American University

Are Christians paying enough attention to religious-liberty issues for Muslims?

Are Christians paying enough attention to religious-liberty issues for Muslims?

At the end of the Obama era, conservative U.S. Christians are expressing more worries about their religious liberties than they have for a very long time.

Yet devout Muslims face their own challenges. So journalists might ask Christian strategists whether these rival religions might unite on future legal confrontations and, right now, whether they support Muslims on, say, NIMBY disputes against mosques, while also asking Muslim leaders about Christians’ concerns.

As Christianity Today magazine editorializes in the June issue, the U.S. “will be stronger if people of faith -- not just of Christian faith -- are free to teach and enact their beliefs in the public square without fear of discrimination or punishment by the government.” 

This story theme is brought to mind by two simultaneous news items.

On May 24 the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a federal bias complaint about Muslim workers at Wisconsin’s Ariens Company, which makes snow blowers and lawn mowers. Christian Science Monitor reportage said Ariens granted two daily breaks from the assembly line for required Muslim prayer times but some workers needed three. After negotiations fizzled, the company fired seven Muslims and 14 others quit.

On May 25, the education board for Switzerland’s Basel canton, with teacher’s union support, rejected appeals to exempt Muslim students from the expected daily shaking of teachers’ hands out of respect. The New York Times said the board acknowledged that strict Muslims believe that after puberty they shouldn’t touch someone of the opposite sex except for close relatives, but hand-shaking doesn’t “involve the central tenets of Islam.”

Both incidents show ignorance of, or lack of respect toward, Islam.

Since 1997, CAIR has published pamphlets by Mohamed Nimer of American University that inform schools, employers and medical facilities about the Muslim view of practical issues, for instance:

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Sensing a ghost on NPR: So why did that white DC suburban family move to Anacostia?

Sensing a ghost on NPR: So why did that white DC suburban family move to Anacostia?

Truth be told, it's hard for your GetReligionistas to do much in the way of blogging about news reports that show up in media settings other than digital print or in video reports that make it into the sprawling universe called YouTube.

Take visual media, for example. When it comes to covering television news reports, we have found that the software gods rarely get along. It is rather hard, in some online platforms, to embed videos from the major video newsrooms. We are talking Tower of Babel level coding issues here, unless something -- like I said -- ends up on YouTube. Sigh.

And then there is radio. Luckily, NPR has a fantastic website that handles most of its content in a multi-platform manner, offering news consumers print versions of reports or transcripts of what went out on the air. That really helps.

But here is a case in which a faithful GetReligion reader who lives in DC Beltway-land thought she heard a religion-news ghost slip past during a feature on WAMU (American University Radio) in Washington, D.C.

If you follow the link she sent us, you hit a wonderful audio-only "Anacostia Unmapped" feature with this headline: "Meet The New Neighbors." ... You really need to listen to this piece in order to "hear the ghost." So click here and do so, please.

OK, what was the key moment?

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