Muslim and Jewish American Communities Share Surprising Common Views: News Roundup

In the news this week: the most and least religious colleges, American Muslim and Jewish communities share common views, studies show conflicting results on education and religiosity, and more.

The Huffington Post reviews conflicting studies on the influence of education on religiosity. These studies find that trends are different based on the religious tradition of the individual in question. Researchers of one study reported: "Increased education for mainline Protestants and the nonaffiliated may have created a loss of belief, but for evangelicals, Catholics and black Protestants, it may have altered the nature of belief."

AltMuslim.com analyzes a Gallup Report released last week on the similarities between Muslim American and Jewish American communities. The report, “Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future”, reveals that overwhelming numbers of Jewish Americans believe Muslim Americans are loyal to their country – 80 per cent to be exact. Aside from Muslims themselves, no other religious community demonstrates such confidence in the loyalty of America’s Muslim citizens.

Further, it seems that Jewish and Muslim Americans share a number of common political views – even about issues as contentious as the Middle East conflict. The same study indicates that 81 per cent of Muslim Americans and 78 per cent of Jewish Americans support a two-state solution, which would enable Israel and a future independent Palestinian state to live side by side. While dialogue about the Middle East conflict remains contentious, the vision for a long-term solution appears surprisingly similar.

Princeton Review ranks the most and least religious institutions of higher education. Bennington College in Vermont was found to be the least religious while Brigham Young University was the most religious (CNN). In other college news, Vanderbilt University is allowing excused absences for students wishing to observe Wiccan and pagan holidays (Reuters).

In New York City, a mosque opens on Staten Island with little public outcry (NY Times) and City Council members unanimously passed a bill to protect employees from religious discrimination in response to the New York City Police Department not allowing its Sikh officers to follow religious traditions (NY1).

In other news: