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Religion & Spirituality

Revised: Top 10 Myths About Islam

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  • Introduction to Islam
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  • The Right's Shameful Muslim-Bashing
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  • Five myths about mosques in this country
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Huda, About.com

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Ken Mitchell

Islam is a widely-misunderstood religion. Those who are unfamiliar with the faith often have misunderstandings about its teachings and practices. Common misconceptions include that Muslims worship a moon-god, that Islam is oppressive against women, or that Islam is a faith that promotes violence. Here we bust these myths and expose the true teachings of Islam.

1. Muslims worship a moon-god
Some non-Muslims mistakenly believe that Allah is an "Arab god," a "moon god," or some sort of idol. Allah is the proper name of the One True God, in the Arabic language. The most fundamental belief that a Muslim has is that "There is only One God," the Creator, the Sustainer -- known in the Arabic language and by Muslims as Allah. Arabic-speaking Christians use the same word for the Almighty.

2. Muslims don't believe in Jesus
In the Qur'an, stories about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ (called 'Isa in Arabic) are abundant. The Qur'an recalls his miraculous birth, his teachings, and the miracles he performed by God's permission. There is even a chapter of the Qur'an named after his mother, Mary (Miriam in Arabic). However, Muslims believe that Jesus was a fully human prophet and not in any way divine himself.

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Introduction to Islam, Huda, About.com
What is Islam? The name of the religion is Islam, which comes from an Arabic root word meaning "peace" and "submission." Islam teaches that one can only find peace in one's life by submitting to Almighty God (Allah) in heart, soul and deed. The same Arabic root word gives us "Salaam alaykum," ("Peace be with you"), the universal Muslim greeting.

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The Right's Shameful Muslim-Bashing, The Progress Report

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  • "If the prospect of losing our Constitution to religious government frightens you, don't worry about the tiny Muslim-American minority. Worry about the anti-mosque majority Gingrich is working to mobilize." --Slate Magazine's Will Saletan
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  • Zero Tolerance
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Five myths about mosques in this country, Edward E. Curtis, IV, Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN

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  • Through their mosques, U.S. Muslims are embracing the community involvement that is a hallmark of the American experience. In this light, mosques should be welcomed as premier sites of American assimilation, not feared as incubators of terrorist indoctrination.
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  • Top 10 Myths About Islam
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From Death to Life: Mother forgives son's killer

Johnson and Israel hope to bring other families of violence together for forgiveness. They also plan to write a book together with dreams of eventually building a grief center in north Minneapolis.

Renee Tessman, KARE-TV | MN

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Brigette Menger-Anderson

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\r\nA Minneapolis community is celebrating a powerful story of forgiveness, how a mother's hatred for her child's murderer dramatically changed over 17 years.

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As Oshea Israel described it, "God brought us together."

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By looking at him and Mary Johnson, his arm around her, you'd think they were mother and son. But actually, he's the man who murdered her son, Laramiun Lamont Byrd.

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It happened in 1993. Israel shot Byrd multiple times, his body left outside North Memorial Hospital.

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Families of 9/11 Victims Rally in Support of 51Park Islamic Center

Their group, called September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, will also be joined by at least 40 religious and civic organizations.

CNN

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

Some family members of 9/11 victims will rally today (August 25) in support of the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York City.

Their group, called September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, will also be joined by at least 40 religious and civic organizations, and is expected to announce the creation of a coalition called New York Neighbors for American Values to promote religious tolerance.

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Zero Tolerance, Progress Report, in Newsvine.com

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  • Debate Over Ground Zero Mosque Is About American Values
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  • Right-wing Freak Out
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  • Mainstreaming Bigotry
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  • Mayor Bloomberg Delivers Teary-Eyed Defense Of Ground Zero Islamic Center
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What would Martin Luther King Say? Mosques and the New Jim Crow in America

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  • Muslim Americans are Americans. There can be no government Establishment of Judeo-Christian traditions, and no prohibition on how and where Muslim Americans worship. We are seeing attempts to foment a new Jim Crow, centered on mosques, which involves all the same fear-mongering, segregation, and special pleading for the majority that characterized the old (Jim Crow).
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  • The Community Center at Park 51
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Juan Cole, Informed Comment

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

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The demonstration held on Sunday (Aug 22) against the Park 51 Muslim community center in lower Manhattan was an attempt by the right wing to strike at first amendment freedoms, but at the same time, it was simply a revival of urban policies of discrimination that were routine in the last century.

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That the demonstration had racist overtones is clear from this video of the event at YouTube, which caught the crowd’s harassment of and near attack on an African-American carpenter the rightwingers perceived as a Park 51 supporter. He is caught on audio pointing out that the mob actually did not have the slightest idea what he thought about anything.

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The Community Center at Park 51, Park 51
Park51 will be dedicated to pluralism, service, arts and culture, education and empowerment, appreciation for our city and a deep respect for our planet.  Park51 will join New York to the world, offering a welcoming community center with multiple points of entry.

Healing of Memories Workshop October 25-27

Please pass along to vets, service members, family members, and those who care for them that you know.

Sheila Laughton, Loyola Spirituality Center

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Bob Heberle

The Healing of Memories Working Group of the Warrior to Citizen Campaign at the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College is trying to get the word out about an opportunity to attend a local Healing of Memories workshop. This will be an “open” workshop-- we expect veterans, service members, family members, and those who care for them.  Clergy and spiritual directors are also invited because of their unique pastoral care ministry.  Pain is universal and we all have memories we need to heal.

Attached is registration information for the October Healing of Memories Workshop with Fr. Michael Lapsley.  Attachments include a  one-page flyer suitable for posting and a brochure with insert to register or donate towards scholarships for vets or service members.

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For further information, to register, and/or to make a donation for scholarships, please call Sheila Laughton at 651-641-0008 ext 13 with any questions.

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Please share the workshop information with anyone you think might benefit from this experience.  We are limited to 20 in this workshop but hope to create an "interested" list for future workshops with local facilitators.

40 Religious Leaders Denounce Sarah Palin and Fox’s Hate Speech

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Top Religious Leaders Challenge Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin To Stop Exploiting Fear

Jason Easley, Politicus USA

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

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Forty different Catholic, evangelical, mainline Protestant, Jewish and Muslim leaders and scholars came together to release a statement condemning the hate language of Fox News, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich as it relates to the so called Ground Zero mosque, “Fear-mongering and hateful rhetoric only undermine treasured values at the heart of diverse faith traditions and our nation’s highest ideals.”

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The statement released by Faith In The Public Life condemned the religious bigotry of Gingrich, Palin, and Fox News, “As Catholic, evangelical, mainline Protestant, Jewish and Muslim leaders and scholars committed to religious freedom and inter-religious cooperation, we are deeply troubled by the xenophobia and religious bigotry that has characterized some of the opposition to a proposed Islamic center and mosque near where the World Trade Center towers once stood.”

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Top Religious Leaders Denounce Growing Anti-Muslim Sentiment; Express Support for NY Mosque, Community Center, Faith in Public Life
Challenge Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin To Stop Exploiting Fear

The Right's Shameful Muslim-Bashing, The Progress Report

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  • "If the prospect of losing our Constitution to religious government frightens you, don't worry about the tiny Muslim-American minority. Worry about the anti-mosque majority Gingrich is working to mobilize." --Slate Magazine's Will Saletan
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  • Zero Tolerance
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Christian Fundamentalists Fight for the Right to Discriminate Against People Whose Sex Lives They Don't Like

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The words "religious freedom," in the mouths of social conservatives, mean protecting the right of fundamentalist Christians to persecute others.

Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check

Conscience clauses. They practically have the term “slippery slope” built right into their definition. Anti-choicers started by pushing the idea that pharmacists shouldn’t have to sell contraception if it somehow violates their heartfelt repulsion to what they believe is unapologetic sluttiness.  But did anyone think it would stop there?  Once the idea got loose that you have a right to not do your job if you disapprove of a client’s sex life, the doors were thrown wide open to all sorts of discrimination against customers, followed by a bout of acting like a martyr if you were pushed to do your actual job.

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Well, the movement towards discrimination based on sexuality took a blow last week, when a federal judge ruled in favor of a counseling program that ejected a student who refused to do her job if her clients are gay. To no one’s great surprise, conservative pundits are telling their followers that this means that students in general are now subject to being expelled for holding bigoted beliefs they excuse through Christianity.  This argument is, of course, nonsense. People are allowed to believe whatever bigoted things they want about their fellow human beings. What they aren’t allowed to do is act in bigoted ways contrary to their profession and expect to keep their jobs, a much different thing. A counselor who privately believes homosexuality is a sin but who manages to treat gay clients with respect and according to science-based guidelines (i.e. doesn’t try to convince clients they can change sexual orientation) would have no problem with these restrictions.

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The Right's Shameful Muslim-Bashing

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  • "If the prospect of losing our Constitution to religious government frightens you, don't worry about the tiny Muslim-American minority. Worry about the anti-mosque majority Gingrich is working to mobilize." --Slate Magazine's Will Saletan
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  • Zero Tolerance
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The Progress Report

Six days after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, President Bush delivered a speech at the Islamic Center of Washington, DC, making clear his belief that the Islamic radicals who attacked America did not represent all Muslims. "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam," Bush said. "That's not what Islam is all about." In recent months, however, Bush's message of tolerance has been increasingly rejected by key conservative leaders, many of whom have begun to irresponsibly cultivate fear and hostility toward American Muslims. Journalist Michelle Goldberg wrote that "the hysteria over the Cordoba Initiative" -- the Islamic cultural center to be built in lower Manhattan -- "has marked a tipping point.

Recently, conservatives, including conservative politicians, have indulged in the sort of full-throated, shameless anti-Muslim prejudice more typical of the European far right." While it was tasked with protecting the country, the Bush administration seemed to recognize that alienating Muslims worldwide was a bad idea, even if its actual policies of war and occupation ended up doing just that. Now, however, unmoored from the responsibilities of governance, the American right is unabashedly embracing a platform of blatant fear-mongering and Islamophobia, and promoting a deeply divisive discourse of war between America and Islam.

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Related:

Zero Tolerance, Progress Report, in Newsvine.com

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    \r\n
  • Debate Over Ground Zero Mosque Is About American Values
  • \r\n

  • Right-wing Freak Out
  • \r\n

  • Mainstreaming Bigotry
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  • Mayor Bloomberg Delivers Teary-Eyed Defense Of Ground Zero Islamic Center
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