The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

Poll: American Jews and Muslims share common values 3 August , 2011

NEW YORK (JTA) — Muslim and Jewish Americans share common values on key questions, according to a Gallup poll.

The poll, released Tuesday, found that the Muslim Americans exceeded Jewish belief in religious pluralism and in the fairness of elections, and also in support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — 81 percent for Muslims, 78 percent for Jews.

Jews and Muslims also were the only religious groups surveyed in which a majority backed President Obama.

Jews were the least likely group, besides Muslims, to question the loyalty of Muslims, with 70 percent of Jewish Americans denying that Muslim Americans sympathize with the al-Qaeda terrorist group and 80 percent agreeing that Muslims are loyal to the United States. They disagreed, however, on whether Muslims spoke out enough against terrorism, with 28 percent of Muslims and 65 percent of Jews saying that Muslims were not vocal enough. The 65 percent put Jews in the middle of the religious groups surveyed.



MOOZ-lum, the movie 17 February , 2011

Spoiler Alert!!!
The following article presents specific story details about the film, MOOZ-lum.

Stereotypical Muslim misrepresentation in films is as old as film history itself, if not older, as seen in Orientalist paintings, novels, and plays which pre-date the invention of film by centuries.

One of the founding fathers of cinema, Georges Méliès, directed The Terrible Turkish Executioner as early as 1904; in this short film, a Mus-lim/Turkish executioner chopped off four people’s heads in one swish, with a Sinbad-like sword wearing “typical Muslim garb.” Later, through the visual magic Melies was known for, the chopped heads rolled back to where they belong, and the four took their revenge by chopping off the executioner’s head. Fast-forward a hundred years to films released as recently as the last five to 10 years, and you will see updated versions of the same one-dimensional representation of Muslim characters. The 2008 movie Taken resorted to such an antiquated, comical Arab-Sheik-antagonist, who has a dagger in one hand and a branch of grapes on the other, buying and selling young white virgins. Granted; there have been other films, like the Traitor, that have done a much better job showing nuance in the Muslim identity. Yet these films leave the audience with the feeling that complex human Muslim characters are a minority, whereas the majority of Muslims are still blood-thirsty terrorists who have off-the-chart sexual hunger. Variations of these images abound even in the news media. Further added to the public perception of Muslims was the paranoia surrounding the proposed Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan, and ever-present suspicion about President Obama’s “hidden Muslim identity.”



From CNN’s Belief Blog: My Take: How real interfaith dialogue works 29 November , 2010

I’ve thought for some time that if more Americans had personal contact, even friendships, with their fellow Americans who are Muslims there might be less mistrust and misunderstanding about the role Islam plays in their lives.

The years have convinced me that interfaith dialogue, particularly the one-on-one variety, is a more viable way to break down barriers between people than large-scale efforts.

Now, before we go any further: Yes, within a worldwide population of more than 1 billion Muslims (which include a few million in the United States) there are those who, for a variety of reasons, hate the United States, would do it harm or support such action.

But when the subject comes up, the American Muslims I’ve met – whether they were born here, emigrated from traditionally Muslim nations or converted from other faiths – remark how America, even amid the tensions of recent years, affords them the freedom to live, work, study and raise their children, as their neighbors do, and, importantly, worship in the way they choose, as their neighbors do.




From The Huffington Post: Religions Are Better Together, College Students Will Prove It 22 November , 2010

When the forces of intolerance rear their ugly heads, the forces of inclusion go into action.

Consider Freedom Summer, the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964, when more than 1,000 out-of-state volunteers — mostly college students from the North — spent a summer in Mississippi, the state with the lowest black voter registration, then at less than 7 percent. These volunteers risked their lives to work alongside black residents in an effort to register voters. Tragically, several students were killed during the 10-week initiative, dozens and dozens were beaten, and more than 1,000 volunteers and locals were arrested.

This is just one example of an important American tradition. College students in America have a history of making an impact on critical social issues. Fifty years ago, the forces of intolerance targeted the African-American community. Today, the forces of intolerance direct their venom toward Muslim Americans.




From The Huffington Post: Beginning Again: How America and Muslim Majority Societies Can Re-Engage 26 October , 2010

The recent controversy over Juan Williams’ choice of words underscores just how little progress has been made since I sat in a packed Cairo University auditorium last June, witnessing firsthand President Barack Obama dazzle and inspire a cross section of Egyptian society.

His now famous address, titled the “New Beginning,” energized Egypt and the wider region, but more than a year later, tensions between the United States and Muslim majority societies are far from eliminated. Two wars, a sputtering Middle East peace process and the continued threat of al-Qaeda inspired violence present difficult hurdles to fostering trust.

The most powerful first step leaders can take to rebuild partnership between Muslim communities and the U.S. is to resolve these acute conflicts and end terrorism.

However, leaders cannot put global engagement on hold until these complex problems are solved. In spite of these challenges, governments and civil society on all sides must take an interactive holistic approach to move the relationship forward.

Here is what we must do:




A week of Muslim Americans Reaching Out 22 October , 2010

LOS ANGELES: Muslim Americans, with a coalition of Jewish and Christian partners, are engaging in a nationwide week of open interfaith dialogue, starting in mid-October. There is a real need for Muslim and non-Muslim American communities to better understand and interact with one another, given recent debates on Islam and a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment across the United States.

Addressing head on the question “Why don’t Muslim Americans engage more?” Muslim Americans will invite people of all faiths to visit their mosques during this week and, likewise, encourage Muslims to attend non-Muslim houses of worship.

This outreach initiative will feature programs and discussions, such as the one at The Islamic Center of Southern California on 17 October, which was designated Open Mosque Day. There, speakers addressed timely issues and examined the historical and moral foundations upon which the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims can be constructed positively. The 17 October discussion addressed the question: “How should Muslims interact with non-Muslims in an era fraught with hostility and conflict, while remaining true to Islam?” In addition, an Islamic center in nearby Irvine also opened its doors on Open Mosque Day to invite all Americans to learn more about Islam, stating that in doing so, it is: “Recognizing our common humanity. Celebrating our diversity. And respecting each other.”



Influential NY Muslim Builds Peace Through Actions, Words 13 October , 2010

Filed under: Interfaith Issues,News — Administrator @ 2:39 pm
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He is an Imam. But especially in difficult times, when Islam and Muslims are under the microscope, Shamsi Ali sees himself primarily as a bridge builder.

“It gives me an opportunity, even, to push myself, to connect myself to my partners. To the Jewish leaders, to the Christian leaders. I extend my hands for help and embrace them,” says Ali.

He may speak softly, but Imam Shamsi Ali has become one of the city’s most influential religious leaders. He is the chief cleric at the city’s biggest mosque, the Islamic Cultural Center on 96th Street, as well as the director of the Jamaica Muslim Center and chairman of the Al-Hikmah Mosque in Astoria.

He’s the chairman of the Muslim Day Parade and also serves as the community’s liaison to the New York City Police Department. And when Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced support for the controversial downtown Islamic Community Center, Shamsi Ali was there with him.

His ability to work with the Muslim community’s many factions — South Asians, Middle Easterners, Africans, African-Americans — is aided by the fact that he studied in Pakistan, taught in Saudi Arabia, and came here as an immigrant in the mid 1990s. But he was born and raised in Indonesia.