“A poll taken by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows 82 percent of American Christians believe that Christians should have religious freedom, but only 61 percent believe the same for Muslims, 70 percent for Jews and 67 percent for Mormons. Abraham Lincoln, who understood well what freedom was about, would have taken exception to those who would deny freedom to religious minorities: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.”

John Hubers

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american religionAmericans place a higher priority on preserving the religious freedom of Christians than for other faith groups, ranking Muslims as the least deserving of the protections, according to a new survey.

Solid majorities said it was extremely or very important for the U.S. to uphold religious freedom in general. However, the percentages varied dramatically when respondents were asked about specific faith traditions, according to a poll by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Eighty-two percent said religious liberty protections were important for Christians, compared with 61 percent who said the same for Muslims. About seven in 10 said preserving Jews’ religious freedom was important, while 67 percent said so of Mormons. People who identified with no religion were ranked about even with Muslims in needing support to live out their beliefs.

Charles Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute, said the findings reflect deep divisions among Americans about the very definition of religious liberty, which has taken on newly politicized meanings in a time of debate over gay marriage and the threat from Islamic extremists.

“Religious freedom is now in the eye of the beholder,” Haynes said. “People in different traditions, with different ideological commitments, define religious freedom differently.”

The poll was conducted Dec. 10-13, after Islamic extremist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, and during intensifying anti-Muslim rhetoric by Donald Trump and other candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. The furor has led to a spike in vandalism of mosques and harassment of U.S. Muslims over the last month.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE STATESMAN JOURNAL 

 

Study: Muslim Americans too diverse for labels

By: huffingtonpost.com

Sourcehttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/

The recently formed U.S. Council for Muslim Organizations is intended to represent and serve the American Muslim population, which numbers roughly 2.75 million. But what does this mean for a group that is heterogeneous in race, ethnicity, political attitudes and even religious beliefs?

In 2011 Pew Research interviewed 1,033 Muslim American adults 18 years old and older on their backgrounds, beliefs, lifestyles and more, and the findings revealed a group that is highly diverse and often difficult to classify.

Racially, thirty percent of Muslim Americans report their race as white, 23% as black, 21% as Asian, 6% as Hispanic and 19% as other or mixed race.

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Socio-economically, Muslim Americans fare comparably to the general public, but do have a slightly higher percentage that reports the lowest income bracket. Muslim Americans are about as likely to report household incomes of $100,000 or more as the general public, but 45% of Muslim Americans report a household income of $30,000 or less, compared to 36% of the general public who report the same.

Muslim Americans come from around the globe. Foreign-born Muslim Americans come from at least 77 different countries around the world. Sixty-three percent of Muslim Americans are first-generation immigrants, while 37% were born in the U.S. Seventy percent of those born outside of the U.S. are citizens (compared to 47% of foreign-born, on the whole, who are citizens.)

FULL ARTICLE FROM MUSLIM VILLAGE

Syrian Christian Leaders Show Hope in Time of Despair

auto_jarjour1373304046“There will come a time when there will be no more Christians in Syria,” the Syrian Presbyterian Rev. Dr. Riad Jarjour, former General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches, warned recently onJanuary 27, 2014, at Washington, DC’s Heritage Foundation.  Jarjour explained Syrian Christians’ “stage of hopelessness” while “boxed in” by Muslim sectarian fighting in Syria’s civil war during two successive presentations by a Syrian Christian delegation.

The Heritage event and the previous day’s panel at McLean, Virginia’s St. John the Beloved Catholic Church clearly showed the “tragedy of the church in Syria” described at St. John by Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo.  Sookhdeo, chairman of theWestminster Institute and international director of Barnabas Aid, the Syrian delegation’s sponsors, described a “Gethsemane that leads to a potential Calvary.”  One-third of Syria’s two million Christians had fled the country during “perhaps the single greatest humanitarian disaster in the world today.”  During a slide show, Syrian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Bishop Dionysius Jean Kawak at St. John noted United Nations estimates of ten million Syrians needing assistance by the end of 2013.  Food, water, and electricity shortages afflicting the Syrian population marked a “lost generation.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM RELIGIOUS FREEDOM COALITION 

Can a Good Christian Be a Good American?

american-christianityINTRODUCTION

An email has been making the rounds for the last few years.  It is entitled “Can A Good Muslim Be A Good American” and insinuates that the answer is no.  It appears to be gaining a new life and turned up on the Stop the ACLU site today.
RESPONSES

Dr. Abdulaziz Sachedina answered the questions raised in this email from the perspective of an American Muslim

Can a devout Muslim be an American patriot and a loyal citizen? Consider this:

Theologically, no. Because his allegiance is to Allah, the moon god of Arabia.

In the Qur’an, we read that the earth in its entirety belongs to God, and humans can settle anywhere as long as they do not encroach on the rights of others to that piece of land where they will settle. As such, wherever Muslims live, they have the responsibility to defend the community and take care of the environment and other related matters for the good of all. “Patriotism”, in the sense of “love for a place where one lives and has a home and family” is part of one’s faith in Islam. Hence, “loyalty” and “patriotism” to one’s country of residence is an obligation that stems from one’s faith commitment. “Allegiance” to God means allegiance to the betterment of this earth and its inhabitants without the extremes of negative nationalism and patriotism.

Scripturally, no. Because his allegiance is to the five pillars of Islam and the Quran (Koran). Geographically, no. Because his allegiance is to Mecca, to which he turns in prayer five times a day.

In Islam there is no concept of Promised Land to which one day all Muslims must return before the Final Days. There is no allegiance to any part of the earth, not even to Mecca. Allegiance is only to God, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. No Muslim has “allegiance” to the Five Pillars. The Five Pillars are nothing more than the means to show one’s obedience to God. Mecca is important simply because it has one of the holiest places of worship – mosques – built by Prophet Abraham and his son Ismael. No Muslim ever dreams of returning to Mecca for permanent residence. There is always a desire to visit and to worship God in the sanctuary.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE AMERICAN MUSLIM