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Combat Extremism: Get the Facts on Islam Diversity

Have you seen the recent #Notinmyname social media campaign? It’s an initiative led by young British Muslims to show defiance and solidarity against ISIS and the terrorist group’s actions. Their goal? To see how a “simple message” can show the world how ISIS misrepresents Islam.

Projects like this remind us of the great diversity among followers of Islam (and indeed all religions).
No one group is the voice for all Muslims.

Today, Tanenbaum therefore shares another practical resource for you to use at home, in the classroom, with your congregation or in your community.

Read, download, and share! Challenge others to ask questions, research the answers, and counter those who stereotype an entire religion. Know the facts and stand up against Islamophobia!

Together, we can become more informed citizens as we work to prevent violent extremism. Peace begins with us.

Texas Mother writes blog about raising her children without God: News Roundup

In the news this week, a godless Texas mother strikes a chord with parents, Dalai Lama says gang rapists should not be executed, religious tensions over prayers cast shadow on President Obama's inauguration, and other stories. 

Mitchell, a mother of two teenagers in Texas who feels “immersed in Christianity,” started a blog about raising her children without religion because she felt frustrated and marginalized. She didn't want to feel so alone, she says.

This week, she gained a whole new audience and the reassurance that she's not alone. Her essay on CNN iReport, "Why I Raise My Children Without God,” drew 650,000 page views, the second highest for an iReport, and the most comments of any submission on the citizen journalism platform. CNN

One of the world's most respected spiritual leaders has asked that mercy be shown in the case of the men accused of last month's brutal gang rape and murder of a woman on a bus in New Delhi. During a panel discussion this week at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival in Jaipur, India, His Holiness the Dalai Lama touched on the controversial trial that began Thursday in the bustling Indian city.

The five men on trail could be hanged if they are convicted, according to the Associated Press. The family of the 23-year-old victim, who succumbed to her injuries two weeks after the attack, have called for the execution of all the accused. But the Dalai Lama, during his apperance at the Jaipur festival, demurred.

“I do not like the death sentence,” he said, adding that there are other ways to deal with the alleged perpetrators, according to English-language Indian news outlet the Hindu. The Huffington Post

There may be no clearer reflection of this moment in American religious life than the tensions surrounding prayers at President Barack Obama's inauguration. Efforts by the Presidential Inaugural Committee to bridge the conservative-liberal divide by including an evangelical failed. Atlanta preacher Louie Giglio, known for his work to end human trafficking, withdrew from giving the benediction after the liberal group ThinkProgress found a sermon he gave in the 1990s, condemning gay relationships.

Meanwhile, the first lay person has been asked to give the invocation, at a time when the number of Americans with no formal religious ties has hit a high around 20 percent. The prayer will be delivered by Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights hero Medgar Evers. The ceremony Monday falls on the federal holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The Huffington Post

LISTS have a terrible resonance for Hungary’s Jews. When the Nazis invaded in March 1944 they used the lists of members of the Jewish community to organise one of the swiftest and most efficient episodes of the Holocaust. With the ready assistance of Hungarian officials and the Gendarmerie 430,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz in a few weeks, most to their deaths. On some days the gas chambers and crematoria processed more than 1,000 people an hour.

So when Márton Gyöngyösi, a member of the far-right Jobbik party, called in parliament for Hungarian Jews to be catalogued and screened as potential national security risks, it triggered a wave of revulsion and condemnation. “I think now is the time to assess…how many people of Jewish origin there are here, and especially in the Hungarian parliament and the Hungarian government, who represent a certain national security risk for Hungary," said Mr Gyöngyösi. In his point of view the screening was necessary as Hungary had sided too readily with Israel during the recent conflict in Gaza. The Economist 

World Peace Wednesdays: Meet Nozizwe

For our first “World Peace Wednesday" blog entry, we’d like to introduce you to Tanenbaum Peacemaker in Action Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, who shares how the end of South Africa's apartheid regime gave her hope that peace is possible through interreligious understanding.

Nozizwe, a South African pacifist, anchored by her Quaker faith, has dedicated her life to peacefully seeking social justice.

Nozizwe first became politically active in the 1970s, amidst the oppressive conditions of South Africa's apartheid regime. Nozizwe was jailed three times for her affiliation with the African National Congress, the last time spending one year in solitary confinement without a trial.

After her release, Nozizwe went on to mediate intra-black conflicts outside of Durban, and helped draft an historic, post-apartheid constitution for South Africa in 1991. Until August 2007, Nozizwe served as South Africa's Deputy Minister of Health, leading an effort to ensure that AIDS patients receive the best possible treatment.

Learn more about Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge's role as a peacemaker.

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This video was made possible by grants from Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Henry Luce Foundation. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of Tanenbaum. Tanenbaum's Peacemakers in Action program is also supported by the Leir Charitable Foundations.