Jun 24, 2013

Blasphemy Laws Hurt No Matter Who They Target

By Saadia Faruqi
Source: Tikkun Daily
The term blasphemy law is an immediate turn-off for most people, implying intolerance for freedom of speech and religion, mostly in an Islamic context. Not surprisingly, in recent times, Muslim countries have become notorious for their blasphemy laws, punishing everyone who has a different view of religion than their own. We hear almost on a daily basis of Christians and other minority groups within Muslims being punished under blasphemy laws in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt and even moderate Indonesia for the slightest of assumed offences.

Jun 17, 2013

Freedom versus Free Exercise of Religion

By Ramona Siddoway
“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” Article of Faith #11, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On May 16th, Dallin H. Oaks, an Apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a former professor at the University of Chicago Law School and former justice of the Utah Supreme Court, was awarded the prestigious Canterbury Medal for lifetime service in promoting the cause of religious freedom.

Jun 7, 2013

Free Speech on Social Media: Anything Goes

By Saadia Faruqi
Source: Tikkun Daily
In continuation of my series on First Amendment rights as they impact religious minority groups, I address current controversy over social media posts maligning religious groups. My previous post in this series entitled Does Freedom of Speech Allow Stereotyping discussed a greeting card that stereotyped Muslims as terrorists in an unusually offensive and glaringly inaccurate way. This week I have chosen another unfortunate event, a Facebook post that ignited debate over the possible classification of certain types of content as threats instead of free speech. Tennessee County Commissioner Barry West posted a picture on his Facebook page showing a cowboy aiming a shotgun at the camera with the caption “How to Wink at a Muslim”.

Jun 4, 2013

Religion as a Bridge of Cooperation

By Nancy Agafitei

In January of 2013, the Barbara Bush Branch Library received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association entitled Bridging Cultures: Muslim Journeys. Termed a “bookshelf” grant, it provides a collection of 25 books, 3 DVDs, and other special resources chosen with a view to familiarizing the American public with Islam and the cultural heritage of Islamic civilizations around the world.