U.S. Muslim Groups Issue Statements to Repudiate Terrorism

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) U.S. Muslim organizations increasingly disagree about the effectiveness of written statements in combating the perception that they are soft on terrorism. But the flurry of statements that emerged after the July 7 London bombings shows that the groups are not abandoning the technique. Here are excerpts from those statements. “We join Americans of all faiths, and all people of conscience worldwide, in condemning these barbaric crimes that can never be justified or excused.

U.S. Muslim Groups Denounce Terrorism, but Is the Message Connecting?

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) “Why haven’t Muslim leaders condemned terrorism?” This is the most common question that Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), gets on a daily basis from media and other inquirers. Nearly four years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 Muslim organizations disagree on the best way to battle the perception that they are soft on terrorists who attack in their religion’s name. At issue is the public relations strategy of U.S. Muslim groups.

In Protest of Catholic Policy, Women Ordained Priests, Risking Excommunication

c. 2005 Religion News Service GANANOQUE, Ontario _ Four women were ordained priests and five women ordained deacons in a ceremony on the St. Lawrence River Monday (July 25) that the official Roman Catholic Church considers invalid. Three female bishops _ two of whom have been excommunicated _ presided at the nearly three-hour service that challenged the church’s longstanding ban on ordaining women. “I firmly believe that we need to break this unjust law and therefore change the system,” Bishop Patricia Fresen of South Africa said Sunday during a press conference.

COMMENTARY: Religion Must Go Beyond Sound Bites to Tell the Fuller Story

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) “How was your trip?” asks a friend. I doubt that he wants the long answer, the full account of two days on the highway and three days visiting family. And yet a simple “Great trip!” seems not enough. So I tell about lunches at my father’s retirement center and golf with my sister, but I skip the cribbage and Scrabble, morning walks, exploring a town where we once lived, long conversations with my wife, and the delight of stumbling upon Markham’s Restaurant in Winfall, Va., which opens once a month to cook spaghetti for longtime customers.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2005 Religion News Service Radio Talk Show Host Draws Ire for Calling Islam `Terror Organization’ (RNS) A national Islamic civil liberties organization and a conservative radio talk show host are squaring off over the host’s on-air reference to Islam as “a terrorist organization.” Michael Graham made his remarks on his Monday (July 25) show, which airs on WMAL-AM in Washington, D.C. “The problem is not extremism, the problem is Islam,” Graham said. “We are at war with a terrorist organization named Islam.” The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based group, called on the station to reprimand Graham for the comments. “Such hate-filled and inflammatory remarks only serve to encourage those who would turn bigoted views into violent or discriminatory actions against ordinary American Muslims,” said Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s communications director, in a statement urging “people of conscience” to contact the station and demand an apology or disciplinary action. The station’s operations director, Randall Bloomquist, said he has received more than 100 e-mails from Muslims criticizing Graham.

World’s second-largest religion considers PR strategy

Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for theWashington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), faces this questions daily: “Why haven’t Muslim leaders condemned terrorism?” Tuesday’s top RNS offering is about U.S. Muslim groups working to battle the perception that they’re soft on terrorists who attack in their religion’s name.

World’s second-largest religion considers PR strategy

Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for theWashington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), faces this questions daily: “Why haven’t Muslim leaders condemned terrorism?” Tuesday’s top RNS offering is about U.S. Muslim groups working to battle the perception that they’re soft on terrorists who attack in their religion’s name.

Debate over roadside shrines

Annie Laurie Gaylor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation “There’s this tendency to litter our landscape with crosses without considering whether this is the best way to memorialize your loved one. We can all feel sorrow about a roadside accident, but do we have to be preached at every time we drive by?” -Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wis., commenting on roadside memorials placed in memory of victims of traffic fatalities. She was quoted by USA Today.

Debate over roadside shrines

Annie Laurie Gaylor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation “There’s this tendency to litter our landscape with crosses without considering whether this is the best way to memorialize your loved one. We can all feel sorrow about a roadside accident, but do we have to be preached at every time we drive by?” -Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wis., commenting on roadside memorials placed in memory of victims of traffic fatalities. She was quoted by USA Today.

The `Govenor’ Raps for Christ

c. 2005 Religion News Service NEW ORLEANS _ For the first few moments on stage, young Govenor Reiss _ his stage identity is simply “Govenor” _ looks like many a rapper grown too hard, too fast on New Orleans’ streets. Both arms are heavily tattooed, wrist to shoulder. An Asian symbol for “soldier” peeks over his collar near his throat. Other tattoos chronicle his story: “Dust Be My Destiny” is emblazoned on his left upper arm; his old neighborhood turf, “Skyview,” wraps around his left shoulder, front to back.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2005 Religion News Service U.S. Islamic Group Launches Campaign to Combat Home-Grown Terrorism (RNS) An Islamic organization has launched a national campaign that proposes an expansion of Muslim youth in scouting as one way to combat terrorist ideology, violence and extremism within the American Muslim community. The Washington-based Muslim American Society (MAS) announced its “Faith Over Fear and Justice for All” campaign at a Monday (July 25) news conference, proposing seven “action items” that the American Muslim community should implement. Included in the list is an increase in the number of Boy and Girl Scout troops and youth centers available to Muslim youth “to inculcate in our youth the proper understanding of Islam, help them fulfill all their potential, and keep them out of range of extremism and moral vices.” Also proposed was a program in which the MAS would work with local imams, or Muslim religious leaders, to “leave no chance for terrorists and their views to creep into our community.” In addition, the group proposed an increased outreach effort to prevent terrorist ideology from being the most common view of Islam. It also suggested a focus on alleviating through diplomatic means social injustices that are often cited by terrorists as justifications for their acts.

COMMENTARY: In Africa, Too Much Grief, Not Enough Care

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) We are American Christians of African descent. We have seen the fight for apartheid. We participated in Live Aid concerts and hummed to the melody of “We Are the World.” We have witnessed plane after plane, ship after ship carrying manna from heaven _ abundant amounts of food for the people of Africa. Together, we share a commitment with millions of missionaries and active socially minded groups around the world to “feed the hungry, heal the sick and to get at liberty those who are oppressed.” So why are there still so many admonitions to keep caring for Africa?

COMMENTARY: Bush’s Wise Choice Could Help Close Religious and Cultural Divide

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) President Bush’s nomination of John Roberts to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court appears to have been a master stroke for the president. It may also contribute to the healing of our religious and cultural divisions if the confirmation process is handled appropriately by all concerned. President Bush faced a demanding political challenge in making this decision. His own conservative base demanded a recognizably conservative nominee.

Rapper talks about Christianity; Promise Keepers celebrates anniversary; aid to Africa is not enough

Today RNS features stories on Christian rapper Govenor Reiss, who raps at churches, youth revivals and mission tents in the housing projects of New Orleans; the 15th anniversary and 20-city nationwide tour of Promise Keepers, the Christian men’s movement that is trying to make the transition from the phenomenon it was in the early 90s to a lasting mission agency; commentary from T.D. Jakes and Andrew Young on aid to Africa; and commentary from David P. Gushee regarding the possibility that Bush’s nomination of John Roberts for the Supreme Court will help close the religious divide.

Rapper talks about Christianity; Promise Keepers celebrates anniversary; aid to Africa is not enough

Today RNS features stories on Christian rapper Govenor Reiss, who raps at churches, youth revivals and mission tents in the housing projects of New Orleans; the 15th anniversary and 20-city nationwide tour of Promise Keepers, the Christian men’s movement that is trying to make the transition from the phenomenon it was in the early 90s to a lasting mission agency; commentary from T.D. Jakes and Andrew Young on aid to Africa; and commentary from David P. Gushee regarding the possibility that Bush’s nomination of John Roberts for the Supreme Court will help close the religious divide.