Prepare New York in the News: News Roundup

In the news this week: a Prepare New York initiative draws thousands of participants, the FBI adjusts their training after criticism, Americans shift towards a la carte religion, and other stories.

In the days leading up to the 10th anniversary, Prepare New York’s 9/11 Ribbons of Hope event drew wide participation from a global audience. Tourists and native New Yorkers alike wrote hopeful messages, prayers, and remembrances on tens of thousands of ribbons that will travel around New York City in the coming months. NY Daily News

Some high profile speakers at the 10th anniversary ceremony in Manhattan included prayers and scripture in their remarks. President Obama and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani read from the Bible and former President Bush read a letter written by Abraham Lincoln that mentions God. This brought additional scrutiny on Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to exclude religious leaders from the ceremony. Christian Post

Imam Rauf, founder of the Cordoba Initiative, the organization behind the lower Manhattan mosque, has dispelled rumors that the project is on hold. "The battlefront that I see is not between Islam and the West or Muslims and America but between all of the moderates and all of the extremists. We have to band together to combat the extremists of all religions," said Rauf.  CNN

The Federal Court of Appeals in Denver is currently deciding whether Oklahoma can ban Islamic law from the state’s courts. So far, the judges have asked why the ban applies to Islam when the Oklahoma Solicitor General claims that the intent was to exclude Sharia law and international law. Oklahoman

Reacting to revelations that FBI training materials cast mainstream Muslims as likely to be violent, terrorist sympathizers, the agency says it is dropping a lecture that criticizes Islam, the Associated Press reports. USA Today

Are those who carry out acts of violence in the name of a religion true followers of that religion, or not? A new survey from Public Religion Research Institute, and a new joint report by PRRI and the Brookings Institution, reveals that Americans apply a double standard when answering this question, depending on whether the perpetrator is Christian or Muslim. More than 8-in-10 (83 percent) Americans say that those who commit violence in the name of Christianity are not truly Christian. On the other hand, less than half (48 percent) of Americans extend this same principle to Muslims. Washington Post

Recently released research indicates that Americans are shifting towards religion tailored to personal needs and interests. Religion Statistics expert George Barna’s new book on U.S. Christians, Futurecast, tracks changes from 1991 to 2011, in annual national surveys of 1,000 to 1,600 U.S. adults. Barna says that for every subgroup of religion, race, gender, age and region of the country, the important markers of religious connection are fracturing. USA Today

Beginning today, praying in the streets of Paris is against the law. The interior minister warned that police will use force if Muslims, and those of any other faith, disobey the new rule to keep the French capital's public spaces secular. Claude Guéant said that ban could later be extended to the rest of France, in particular to the Mediterranean cities of Nice and Marseilles, where "the problem persists". Telegraph

Many atheists acknowledge they have a gender imbalance— men outnumber women at atheist gatherings, both at the podium and in the audiences. No one is suggesting the freethought community is more sexist than other segments of society, but the imbalance has struck a chord, perhaps because atheists pride themselves on reason and logic — intellectual exercises that theoretically compute to equality. USA Today