Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bomb suspects, reportedly wrote that “an attack against one Muslim is an attack against all” on the wall of the boat in which he was hiding from police last month. Variations of this refrain seem to be common among angry young Muslim men, especially those who are attracted to violence. However, such a view ignores history, religious thinking and contemporary reality. It should be seen as a crass advertising slogan rather than a declaration of belief.
But this time, there is a change in rhetoric of how potential suspects are identified, particularly if they are Muslim. It is because of this change we are learning to move past paralyzing fear and maturing in how we think of what it means to be American.
Desmond Tutu, the former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town who fought against apartheid in South Africa, was named the 2013 Templeton Prize winner Thursday. What Tutu shows is that theology is not divorced from the world, says Hussein Rashid, an associate editor at Religion Dispatches. Religion can help us understand the world and engage with modernity. "We can start exploring ways in which theology, study of religion and activism are all interrelated and interconnected in order to build healthy and more resilient communities," Rashid said. The Templeton Prize comes with a $1.7 million award, is given annually by the John Templeton Foundation.
As the Supreme Court considers two cases on gay marriage this week, arguments on both sides of the issue are heating up. Perhaps it’s worth reconsidering whether the state should be involved in the institution of marriage to begin with, says Hussein Rashid, an associate editor at Religion Dispatches. “The state should not be involved in matters of religious duties and obligations,” he says.
In February, U.K. based Muslim MP Sadiq Khan received death threats for voting in favour of same-sex marriage. Ignoring Muslim voices that condemned these threats, many commenters generalized and stereotyped the entire Muslim community.
By the end of last February, after Patheos first covered the breakdown of trust between the NYPD and the area Muslim community, the trust deficit grew even deeper when a series of ongoing articles from the Associated Press exposed wide-reaching domestic surveillance programs set up for the NYPD by the CIA. The last straw came with the report that the NYPD had been conducting secret surveillance on Muslim Student Associations at 16 colleges across New York and northeastern United States. Click here to see how several NY-area academics, activists and students reacted to the news.
Islamophobia is alive in America, and Hussein Rashid sees it playing out among Sikhs, often mistaken for Muslims. In the most recent example, a member of her own party mistook a Californian GOP candidate, who is Sikh, for being a Muslim. “The reality is that Islamophobia has very real consequences and more and more victims of Islamophobia and Islamophobic rhetoric tend to be non-Muslims,” Rashid said.
Joining Dr. Scott for this look at humanity’s pursuit of religious liberty in America and around the world, are guests: Dr. Hussein Rashid, Associate Editor, Religious Dispatches; The Reverend Lynn Sullivan, Associate Minister, Garden City Community Church; Dr. Richard Dina, Senior Consultant, Adelphi University’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership; and Rabbi Dr. Barry Dov Schwartz, Chaplain, Nassau County Police Department, Mercy Medical Center and Adelphi University.
Interviews with Hofstra Hillel Rabbi Dave Siegel, the Catholic campus chaplain Father Gregory Rannazzisi, and professor of religion Hussein Rashid shed light on how religion affects the issues and how it will influence the conversation between candidates and voters.