The Anti-Defamation League has been tracking religious extremism for several decades, including anti-Islamic violence in the United States after 9/11. Nonetheless, the organization joined right-wing opposition earlier this week to the construction of Cordoba House, a 13-story Muslim community center and mosque that may be built two blocks away from the site of the former World Trade Center. The ADL's alignment with calls for "refudiation" by Republican celebrities Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, along with other members of the GOP who are ramping up angry sentiments in voters during an election year, have puzzled and angered religious, political and cultural figures of various stripes, particularly within New York City itself. [more inside]
Recent troubles with Muslim women's clothes have lead to the Quebec Government to begin proposing legislation on the issue of face covering and access to public services. The niqab has become a central symbol in the anti-muslim rhetoric of nationalist parties in Europe (political poster examples: France, Switzerland, and Britain) about the threat Islam poses to tolerant secular societies. [more inside]
A Sexual Clash of Civilizations? Using data from the World Values Survey, two researchers argue that Samuel Huntington's theory of a clash of Islamic and Western civilizations completely ignores the role of sexual tolerance as an indicator of a democratic society. An interesting point to ponder when Islamic countries and Christian Right activists have teamed up to lobby the United Nations against the expansion of gay rights and family planning.
What Became of Tolerance in Islam? This is from a few days ago, but I don't think it has been posted here previously. An Islamic scholar reflects upon the ways in which Islamic culture, "that produced such tolerance, knowledge and beauty throughout its history," has recently been taken over by an "extreme form of puritanical Islam" that "does not represent most Muslims today."