The Parliament Blog

Archive for the ‘religion news service’ tag

10 Essential Points About the Boston Marathon Bombers, Islam, and America

Digging through misinformation circulating online during last week’s coverage of the Boston marathon bombing was a harrowing process, and it was exhausting. Media pieces that denounced Islamic terrorism in the body of the article were often given sensationalized headlines implicating Islam in the Boston bombs.

In the piece, “10 Essential Points About the Boston Marathon Bombers,” blogger Omid Safi of  What Would Mohammed Do? aptly deconstructs the points of mass confusion surrounding American Islamaphobia, Chechnya, the Tsarnaev brothers, and the Boston marathon bombing.  Safi begins,

“Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the second suspect in the horrific Boston Marathon explosions has been apprehended. Presumably, we can take a break from round-the-clock coverage of the chase that has consumed the nation. Less than 24 hours ago, no one had heard of the Tsarnaev brothers. That’s almost literally true: even their uncle had not heard from them in years. Now they are macabre celebrities whose every online trace is being analyzed for any clue as to what might have led them to commit such atrocities. The breathless analysis of the 24-hour news media continues to offer theories and half-baked motivations even when the basic facts have not been yet gathered.

The ten essential points (visit What Would Mohammed Do?cover what those surrounding the suspect personally thought about them, the elder brother’s alienation from Americans, the lack of knowledge of those reporting on Islam or Chechnya in the 24/7 news cycle, the dangers of social media, the privilege issue of white Americans vs. any others, hate crimes against Muslim Americans, the political motivations of Islamaphobic America, the Islamic word on terrorism, and the evidence proving a disconnect between Muslim life and the lifestyle of the Tsarnaev brothers.

Men and Women As Equal in Muslim Houses of God

Ms. Kadriye Avci Erdemli, Istanbul’s deputy mufti (the second most powerful official in charge of Islamic affairs). Photo from Religion News Service.

by Omid Safi
from Religion News Service

Many people who have set foot inside mosques have noticed with great dismay that the space allotted to women is rarely equal to that of men. This is true in many different countries, including the United States. The largest Muslim organization in the country, Islamic Society of North America, issued a document titled: “Woman Friendly Mosques and Community Centers.”

Now, one country is taking the lead in addressing this important—and embarrassing—shortcoming. It is not the United States, nor one in Europe. It is the same country that is increasingly been seen as a global leader among Muslims: Turkey.

Turkish mosques are among the most beautiful in the world, especially the ones in the grand Ottoman tradition. Now, Turkey is leading an official campaign to create equal prayer spaces for men and women. According to the Atlantic, Ms. Kadriye Avci Erdemli, Istanbul’s deputy mufti (the second most powerful official in charge of Islamic affairs) has stated:

“This is about mosques being a space for women. When a woman enters a mosque, she is entering the house of God and she should experience the same sacred treatment. In front of God, men and women are equal; they have the same rights to practice their religion.”

Erdemli sent 30 teams to all the mosques in Istanbul (reportedly housing more than 3,000 mosques), and they prepared a mandate called “”Beautification of Mosques for Women.”

Click here to read the full article

Michelle Obama: “No Place Better” for Political Issues Than in Church

Photo Credit Wikipedia

First Lady Michelle Obama

by Adelle M. Banks
from Religion News Service

First lady Michelle Obama held up the church as the place to deal with political issues and the catalyst for getting people to the polls in a keynote speech Thursday (June 28) to members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

“You see, living out our eternal salvation is not a once-a-week kind of deal,” she said in a keynote speech at the historically black denomination’s quadrennial General Conference in Nashville, Tenn.

“And in a more literal sense, neither is citizenship.”

She noted that Jesus, too, did not keep his work within the walls of the church.

“And to anyone who says that church is no place to talk about these issues, you tell them there is no place better — no place better,”   she said. “Because ultimately, these are not just political issues — they are moral issues.”

Click here to read full article


Interfaith Leaders Fast to Protest Solitary Confinement

Advertisement for the National Religious Campaign Against Torture’s 23-hour Fasting Solidarity event. Photo from Google Images.

by Chris Lisee
from Religion News Service

An interfaith coalition is urging Congress to end solitary confinement, which they said is a “harmful, costly, and ineffective practice.”

Muslim, Jewish, and Christian faith leaders joined the National Religious Campaign Against Torture to break a 23-hour nationwide fast on Tuesday (June 19) at a press conference following the first-ever congressional hearing on solitary confinement.

“We’re breaking our fast with a commitment that this issue is not over (and) that we’re going to even give more energy to our effort to make sure that no one has to spend time in solitary confinement,” said Richard Killmer, NRCAT’s executive director and a Presbyterian minister.

The earlier hearing before the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights called attention to economic, safety, and moral issues solitary confinement raises.

Click here to read the full article

Beastie Boys Co-Founder, Buddhism, and Islam

Photo of MCA of the Beastie Boys, who became a Buddhist, as well as a champion of mutual understanding between the US and Muslims. Photo from the Guardian

by Omid Safi
from Religion News Service (RNS)

If you are of a certain age (not gonna say it) and your impression of the Beastie Boys ends with “(You Gotta) Fight for the Right (to Party)”, “Sabotage”, or even “Intergalactic”, you might not have been keeping with the evolution of the Beastie Boys from hip-hop punks in the early 80’s to elder statesmen of the Hip-Hop world, converts to Buddhism, and defenders of the Tibetan cause.    Adam Yauch, also known as MCA, was one of the co-founders of Beastie Boys.

Born to a Catholic dad and a Jewish mother, MCA eventually found his spiritual home after meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the 1990’s.  This is how he expressed his own spiritual yearnings:

The feeling I get from the rinpoches and His Holiness [the Dalai Lama] and Tibetan people in general. The people that I’ve met are really centered in the heart; they’re coming from a real clear, compassionate place. And most of the teachings that I’ve read about almost seem set up to distract the other side of your brain in order to give your heart center a chance to open up. In terms of what I understand, Buddhism is like a manual to achieve enlightenment—there are these five things and these six things within the first thing, and all these little subdivisions. And despite all of that right-brain information, it’s very heart-centered. At least that’s the feeling I get from the Tibetans. Also the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism have been passed down for a long time now. They have that system pretty well figured out.

MCA’s passing away was mourned by none other than His Holiness the Dalai Lama:
Adam had helped us raise awareness on the plight of the Tibetan people by organizing various freedom Tibet concerts and he will be remembered by his holiness and the Tibetan people.

Click here to read the full article