What can YOU do about extremism?

Dear Friends,

As we send out this month’s Combating Extremism campaign materials, we pause to note the attack this week at Ohio State University.

The perpetrator was Somali and Muslim. Those are facts. But another fact is that the motive for the incident has not yet been determined. And yet, the profile of the attacker will cause some people to jump to conclusions. To stereotype. We must not only resist this temptation ourselves, but also actively help others avoid doing so. There is yet one more important fact: many terrorist acts in the U.S. are not committed by Muslims, immigrants, or refugees. Rather, a large number are committed by people from other groups—often white supremacists.

It reminds us why, when we asked you what you thought of extremism, you had a lot to say. Including strong opinions about what each of us can do—starting with education.This month’s Combating Extremism materials will help you do exactly that – providing techniques to counter misinformation, stereotypes and the resulting alienation that can fuel extremism … because how we teach can be as important as what we teach, and how we speak can be as important as what we say.

Take a look and let us know what you think:

Please download, share and use our monthly resources. Encourage friends, neighbors, educators and community leaders to sign up to receive our free Combating Extremism materials.

In the words of one survey respondent, “[Extremism] starts with the average person, and it is with the average person it might end. Indeed, what can an average person not do about extremism!”

In solidarity,
Joyce S. Dubensky

Growing Religious Intolerance in Pakistan: Top 5 News Stories

Religions asking if test-tube burgers allow them to keep the faith •  Indonesian president worried by growing religious intolerance • Lutherans elect Elizabeth Eaton first female presiding bishop of ELCA • Hindu groups in US protest religious discrimination in Pakistan • Man held after Buddhists use Malaysia Muslim prayer room​

Last week's top stories, from our perspective:

Religions asking if test-tube burgers allow them to keep the faith
A biologist from Maastricht University presented meet grown in-vitro from the stem cells of a cow. Is it possible that religious authorities will give this new food their approval? If so, what does this mean for halal and kosher meats? Abdul Qahir Qamar of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in Saudi Arabia has said that as long as the cells are not banned under the halal laws, in-vitro meat "will not be considered meat from live animals, but will be cultured meat."

Indonesian president worried by growing religious intolerance
According to Human Rights Watch, more than 260 violent incidents occured against religious minorities in Indonesia. The country's president, Susilo Bamban Yudhoyono, has said that he is working to curtail corruption but others in the country say otherwise. 

Lutherans elect Elizabeth Eaton first female presiding bishop of ELCA
Rev. Elizabeth Eaton is the first female presiding biship of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which is the United States' largest Lutheran body — with more than 4 million members in 9,638 congregrations.

Hindu groups in US protest religious discrimination in Pakistan
A group of US-based Hindu organizations gathered in Manhattan near Pakistan's consulate to voice concern against religious discrimination of Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and others in Pakistan. Narain Kataria, organizer of the rally said "This is nothing but religious apartheid for the entire world to see. Almost all the Hindus and Sikhs have been religiously cleansed from Pakistan with the blessings of the government." 

Man held after Buddhists use Malaysia Muslim prayer room
RA resort owner in Malyasia faces up to two years in jail for allowing a Buddhist to use the resort's Muslim prayer room because no other hall was available. The owner is now being investigated for "defliing a place of worship with intent to insult the religion."