Immigration Trends for Religious Groups Worldwide: News Roundup

In the news this week: U.S. is top destination for Christian and Buddhist immigrants, some Muslims attend rally supporting NYPD, the new book Religion for Atheists gains attention, and other news.

The U.S. is the top destination for Christian and Buddhist immigrants, according to a study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center, reflecting a decadeslong surge in migration from Latin America and a quest by Chinese to improve their economic lot.
 
The study, which tallied immigrant populations around the world and broke them down by religion, tracked the movement of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and other groups, including agnostics and atheists. It showed 32 million Christian and 1.7 million Buddhist immigrants living in the U.S. as of 2010, and found that a quarter of all Jews are living in a country other than the one in which they were born, making them by far the most migratory religious group in the world. Wall Street Journal
 
Qazi Qayyoom, an imam in Queens, and about three dozen other people on Monday attended the first rally held by Muslims in support of the NYPD following a series of Associated Press stories detailing the police department’s secret surveillance of mosques, Muslim-owned businesses and college campuses across the Northeast since Muslim extremists attacked the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, killing thousands of people.
 
The rally, held by the American Islamic Leadership Coalition outside police headquarters in downtown Manhattan, illustrated a division even among the faith’s adherents about how far authorities should go in seeking to protect the nation’s largest city from terrorists. Other Muslim groups were quick to say the coalition didn’t represent their views. Washington Post
 
After filing a religious discrimination lawsuit on Thursday, the Beren Academy boys basketball team was able to play in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools Class 2A state semifinals on Friday.
 
The semifinals were originally schedule to be at 9 p.m. Friday at Mansfield High School. However, that coincided with the Jewish Sabbath, which begins at sundown tonight and ends at sundown Saturday.
 
After twice having an appeal to reschedule the game to accommodate the school denied by TAPPS, the parents of the players filed a religious discrimination the organization and Mansfield Independent School District.
 
TAPPS promptly rescheduled the game for 2 p.m. Friday at Nolan High. Your Houston News
 
With 500 students, increasing academic prestige and an established soccer team, Iman Academy SW, an Islamic school in Houston, was seeking membership in 2010 to the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, a group that organizes competition among more than 200 schools in the state.
 
In addition to an application form, Iman Academy SW was given a questionnaire that included statements such as, “It is our understanding that the Koran tells you not to mix with (and even eliminate) the infidels. Christians and Jews fall into that category.” NY Times
 
Whether you're religious, an atheist, or somewhere in between, the odds are that you live a broadly secular life. None of the rhythms and structures of your modern life — from your daily routines to your workplace to your vacations — bear the imprint of the religious world. In his new book, Religion for Atheists, the writer Alain de Botton argues that this is a big mistake. Religions, he thinks, contain a lot of practical wisdom, and religious institutions were more insightful and realistic about people than their secular replacements have been. "Even if religion isn't true," he asks, "can't we enjoy the best bits?" Boston Globe
 
French President Nicolas Sarkozy marked a rightward shift in his re-election campaign on Saturday, pledging to cut the number of immigrants and calling for clear labelling of halal meat in a bid to entice voters away from the National Front.
 
Speaking to thousands of flag-waving supporters at a rally in the western city of Bordeaux, Sarkozy vowed to defend secular values in France – which has Europe's largest Muslim minority – and to send a tough message on law and order if he wins a fresh five-year term in a two-round election in April and May. Huffington Post