News and Analysis (12/23/14)

Karen Armstrong sets out to dispell the bogeymen “that the idea that religion is a gratuitous cause of violence, whose elimination would promote peace[,] … that Islam is an egregious case of a religion that inspires violence[, and] that … the ‘Christian’ … is a more benign global force”:

“[H]alf of SALAM’s congregation is under 30, [the imam] characterized his clash with the board as “a struggle between two generations …, young and the old, the progressive and conservative, people who would like to maintain the status quo and those who would like to break through the roof”:

Instead of putting British Muslims on a one-dimensional “spectrum from ‘extremist’ to ‘normal’ … Bowen has produced a mapping of the adaptations – and maladaptations – that various forms of institutional Islam have made to British society, and their continuing closeness to [their] societies and histories of origin:

“[T]he staying power of PEGIDA in Dresden underlines a gap between East and West Germany, in which the former faces higher unemployment, exclusion, and crucially, far lower rates of immigration – and consequently less tolerance” …

… “Pegida’s organisers have been branded “Nazis in pinstripes” by the centre-left Social Democrats in the ruling coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.”:

“Diversity is not a curse from God. It is a blessing, for in diversity we are saved from the withering effects of uniformity, from the boredom of the sameness…. One Quranic verse is particularly helpful in this regard:  ‘We made you into tribes and nations (different) so that you may know each other.’ (49:13)”:

If we “don’t hear the Muslim leadership speaking out against the radicals … [m]aybe we’re not listening hard enough (or it isn’t being reported enough)”:

“Religious leaders from the St. Cloud area are standing with the Muslim community after a mosque was damaged by vandals four times in one month”:

UN Reports  said that “displaced Muslim residents, forced to escape the conflict in other parts of CAR over the past 12 months, were now trapped in camps in the western half of the country, living in abysmal conditions and under constant duress”:

“Despite losing fighters by the hundreds, the IS has proved difficult to stamp out, maintaining a solid foothold in the frontier town. IS has also kept a grip on 381 villages in the wider district, villages the jihadi group seized with alarming speed in September”:

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