Promoting unity among people of faith (or no particular faith) in the 21st Century.

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10 Essential Links of Our Time (or at least, recent days)

September 16th · No Comments · Catholic, Focolare, Islam, Jesus, Jewish, Muslim

Who’s afraid of shariah? by Sumbul Ali-Karamali, self-described “pledge-of-allegiance-reciting, California-raised Muslim girl.” Also an attorney with an additional degree in Islamic law — and among the most delightful writers around. Note the additional Essential Links in her penultimate paragraph:

So the best thing to do is find out what Islam really is about. Talk to a Muslim in person. Read an introduction to Islam (try a fun one like mine). Read Loonwatch to read about the holes in the anti-Islamic rhetoric. Or take a look at the University of Georgia’s informational website on Islam for some quick answers and further reading. If you read the anti-Islam fear-mongering websites, all you’ll learn will be tall tales.

Top Ways 9/11 Broke Islamic Law (and other Informed Comment by U. of Mich Prof. Juan Cole):

Bin Laden is not a proper Muslim, and his actions contravened Islamic law. He is a Jim Jones-type cultist with a fringe, violent People’s Temple. Americans need to stop blaming Islam, and to recognize that most Muslims in the world are their friends, and that American Muslims are patriots and contributors to our well-being. Every time Americans tear down Islam, Bin Laden gets a little bit of what he wanted.

Rabbi Bruce Warshal, Florida Jewish Journal: Shame on America, Jews and ADL. Quibble if you will. But a must-read essay:

To begin, the mosque controversy does not involve a mosque. It is planned as a 13-story community center encompassing a swimming pool, 500-seat performing arts center, gym, culinary school, restaurant and, yes, a prayer space for Muslims, which already exists in the current building…I guess that we are now at the point in America where Jews can have our JCC’s and Christians their YMCA’s, but Muslims are not wanted.

Mosque Hysteria, by the editors of America magazine, the national Catholic Weekly:

But what the “no mosque” pundits cannot deny is the sour contribution they have made to respectful, rational dialogue in U.S. civic life. Words have consequences; rhetoric is not disconnected from action. Mr. Enright may be unbalanced, and what little self-restraint he possessed may have been broken by alcohol. But civic leaders promoting intolerance and fear cannot offer even these excuses. The voices raised against Park51, formerly called Cordoba House, which would be run by precisely the kind of moderate Islamic leadership the United States should be encouraging, have stirred up an unpleasant neo-nativist brew across the nation….Political and religious leaders must cease waffling on this issue and unequivocally support both the right of Muslim citizens to build a place of community and worship—open to all—and the appropriateness of building in proximity to a place where cunning and cruelty took the lives of so many.

The Focolare Movement. I know no more “gen-u-wine Christians,” as one brother described them, than these who truly live what that great teacher Christ Jesus (peace be upon him) taught. Note their unprecedented years of loving relationships with Muslims and others, here in the U.S. and in more than 180 other countries. They are among my teachers and my dear sisters and brothers in faith:

The way of dialogue has emerged as the best way to contribute to the fulfilment of the testament of Jesus: “may they all be one”. This is His plan for unity, for brotherhood and sisterhood in the human family, and the purpose for which the Focolare Movement was born.

Muslims and Islam Were Part of Twin Towers’ Life. Right up until its destruction on 9/11, there was a Muslim prayer room on the 17th floor of the WTCs South Tower. This was essential knowledge for fair-minded folks in the face of the culture warriors’ emotional onslaught. Yet astonishingly our news organizations neglected to share this detail in the weeks of shamefully mislabeling the Cordoba Initiative’s proposed Islamic community center (Quick! Hide the women and children!!!) “THE MOSQUE AT GROUND ZERO.” Of the reports I’ve seen, Keith Olbermann’s best reflects my sentiment:

Throughout this stupid, childish, xenophobic debate, there was nobody who mentioned this stunningly relevant fact until (New York Times religion columnist Samuel Freedman) this past Saturday, September 11th…There were two Mosques in Ground Zero the moment it became Ground Zero.

Also, check Jason Linkins’ Anatomy of an Epic Media Failure:

As soon as the media saw themselves a shiny shiny shining thing shining shinily in New York City, they pounced! How perfect! Something for us to talk about during the slow-news summer! I mean, we could talk about the nation’s unemployment crisis, but that would mean we’d have to talk to poor, jobless people, and there’s no currency in having access to a bunch of poors. Right away, they accepted the premise that this was a “Ground Zero mosque,” when it wasn’t. And so, by the power vested in the media, things that weren’t in fact true were accorded the privilege of being “one side of a great debate” and “an interesting point of view.”

More than 10, I know. But I hope you appreciate (and share) some of these.

— C.B. Hanif

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