January 12, 2014
While world events play out around the globe, it can be hard to fully grasp the role that religion plays. One local church is helping people better understand the world around them, but not exclusively through Christianity. “Welcome to Christ Episcopal Church if you’re visiting. This is our Tour of Islam,” said Adult Formation Leader at Christ Episcopal Church Charles Crawley. Islam is one of the world’s largest religions, accounting for about 20 % of the earth’s population. But, “people are just trying to understand what it is, because we just don’t have a good basic understanding,” said Crawley.
Kirkwood Professor of Religion Dr. Peter Jauhiainen says people often narrowly define the religion. “That provides a distorted understanding of what it’s all about,” said Dr. Jauhiainen. So Christ Episcopal Church organized its Tour of Islam. The idea is to help people of all faiths have a better understanding of world events and other religions. “We, it seems to me, operate on rumors, on information from people who don’t have a complete understanding,” said Doug Anderson.
Those misconceptions can easily affect how we understand the world around us, both past and present. “The other thing I remember from ’73 is the Arab Oil Embargo. Most of us are old enough to remember 25-cent gas,” said Dr. Jauhiainen.
Organizers say knowing more about our surroundings often leads to knowing more about other people, but simple tolerance isn’t enough. “Tolerance is lower on the diversity scale if you want to speak that way. But to move to acceptance, approval and affirmation of people that are different than us,” said Crawley. “I’m more concerned about understanding broad ideas and movements and changing attitudes, that’s more important,” said Dr. Jauhiainen.
CBS Iowa: http://www.cbs2iowa.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/church-dialogue-islam-24459.shtml
On Thursday, CBS News’ John Miller reported that one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, left a note in the boat he was hiding in during the manhunt after the attack. In it, Tsarnaev reportedly wrote the attack was motivated by the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, where many Muslims have been collateral damage.
Miller reported that the Tsarnaev claimed responsibility for the attack in the note, which he wrote on the interior wall of the boat.
The note, scrawled with a pen on the interior wall of the cabin, said the bombings were retribution for U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, and called the Boston victims collateral damage in the same way Muslims have been in the American-led wars. “When you attack one Muslim, you attack all Muslims,” the note added.
Miller’s sources say the wall the note was written on was riddled with bullet holes from shots fired into the boat. The shots were fired after Dzhokhar came up through the tarp covering the boat amid police fears that he had another bomb.
A student at Florida Atlantic University was suspended from class this month for declining to write the name of Jesus on a piece of paper and step on it.
The Florida Atlantic University junior’s act of reverence resulted in suspension from his college class and a barrage of attention he neither sought nor anticipated.
“The story illustrates the degree to which traditional Christian beliefs are held in contempt in the secular academy [of higher education],” said Patrick McNamara, director of communications for the New York-based Catholic League.
Rotella was in a March 4 lecture in his intercultural communication class when instructor Deandre Poole told students to each write “Jesus” on paper and then step on it. Rotella set his paper on a surface and told Poole he was offended by the request.
“Anytime you stomp on something, it shows that you believe that something has no value,” Rotella explained to Boca Raton’s CBS affiliate. “So, if you were to stomp on the word ‘Jesus,’ it says that the word has no value.”
The New York-based Center on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was among an array of religion-affiliated organizations that defended Rotella, a devout Mormon.
“We love and revere Jesus,” said Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for CAIR. “No Muslim would step on Jesus. If the professor demands it, the proper response for a Muslim is: ‘No, and I’m about to call my lawyer.’”
CAIR’s communication manager, Amina Rubin, said Rotella’s ordeal was a “shocking example of harassment and discrimination.”
“A lot of people tell Muslims that we should be more like Christians and just take it when someone does something irreverent to that which we hold sacred,” Rubin said. “Yet part of being reverent involves standing up, as this student did, when someone tries to denigrate that which is sacred.”
“If we replace ‘Jesus’ with ‘Gandhi’ or ‘Muhammad,’ the liberals in academe should see this sort of thing as harassment and discrimination,” said Rotella’s lawyer, Hiram Sasser–of the Texas-based Liberty Institute, which defends religious liberty.
Super Bowl advertisers have been releasing their commercials earlier and earlier, mostly in an attempt to build social media buzz before the big game. But as advertisers this year are learning, with this new opportunity comes a great deal of risk.
Coca-Cola is running into similar charges of using racial stereotypes from Arab-American groups who are objecting to that company’s use of an Arab man with camels.
But the Arab-American objections to the ad go beyond that simple cliché. In the ad, three groups set off in a race towards a huge bottle of Coke. There is even an interactive element for viewers, who can vote on whether they want the cowboys, bikers or showgirls to reach the bottle first. They cannot, however vote for the Arab man.
Imam Ali Siddiqui, president of the Muslim Institute for Interfaith Studies told NBC News, “The Coke commercial for the Super Ball is racist, portraying Arabs as backward and foolish Camel Jockeys, and they have no chance to win in the world.”
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee is also up in arms. “What message is Coke sending with this?” asked Abed Ayoub, the group’s director of legal and policy affairs. “By not including the Arab in the race, it is clear that the Arab is held to a different standard when compared to the other characters in the commercial.”
Ayoub is intending to reach out to CBS and Coke about changing the ad, which already has close to 1 million views on YouTube and an elaborate, interactive website. “I want to know why this happened and how can we fix this if possible before Sunday,”
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A brutal beating left a beloved grandfather in the hospital Friday night and police want to know if it was an act of hate.
The whole incident apparently started with a simple question and answer, but it ended with the victim bloody and bruised from head to toe. It happened just before 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 24 in Queens.
Ali Akmal laid in his hospital bed in critical condition with wounds and bruises covering most of his body. The 72-year-old was savagely beaten after he went out for his early morning walk on 46 Avenue in Corona last Saturday.
They pretty much tried to kill him, with their hands, their own bare hands and maybe a bat, too. But they pretty much had the mentality that ‘Yeah we have to kill this person,’” the victim’s granddaughter told CBS 2′s Dick Brennan.
Akmal’s tongue was so badly swollen that he couldn’t talk for two days. When he finally could, he told police that when he first encountered the two men, they asked him, “are you Muslim or Hindu?” He responded “I’m Muslim,” and that’s when they attacked.
“Just because we’re Muslim, just because we’re another religion or culture I don’t see why you have to beat that person up. They didn’t do anything to you, they didn’t hurt you,” the victim’s granddaughter said. The crime has been assigned to detectives with the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force.
Who is Quazi Mohammed Nafis? When CBS News asked his father, a banker in Bangladesh, he said he’d spent his life savings to send the quiet, timid boy to college in America.
At a small Missouri college, Nafis struck fellow students from Bangladesh as an intense young man who became more angry and radical over time. But prosecutors say Nafis had formed his plan to attack the U.S. even before he left Bangladesh.
In an interview with CBS News, Loretta Lynch, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York said: “What is clear is that when he arrived here, he had already conceived of the plan to construct a bomb of some sort and of large magnitude and to effect great destruction. What’s also clear is that he had already conceived of the plan to come here and recruit others already in the U.S. to join him, and that’s what he actually set about doing.”
Lynch is the chief prosecutor on the Nafis case. Her office has prosecuted major terrorism cases from the al Qaeda plot to bomb New York subways, to the plot to blow up the fuel lines supplying Kennedy Airport. Lynch says the Nafis case is another reminder of the key role the internet and social media play in terrorism.
When Nafis came onto the FBI’s radar, he was trying to “friend” his way into recruiting small cell.
“This defendant used Facebook. There are internet chat rooms, there are websites, there are blogs devoted to terrorist thinking that are out there that can draw people in,” Lynch said.
- Prosecutor: N.Y. bomb suspect hoped to recruit others
- Accused Federal Reserve bomb plotter’s home country wants details on case
- Alleged Fed Bank bomber raised red flags in college
One of those Nafis recruited turned out to be an informant, who introduced the 21-year-old student to an FBI undercover agent posing as an al Qaeda facilitator. Critics of such sting operations have charged that the government becomes an enabler for a plot that the suspect could never achieve. In this case, the federal prosecutor takes exception.
(CBS/AP) An anti-Islamic advertisement has gone up at several Metro-North Railroad stations in Westchester County.
It reads: “It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.”
The signs were paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, an organization ran by blogger and political activist Pamela Geller. It associates Islam with 19,250 terrorist attacks carried out by extremists since the 9/11. She told CBS radio station 1010 WINS in New York that the sign is intended to tell people that it is not “Islamophobic’ to oppose jihad terror.”
“The ad is just stating a fact. There have been well over 19,000 jihadi attacks since 9/11,” Geller said. “People need to know this. Obviously, everybody is surprised by this number and I think that’s part of the reason why we need to run these ads. People need to know this is going on across the world.”
The Metropolitan Transpiration Authority in New York (MTA) said it doesn’t support the sentiment displayed in the ad but doesn’t bar advertising based on content, according to CBS station WCBS in New York.
WCBS also reported that the American Freedom Defense Initiative previously attempted to place another ad with the MTA that had a picture of a mosque next to a plane flying toward the World Trade towers with the words “Why There?” In a decision earlier this summer, the federal court declared that the MTA would be violating the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s First Amendment rights if they blocked that ad, according to CBS radio station WCBS 880 in New York.
The AFDI’s Pamela Gellar argues that the ad isn’t offensive at all and simply points out facts. “It is, as the ad says, Islamorealistic.” But at least one prominent pro-Israel group disagrees. In a statement to NBC4, the Anti Defamation League said, “We believe these ads are highly offensive and inflammatory. Pro-Israel doesn’t mean anti-Muslim.”
Last month, pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel ads appeared at Metro-North stations.
MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota said the agency may discuss its policies on political ads in September.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Sunday denied questioning President Obama’s Christian faith but said the president has an environmental belief “that elevates the Earth above man.”
Santorum was quoted Saturday as telling an audience in Ohio that although he accepts the president’s Christianity, he believes Obama adheres to “some phony theology. Not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology.”
Asked to explain on the CBS program “Face the Nation,” Santorum framed the issue as a disagreement over global warming and how “radical environmentalists” care for the Earth.
“I accept the fact that the president’s a Christian,” he said. “I just said that when you have a worldview that elevates the Earth above man, and says that, you know, we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the Earth by things that frankly are just not scientifically proven, like for example that politicization of the whole global warming debate, this is just all an attempt to centralize power, to give more power to the government.”
Last month in Florida, Santorum faced criticism when he failed to correct a woman who told him that Obama is “an avowed Muslim.” He was later quoted as saying it wasn’t his job to correct such assertions.