In the news this week: the administration adopts new strategy for combating radicalization, Italy proposes a burqa ban, San Francisco’s circumcision ban is nixed permanently, and other news.
White House officials announced a shift in the approach to combating Muslim extremism this week. Plans include identifying accurate educational materials about Islam for law enforcement officers, engaging Muslim-American communities respectfully, and improved information sharing with local law enforcement. The administration also recognized that “inaccurate training” on Islam has occurred in the past and that new materials would be identified and made available online for officials to draw upon. For example, one F.B.I. document used in the past recommended two books by Robert Spencer, an anti-Muslim blogger and author whose work was repeatedly cited in the online manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian accused of killing at least 76 people last month. (NY Times)
A Gallup report release this week found that Muslim Americans are the most optimistic religious group in the United States. Other interesting statistics include: Ninety-three percent of U.S. Muslims said they believe other Muslim Americans are loyal to the country, 92% said they believed that Muslims living in United States had no sympathy for al Qaeda, and 81% believe it is not possible to profile a terrorist based on demographic traits. Muslim Americans were also the group most likely to say they have personally experienced racial or religious discrimination in the past year, by a large margin. (CNN)
Chris Christie (Gov., NJ) announced he was nominating a Muslim to the state Superior Court this past January and received substantial negative attention from anti-Sharia critics. He continued to support Sohail Mohammed, despite the potential backlash, and just this past Tuesday Judge Mohammed was sworn in as Superior Court Judge. Christie says that all the anti-Sharia rhetoric is “just crazy” and that “ignorance is behind the criticism of Sohail Mohammed.” (Star-Ledger)
We often hear people in the West ask where the anti-terrorist Muslim voice is in majority Muslim regions. Well, a Pakistani religious party chief recently stated, ““Islam is a religion of peace and brotherhood and linking terrorism with it is not justified.” (twocircles.net)
Yet another European country is considering a burqa ban. Italy’s proposed law would ban women from wearing veils that cover their faces and, interestingly, the legislation’s main sponsor is a naturalized, Muslim, female immigrant. (Time)
In a final ruling last week, Judge Loretta Giorgi affirmed her tentative ruling from the previous day in which she agreed with the plaintiffs that the proposed San Francisco circumcision ban ballot initiative is “expressly pre-empted” by state law because the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that “circumcision is a widely practiced medical procedure.” (Cleveland Jewish News)
Upon examining 1,800 U.S. adults’ reported religious beliefs, one university professor found that people who continue in their education are more likely to accept that there is truth in more than one religion. (USA Today)