Islamophobia

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It was three days before Rosh Hashanah, and I was predictably anxious about my identity, my life, about my family’s Jewish future. As a good and fractious Jew, I was somewhat ambivalent about which synagogue I would go to: The one I sometimes go to? The one I would never step foot in? The one that I really should create on my own, maybe?

This Rosh Hashanah was different for two reasons. My 87-year old mother, who lives alone 400 miles away in Boston, had pneumonia. So we were on our way to Boston, but I had to honor a commitment to my dear friend Yahya Hendi, who is an imam. He wanted the whole family, the whole world, it seems, but especially Jews and Christians, for an iftar, a very sacred celebration as a part of Ramadan. He wanted us all to share in every aspect of the evening, …

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Trying to figure out why I am always trying to clean up messes that I did not create, messes that I predicted. So here we go again with the dance of clashes that others crave. I will be on Al Hurra at 4 because there are demonstrations happening in response all over the world.

The Obama administration has said that it is concerned about the proposed burning of the Koran by a US church group.

On Tuesday, the White House said that it supported recent comments from General David Patraeus, the chief commander of US and Nato troops in Afghanistan, that the torching could put US troops in the country at risk.

“It puts our troops in harm’s way, any type of activity like  that that puts our troops in harm’s way would be a concern to this administration,” Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, said.

A Church group in

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Hello friends, I want to join Rabbi Arthur Waskow in calling on everyone to read from the Koran on September 11 as an act of solidarity with the Muslim community of the United States as they suffer the insult of the terrible act being committed on that day in Gainesville, Florida.

The best way to resist hatred is with love, humiliation with respect, ignorance with knowledge, alienation with friendship.

Reading from the books that some would burnBy Rabbi Arthur Waskow | 8/31/2010 Devoting Jewish Holidays to Peace Interreligious Relations Rosh HaShanah Yom KippurClick here to see a listing of all recent blog postsIn New York, speaking out for freedom and diversity might mean joining a vigil at 7:15 pm Friday evening September 10 at 51 Park Place [near the Park Place stop of the #2 or #3 subway], the location of the Muslim-rooted community/ cultural center that has been the

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Jeffrey Goldberg writes a simple and devastating piece on Imam Rauf. Here is the man vilified by the neoconservative and right wing mob in the United States.

You can read the full text of his remarks on the B’nai Jeshurun website, but here is an especially relevant portion:

We are here to assert the Islamic conviction of the moral equivalency of our Abrahamic faiths. If to be a Jew means to say with all one’s heart, mind and soul Shma` Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ahad; hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One, not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one, Mr. Pearl.

If to be a Christian is to love the Lord our God with all of my heart, mind and soul, and to love for my fellow human being what I love for myself, then not only am I a

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This will be a long, hard fought battle that will leave Muslims quite weary, but it has been engaged before and successfully won. Just ask Catholics a hundred years ago, or Jews two hundred years ago. This will require persistence, coalition building, compromise, honesty, an evolution in communication skills, and patience above all. But I believe that history demonstrates that Americans of common sense generally win in the long run. I believe we are just witnessing the second wave of organized hatred that comes from political opportunists (who often wear religious garb). It will exhaust itself in embarrassment as it reaches absurd limits. Critics of Islam with legitimate gripes, such as Wafa Sultan, will begin to distance themselves from hatreds they did not intend to unleash, as everyone learns, in every generation unfortunately, that nothing good comes of hate, and the mob is not controllable.

While a high-profile battle rages

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AP: New al-Qaeda leader lived in U.S. for years – USATODAY.com.

— A suspected al-Qaeda operative who lived for more than 15 years in the U.S. has become chief of the terror network’s global operations, the FBI says, marking the first time a leader so intimately familiar with American society has been placed in charge of planning attacks.

Adnan Shukrijumah, 35, has taken over a position once held by 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was captured in 2003, Miami-based FBI counterterrorism agent Brian LeBlanc told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview. That puts him in regular contact with al-Qaeda’s senior leadership, including Osama bin Laden, LeBlanc said.

Shukrijumah (SHOOK’-ree joohm-HAH’) and two other leaders were part of an “external operations council” that designed and approved terrorism plots and recruits, but his two counterparts were killed in U.S. drone attacks, leaving Shukrijumah as the de facto chief and

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Respect partyThe current European headlines are dominated by France and Belgium’s impending face-veil legislation, but there is another, more important, story that isn’t getting as much attention—that of a quiet revolution throughout Europe of Muslim women emerging onto the political scene.

One of the most prominent examples is that of Salma Yaqoob in the UK. Yaqoob, a prospective parliament candidate, is the most prominent Muslim woman in British public life today. She herself wears a headscarf, a powerful symbol of a faith she has accommodated with her passionate leftwing politics. She represents UK’s Respect party and has a pretty good chance of making history as one of the first British Muslim women MPs. There are other Muslim women running for seats in Birmingham, Bethnal Green, Bolton South and other cities.

Sadly, however, by virtue of being both Muslim and women, Yaqoob and others face opposition from all sides who don’t believe …

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A New Age

A New Age

I was impressed by Bill Ayers’ recent public disclosure. His anguished re-reading of the Vietnam Era, his desperate attempt to stop a war that killed millions of Vietnamese people and 60,000 Americans, his remorse over some of the more extreme efforts he made, and his explanation of the principled violent and illegal stands that he took, all suggest a person of conscience and subtlety. I would not have done what he did in those buildings, and I would not demonize a military or country that way his group did, but only because of what I now know about the poison of demonization. In fact the radical right demonized and scapegoated Ayers in order to destroy the candidacy of Barack Obama. Demonization is a problematic domestic political form of terrorism that must resisted. I am both relieved by who is and horrified by what was done to him …

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Joseph Nye reports correctly that Bin Laden skewed the last election in favor of Bush against Kerry by six points due to a strategically released tape right before the election. It is in Bin Laden’s interest to keep a war of civilizations going, which means keeping a Neo-Conservative in the White House. This serves the Civil War he is conducting within Islam. My trouble with this is, what does this say about the American electorate? Why can people be so easily persuaded to become paranoid because one extremist releases a tape? It says that too many of us are manipulated by fear rather than reasoned thinking. We need an electorate in the United States, the most powerful nation on earth, that is up to the challenge of wielding all that global power more wisely.

The Obama campaign should consider apportioning some of those millions of dollars in advertising right now …

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The news is more and more shocking from the pews of the McCain/Palin rallies, but even more so from Palin herself. The flirtation with promoting racial hatred and violence is getting stronger, and they need to be told to stop before they bring the country to the brink. This is a turning point for the United States. Frank Rich warns:

What makes them different, and what has pumped up the Weimar-like rage at McCain-Palin rallies, is the violent escalation in rhetoric, especially (though not exclusively) by Palin. Obama “launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist.” He is “palling around with terrorists” (note the plural noun). Obama is “not a man who sees America the way you and I see America.” Wielding a wildly out-of-context Obama quote, Palin slurs him as an enemy of American troops.

By the time McCain asks the crowd “Who is the

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