Moozweek: A weekly round-up of news about Muslims and Islam in America and abroad.
Stoking the base
The age of Obama may be drawing to a close, but demonizing Muslims is still a surefire way to stoke up the base, this time for the 2016 elections. Over at Slate.com, William Saletan shows how Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul are ginning-up voters with simplistic anti-Muslim messages. Again.
Presidential quotes on Muslims
While the above potential White House candidates may not sound very presidential, the Islamic Circle of North America, for Presidents Day, has put together a short list of quotes by American presidents about Islam to remind us what presidential sounds like.
Muslims train for emergencies
Bergen County, N.J., needed to recruit members for a volunteer emergency response program. Bergen County Muslims wanted to become more involved in community affairs. The result: About 150 young Muslims completed basic training in a Community Emergency Response Team program where they learned first aid techniques, CPR, and terrorism awareness, and are now part of a team of 7,000 volunteers the state can call on when disaster strikes.
The Muslims also taught the trainers a thing or two. For example, as Bergen County Record reporter Allison Pries noted, Muslims corrected a part of the CERT curriculum that implied Muslims condone terrorism. “There is no religion that condones violence,” said new volunteer, Zillehuma Hasan.
New Jersey Muslims also helped after Super Storm Sandy.
But perhaps the best “Muslim American emergency response” story came in the wake of Hurricane Katrina when Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian-born Muslim in New Orleans, paddled around the city in his second-hand canoe to ferry neighbors to higher ground. Police mistook him for a terrorist and detained him for 23 days without charge. His story was told by author Dave Eggers, but since then Zeitoun has reportedly taken a radical and violent turn.
Also in New Jersey, a haven for Syrians fleeing the horrors of war.
Islamophobic police trainer
The Sheriff of Culpeper County (Va.) is hosting a three day training retreat hosted by John Guandolo. The former FBI agent claimed CIA director John Brennan is a secret Muslim, and that Muslims have no First Amendment rights. He is a “former” agent because he resigned a few years ago, before he could be investigated for misconduct.
Murfreesboro mama blogs, speaks
Murfreesboro, Tenn., is in the news again, but not for the years-old and still-running story about local Islamophobes trying to shut down a local mosque. Rather, The Daily News Journal of Murfreesboro has a video profile of USA Today reporter-turned-mom Salina Khan, who is back to writing. Her blog The Perfectionistas looks at four famous women from history and how Muslim women can draw on them for guidance. The four include Asiya, the foster mother of Moses; Mary Mother of Jesus; Khadija, the wife of Prophet Muhammad; Fatima, the prophet’s daughter.
“I try to do what’s right even if that means ruffling feathers,” said Khan in the video.
Vandals hit Islamic school in Massachusetts, mosque in Illinois
Vandals smashed computers and dumped books at Alhuda Academy in Worcester, Mass. The pre-K to 8th grade school, which opened in 2001, has about 110 students. It is not to be confused with recent attacks on a proposed mosque in Worcester Park, England.
In Illinois, vandals spray-painted hateful obscenities on a mosque in the town of Gurnee, and the same night a nearby Greek Orthodox Church was attacked. Is it possible the same vandals attacked two houses of worship and mistook the church, with its dome, for a mosque? How did they not see the cross atop the dome?
Is Quebec becoming the Oklahoma of Canada? Like the Sooner State, Quebec is earning a reputation that is bad for Muslims, thanks to a string of Islamophobic incidents that suggest Canadians don’t lack chauvinism. The rise in anti-Muslim attacks coincides with a push by a Quebec nationalist party to introduce the Quebec Charter of Values, which apparently allows the government to tell people what they can and can’t wear. Of course, the people of Quebec are not a monolith.
Oklahoma congressman silent
Idaho community gets a mosque
A Pocatello planning a development board has given the Islamic Society of Southeastern Idaho permission to convert a Mexican restaurant into a mosque. The board approved the mosque despite some people saying a mosque would make them feel unsafe. Idaho hasn’t always been hospitable.
Monitor does Muslims
Islam for journalists
The Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University has released “Islam for Journalists: A Primer on Covering Muslim Communities in the U.S.” The new guide was produced by the same people who created the “Covering Islam in America” guide for the Poynter Institute.
Schisms old and new play a large part in shaping the Syrian War. The Independent takes readers through a detailed history of the Sunni-Shiite schism — but also acknowledges that Sunni-Shiite relations over the centuries have been good, for the most part. The story shows how Sunni-Shiite divisions are fueling much of the violence in Syria today. Meanwhile, terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria continue inflicting violence, according to these videos from The Guardian and CNN.
Muslims find safety in churches
Muslims fleeing violence and ethnic-religious cleansing in the Central African Republic are finding shelter in churches, according to RNS correspondent Frederick Nzwili. Muslims are able to take shelter in churches, one pastor said, is because the country’s religious leaders believe this is not a religious conflict.
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws criticized
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have been widely abused in Pakistan where nearly 250 cases affecting 435 people have been registered since 1987. While no one has been executed, 52 people charged with blasphemy have been killed by vigilantes. But that may be changing, as Pakistanis and people outside of Pakistan have had enough.
The joy of curating Islamic art
OnIslam.net has an interesting interview with Rebecca Bridgman, curator of Islamic and South Asian art at the Birmingham Museum. She talks about how she became interested in Islamic art (working on the Red Sea coast in Egypt), what her job entails (reviewing and selecting cool art) and what she’s working on next (a show featuring Middle Eastern photography).
Venice split on Islamic art museum
While England has many museums with Islamic art, a proposed Islamic art museum for Venice is drawing praise from some Venetians, but upsetting others.
Man of the Match