American Muslim Veteran Sues NYPD: News Roundup

In the news:   An American Muslim veteran sues the NYPD, faith in religious institutions diminishes, Muslim extremists are most concerned about foreign intrusions, and other stories.

Syed Farhaj Hassan, a veteran, said that he’s been “betrayed” by the New York City police department for its years of post-9/11 spying on Muslim communities in New Jersey.
 
Hassan signed on recently to be the lead plaintiff in the first lawsuit to challenge any portion of the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims — a systematic program that has gone on both in New York and across state borders.
 
"I was upset that this was happening to a community, simply based on their faith,” Hassan said.
 
“The same thing can happen to Jewish Americans; the same thing can happen to Shinto Americans; the same thing can happen to Buddhist Americans,” he went on, leaning across a table and slicing the air with his hands to emphasize his point. “In this case, it happened to Muslim Americans.” Religion News Service
 
A fresh update to Gallup's annual "Confidence in Institutions" survey reveals that only 44 percent of Americans today have "a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in 'the church or organized religion.'" Americans ranked organized religion at the top of their confidence list almost every year from 1973 to 1985. Now it is tied with the medical system.
 
However, such a low vote of confidence is relative in this survey. Trust in organized religion still ranks fourth out of the 16 institutions tested, including public schools, banks, and television news — which also hit all-time lows in June's poll. Christianity Today
 
Muslim extremists are more concerned with defending against foreign intrusion than foisting Islam on the world, according to a new study of extremist texts. The study suggests that a Western approach of claiming extremists are seeking world domination is misdirected, and instead should seek to counteract claims of victimhood.
 
"Continued claims to the contrary, by both official and unofficial sources, only play into a 'clash of civilizations' narrative that benefits the extremist cause. These claims also undermine the credibility of Western voices, because the audience knows that extremist arguments are really about victimage and deliverance," write the researchers, Jeffry Halverson, R. Bennett Furlow and Steven Corman. CNN
 
The Episcopal Church on Tuesday approved an official liturgy for blessing same-sex unions, enabling priests who have the approval of their bishops to bestow the church’s blessing on gay couples whether they live in a state where same-sex marriage is legal or not.
The adoption of an official rite, significant in a church in which liturgy is central, further solidifies the Episcopal Church’s shift to the left on sexual minorities. A day earlier, the church voted to approve a nondiscrimination policy that will allow transgendered people to be ordained to the priesthood. New York Times
 
According to a nationwide survey conducted by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, the most extensive look at black women’s lives in decades, black women are among the most religious people in the nation. Although black men are almost as religious as their female counterparts, there is a more stark divide along racial lines.
 
The survey found that 74 percent of black women and 70 percent of black men said that “living a religious life” is very important. On that same question, the number falls to 57 percent of white women and 43 percent of white men. Washington Post