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Fellow Americans' suspicions frustrate US Muslims

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There is no simple way for American Muslims to move forward.
Top 10 Myths About Islam

Rachel Zoll, Associated Press, in Washington Examiner | DC

Nine years of denouncing terrorism, of praying side-by-side with Jews and Christians, of insisting "I'm American, too." None of it could stop a season of hate against Muslims that made for an especially fraught Sept. 11. Now, Muslims are asking why their efforts to be accepted in the United States have been so easily thwarted.

"We have nothing to apologize for, we have nothing to fear, we have nothing to be ashamed of, we have nothing that we're guilty of — but we need to be out there and we need to express this," said Imam Mohammed Ibn Faqih in a sermon at the Islamic Institute of Orange County in Anaheim, Calif., the day before the 9/11 anniversary.

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Related:

Top 10 Myths About Islam, Huda, About.com

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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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Hate Takes Center Stage

Hate Pastor Terry Jones' plan to burn the Quran comes on the heels of a summer in which Islamophobia ginned-up by the right wing took center stage.

The Progress Report, Think Progress

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Hate pastor Terry Jones and his small Dove World congregation are planning an event to burn the Quran in Gainesville, FL on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. His plan -- dubbed "International Burn a Quran Day" -- has now become a global story that, according to top American commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus, could endanger the lives of American forces and American foreign policy goals. While similar acts from Jones and others went widely ignored in the past -- in 2008 the incendiary Kansas-based Westboro church burned a Quran on a Washington D.C. street --  today they are front-page news.

So what changed? Jones' event comes at the end of a hate-filled summer in which the right wing fostered anti-Muslim vitriol has risen to unprecedented levels. This has led to a growing sense both in the U.S. and around the world that perhaps Jones' hateful plan is not just an isolated incident, but is reflective of an increasingly intolerant America. If  Jones follows through, it will inevitably further endanger our troops and increase animosity toward the United States. But this act of hate -- just like the burning of a cross, or painting of a swastika -- is also about the response it elicits. The response in the form of public statements and counterprotests will likely demonstrate the strengths, not the weaknesses, of American values: a country that not just protects the freedom to demonstrate, while showing that hate-filled individuals such as Jones in no way represent America.

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6 Ways Religious Frauds Try to Make Gays and Lesbians Straight

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Thanks to the unscientific, unregulated underworld of ex-gay therapy, frauds and hacks of all stripes are getting away with any kind of therapy they can think up.

Ted Cox,  AlterNet

The “ex-gay” movement, which purports to save religious men and women from their unwanted same-sex attractions, will resort to any method to scam its unfortunate adherents.

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Earlier this month, Truth Wins Out, an organization run by ex-gay-group watchdog Wayne Besen, released an exclusive video of two men describing how ex-gay life coach Alan Downing had encouraged them in separate counseling sessions to stand before a mirror, undress and touch themselves.

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A significantly older life coach, who also admits to being attracted to men, making 20-something men strip naked in his office? In the unscientific, unregulated underworld of ex-gay therapy, frauds and hacks of all stripes are getting away with any kind of "therapy" they can think up.

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An Open Letter to George W. Bush: Speak Out Against Bigotry

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  • The fearmongers rallying against the "Ground Zero Mosque" are missing the point: messages of hatred get us nowhere. In fact, they hurt us.
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  • Urge President Bush to speak out against bigotry like he did 9 years ago.
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  • What would Martin Luther King Say?
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Human Rights First

9/11 is (less than) a week away. Instead of remembering our loss with an affirmation of our nation's unity and confidence, some politicians are eager to exploit the tragedy of 9/11 to score political points.

The fearmongers rallying against the "Ground Zero Mosque" are missing the point: messages of hatred get us nowhere. In fact, they hurt us.

George W. Bush understood this. When he was president, he said: “America rejects bigotry. We reject every act of hatred against people of Arab background or Muslim faith,” and repeated this message during his presidency. We're urging him to speak out now in an open petition we'll publicize widely. Join our efforts by signing here.

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Related:

What would Martin Luther King Say? Mosques and the New Jim Crow in America, Juan Cole, Informed Comment

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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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Five myths about mosques in this country

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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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Edward E. Curtis, IV, Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN

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In addition to spawning passionate debates in the public, the news media and the political class, the proposal to build a Muslim community center near ground zero in New York has revealed widespread misconceptions about the practice of Islam in this country -- and the role of mosques in particular.

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1) Mosques are new to this country.
Mosques have been here since the colonial era. A mosque, or masjid, is literally any place where Muslims make salat, the prayer performed in the direction of Mecca; it needn't be a building. One of the first mosques in North American history was on Kent Island, Md.: Between 1731 and 1733, African-American Muslim slave and Islamic scholar Job Ben Solomon would regularly steal away to the woods there for his prayers -- in spite of a white boy who threw dirt on him as he made his prostrations.

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Related:

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Top 10 Myths About Islam, Huda, About.com

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    \r\n
  • Introduction to Islam
  • \r\n

  • The Right's Shameful Muslim-Bashing
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