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An Indiana man who pleaded guilty to setting fire to a mosque in Ohio told the judge that, prior to the arson, he had been “riled up” watching Fox News.

On Sept. 30, Randolph Linn of St. Joseph, Ind., tried to burn down the Islamic Centerof Greater Toledo, The Plain Dealer previously reported. It was reported that he attempted to burn down the mosque in retaliation for attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East and for Muslims getting a “free pass” in the U.S. While being booked in jail, Linn reportedly said, “F**k those Muslims.”

In court on Wednesday, Linn plead guilty to the arson charge. He said that he had gotten “riled up” watching Fox News, according to the Sentinel-Tribune, and drank 45 beers in seven hours before heading to the mosque. Linn started a fire in the prayer room, northwestohio.com reported.

“Every day you turn on the TV, you see Muslims trying to kill Americans,” he said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. When asked whether he thinks all Muslims are terrorists, Linn reportedly responded, “I’d say most of them are.”

Linn’s viewpoints upset some in attendance at the court hearing on Wednesday.

“And I was more sad when Judge [Jack] Zouhary asked him that, ‘Do you know any Muslims or do you know what Islam is?’” a member of the mosque told WNWO after the hearing. “And he said, ‘No, I only know what I hear on Fox News and what I hear on radio.’”

Linn plead guilty to intentionally defacing, damaging and destroying religious real property because of the religious character of that property; using fire to commit a felony; and using and carrying a firearm to commit a crime of violence, the Albany Tribune reported. He likely faces 20 years in prison.

“The freedom to worship in the manner of one’s choosing is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans,” Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division told the Albany Tribune. “The Department of Justice and the Civil Rights Division will continue to aggressively prosecute hate-based attacks on houses of worship. I commend the cooperative efforts of local and federal law enforcement officials to ensure justice in this case.”

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While speaking to MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Abdul-Jabbar said viewing ISIS as representing Islam would

It’s a distinguishing fact of human psychology that people hate to be stereotyped, but love stereotyping others.

In today’s context, the issue of whether or not the Islamic State, a group of radical extremists terrorizing the Middle East, can be considered “Muslim” is at the forefront of a debate that’s taking place across the world. In the United States, the conversation became even more heated after President Obama remarked that “ISIL is not ‘Islamic’” but a “terrorist organization, pure and simple.”

If taken literally, Obama’s claim is dubious. The Atlantic ran a cover story by Graeme Wood that essentially debunked the idea. Like it or not, Wood argued, ISIS is Islamic, in that they derive their ideology – however warped – from Islamic teachings.

The most-articulate spokesmen for that position are the Islamic State’s officials and supporters themselves. They refer derisively to “moderns.” In conversation, they insist that they will not—cannot—waver from governing precepts that were embedded in Islam by the Prophet Muhammad and his earliest followers. They often speak in codes and allusions that sound odd or old-fashioned to non-Muslims, but refer to specific traditions and texts of early Islam.

Members of ISIS certainly believe they are Muslim and acting in strict concordance with that ideology.

A more careful reading of Obama’s remarks, however, suggests that he wasn’t arguing that the members of ISIS aren’t Muslims (as conservative media attacked him for), but that when you think of Islam, you would be remiss to view it as symbolized in ISIS. They may be Muslims, but they are certainly no ambassadors for Islam – the faith that over 1 billion people on Earth worship.

Furthermore, ISIS has positioned itself as conquerors, targeting weak areas in wartorn countries and quickly seizing land. Their behavior is driven not just by Islam, but by the practical concerns of a nascent group trying to gain power. It’s no secret that much of what ISIS does is driven by monetary concerns. They seize oil refineries, poppy fields, banks vaults, and hostages in order to enrich themselves and increase their might. Ignoring that motivation means making a huge mistake.

Enter former basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, himself a Muslim, who made the point with a profound eloquence.

While speaking to MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Abdul-Jabbar said viewing ISIS as representing Islam would be like viewing the Ku Klux Klan as representing Christianity. Both groups derive their ideologies from religion, but neither can be said to make a claim for the vast majority of people within them.

“You can make parallels to things that have happened here in America. Like the Ku Klux Klan saying they are the Christian knights,” Abdul-Jabbar pointed out. “And they do not practice Christianity.”

In much the same way as ISIS, the KKK and other hate groups have always used religion as a way of justifying atrocities and hatred towards other groups.

“People use that as an excuse. It’s not an excuse, it’s no excuse and oppressing one group means that we have to look out, all groups have to get together to fight that type of oppression, because we all should be free.”

In this way, these hate groups have more in common than different. One need only to look at historical examples to find ample proof that Christian groups were capable of savagery that ISIS would recognize in their own. If people point to the fact that the KKK is (relatively) muted in recent decades, the thanks lies squarely with moderate people pushing society towards no longer tolerating the group’s terrorism. The KKK didn’t suddenly grow a sense of morality – they were aggressively suppressed by the people and the United States government until they were a non-factor.

Dismantling the KKK didn’t require the destruction of Christianity, but rather a shift from the virulently toxic form advocated by the hate group towards a more tolerant one. If ISIS is to be defeated, the goal has to be similar. Condemning all Muslims in an effort to cleanse the world of ISIS would be similarly unachievable, and ultimately foolish.

 

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Ben Carson says no Muslim should ever become US president

  • 2016 hopeful: ‘I would not advocate we put a Muslim in charge of this nation’
  • Retired neurosurgeon says Islam is not consistent with US constitution

The Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has said no Muslim should be president of the United States of America.

In an interview with NBC for broadcast on Sunday morning, the retired neurosurgeon said: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

Carson’s discussion with Meet the Press host Chuck Todd centered around controversy that arose this week when Donald Trump – the real-estate mogul keeping Carson in second place in the pollsfailed to correct an audience member at a New Hampshire campaign rally who said President Obama was a Muslim.

The audience member also appeared to advocate the forcible removal of Muslims from the US.

On Saturday, in a series of tweets on the subject, Trump defended himself and said: “Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don’t think so!”

He also addressed the issue in an appearance before an evangelical audience in Iowa, at which he brandished a Bible and said: “You see, I’m better than you thought.”

In such circles, Trump has lost some support to Carson.

In his NBC interview, Carson was asked: “So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the constitution?”

“No,” he said, “I don’t, I do not.”

Article VI of the US constitution states: “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

The first amendment to the constitution begins: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Carson, a Christian, is a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. In October, he will publish a new book, written with his wife Candy Carson and entitled A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties.

In publicity material issued by Penguin Random House, Carson is quoted as saying: “I believe that making a difference starts with understanding our amazing founding document, the US Constitution.

“And as someone who has performed brain surgery thousands of times, I can assure you that the Constitution isn’t brain surgery.

He adds that he and his wife wrote the book to “help defend” the constitution “from those who misinterpret and undermine it”.

Carson did have a constituency to speak to, however. In a recent poll, 38% of voters said they would not vote for a Muslim president.

The Ohio governor John Kasich, who is polling an average of 2.5%, enough for 10th place out of 16, was also asked by NBC if he “would ever have a problem with a Muslim becoming president”.

Kasich, one of the more moderate candidates in the GOP field, also had to field a question about whether he was a Republican at all. He did not say he would have a problem with a Muslim president, but nor did he dismiss the question.

“You know, I mean, that’s such a hypothetical question,” Kasich said. “The answer is, at the end of the day, you’ve got to go through the rigours, and people will look at everything.

“But, for me, the most important thing about being president is you have leadership skills, you know what you’re doing, and you can help fix this country and raise this country. Those are the qualifications that matter to me.”

Carson was also asked if he would consider voting for a Muslim candidate for Congress.

He said: “Congress is a different story, but it depends on who that Muslim is and what they’re policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says, you know.”

Two members of Congress, both Democrats, are Muslim: Keith Ellison of Minnesota was elected to the House of Representatives in 2007 and André Carson of Indiana followed in 2008.

This week, Ellison carried a clock around Congress to show support for Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old boy who was arrested at his school in Irving, Texas over suspicions a homemade clock was in fact a bomb.

On Sunday Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, released a statement in answer to Carson’s comments.

“For Ben Carson, Donald Trump, or any other Republican politician to suggest that someone of any faith is unfit for office is out of touch with who we are as a people,” he said.

“It’s unimaginable that the leading GOP presidential candidates are resorting to fear mongering to benefit their campaigns, and every American should be disturbed that these national figures are engaging in and tolerating blatant acts of religious bigotry.”

According to the Pew Research Center, the 114th Congress contains 491 Christians, of which 306 are Protestant, split between 13 sects though without any declared Anabaptists, Quakers or Pietists.

Another 164 members of Congress are Catholic, while 16 are Mormon and five Orthodox Christian. As well as the two Muslims there are 28 Jewish and two Buddhist members of Congress; there is one Hindu member, one Unitarian Universalist and one “unaffiliated”.

Nine members of Congress either told the Pew researchers they didn’t know what religion they were, or refused to answer the question.

On Meet the Press, Carson continued: “And, you know, if there’s somebody who’s of any faith, but they say things, and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed, and bring peace and harmony, then I’m with them.”

Asked if he believed President Obama was both born in the US – another issue raised at the Trump rally on Thursday and not rebutted by the candidate – and a Christian, Carson said: “I believe that he is. I have no reason to doubt what he says.”

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The spirit of Black unity on social issues is on the rise once again. While this spirit is welcomed by Blacks it has become a source of fear to those who have benefited from White supremacy and enjoy White privilege. This is evident when you listen to the words of conservative news hosts like Bill O’Reilly, who called the Black Lives Matter organization a terrorist, hate mongering group that should be banned. Now as Min. Louis Farrakhan gears up to lead thousands of blacks, Native Americans, Latinos, women, military veterans and poor whites  for a march  and rally in Washington, D.C. on  Oct. 10,  the rhetoric against Blacks and Farrakhan has increased.

Three simple words seem to be causing an issue: “Justice or Else,” which is the theme for the 20th commemoration of the Million Man March held in 1995. The problem seems to be the “or else” portion, which has some people claiming Farrakhan is going to incite violence. This perception has been fueled by Farrakhan’s rhetoric. In one speech Farrakhan states, “Let them continue to kill to live and bury our children while white folks give the killer hamburgers… Retaliation is prescribed in matters of the slave. So, if the federal government will not intercede in our affairs then we must rise up and kill those who kill us. Stop them and kill them and let them feel the pain of death that we are feeling,”

These are hot words that invoke serious anger but speak to the fact that injustice is rampant in the United States and some Black folks are simply tired of it.  But Farrakhan did not create this situation and he has every right to speak about it. Recently, the Nation of Islam newspaper The Final Call reported that Farrakhan was scheduled to visit and speak in Charleston, SC this week as part of his city-to-city tour promoting the upcoming march and rally and also to pay homage to those killed at Mother Emanuel AME Church. However, according to the article, individuals behind the scenes worked to block use of public facilities  that would be used by Farrakhan to hold his speech. Churches that were approached to hold the event had stipulations. According to Farrakhan, “We went to another church to speak and they rejected me again; we went to three churches … one church was willing to let me come, but said, ‘You got to sign a paper that you not going to say nothing controversial.’”

According to The Final Call, it was Bishop Brian D. Moore of Life Central Cathedral who demanded these requirements because “He did not want to have to explain any so-called inflammatory statements after Min. Farrakhan left the city.” In response to Black pastors such as Bishop Moore, Farrakhan stated, “A scared to death preacher can’t boast in Christ. A preacher that fears the powers that are contemporary, and dismisses the power of him who is eternally in power, is not fit to stand before the people of God…This is the time when all false men and women will be sat down.”

It seems that some Black clergy in Charleston are more willing to offer up forgiveness to unrepentant racist killer Dylann Roof than allow Farrakhan to speak.  This twisted mindset evokes the memory of scared Blacks who cower at the site of white robed Klansmen and don’t want to upset the White power structure. This mindset is a one  that continues to retard the emancipation of Black thought and Black unity.

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Hundreds of Muslim refugees are converting to Christianity in a Berlin church.

muslim to christian thumb uliza

Pastor Gottfried Martens has seen his congregation at the evangelical Trinity Church grow from 150 to more than 600 in just two years, describing the number of conversions as a ‘miracle’, according to Associated Press.

One of these converts is Mohammed Ali Zonoobi, a carpenter from Shiraz, Iran, who was recently baptised.

Zanoobi was introduced to the Bible aged 18 and attended secret services in Iran. When several of his Christian friends were arrested, he fled with his wife and two children to Germany.

For Zonoobi and his wife Afsaneh their baptism marks a new beginning. “Now we are free and can be ourselves,” she said. “Most important, I am so happy that our children will have a good future here and can get a good education in Germany.”

Zanoobi is one of hundreds of mostly Iranian and Afghan asylum seekers who have been baptised at Trinity Church.

However, there are concerns that some are not genuine converts, rather professing a Christian faith to boost chances of staying in the country.

Martens acknowledges this possibility, but says once in church, most people do engage and that around 90 per cent of converts continue attending after they have been baptised.

“I know there are – again and again – people coming here because they have some kind of hope regarding their asylum,” Martens said. “I am inviting them to join us because I know that whoever comes here will not be left unchanged.”

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The Minister Louis Farrakhan, 79, delivered his annual Saviors’ Day sermon
on Sunday. As is usually the case, the three-hour address covered a variety
of topics ranging from current events to the faith leader’s contentious
views on race relations. Of particular note was an economic plan he posited
— one in which African Americans would come together to invest in land —
and a pledge to reach out to gang leaders to ask them for assistance in
protecting the Nation of Islam’s interests.

The Saviors’ Day address is generally a mixture of sermon and lecture. The
event commemorates the founding of the Nation of Islam, which has espoused
black nationalism and self-reliance since the 1930s. When President Barack
Obama was elected in 2008, the resounding tone of the convention was
jubilant, but Obama’s re-election took a back seat Sunday as Farrakhan said
blacks still had to rely on themselves, and not leaders, to improve their
situation. Continue reading via The Blaze…

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By Michal Ortner

Pastor Jamal Bryant, the leader of Baltimore-based Empowerment Temple Church, is hosting yet another event that he is calling a “history making moment.” Bryant will be joined by none other than Louis Farrakhan, the well-known face of leadership of the Nation of Islam. The broadcast, set to air on August 3, will be shown on “The Word Network.”

 

Bryant’s decision to make Farrakhan a featured guest on the program has left many Christians questioning his motives. While Empowerment’s pastor is known for inviting controversial religious figures into his church, 82-year-old Farrakhan seems to trouble the minds of some Christian viewers.

 “Jamal finds himself in the company of and sponsoring false prophets. In recent past, persons in the name of Todd Hall, Brian Carn and Juanita Bynum. Who can forget Jamal standing by saying nothing while Juanita tells his congregation that she captured a picture of Jesus in the sanctuary on a cell phone?” writes the administrator of the blog, “Pimp Preacher.”

“So you nor I should really be surprised that he will be hosting Farrakhan who preaches another gospel not of Jesus Christ. Nor does Farrakhan know Jesus as Lord of His life,” the blog continues. “Now, I am not saying that persons who are not believers do not have a worthy contribution. What I am saying is that a Christian Broadcasting Network should not be the place for speakers like Farrakhan. But Farrakhan has been invited to speak for years at many churches on the local level.”

After Tweeting about the Empowerment Encounter special to his 214,000 followers, Bryant was asked by one user, “What God are y’all talking about here?”

Other users jumped into the conversation, saying that Christians should not be concerned with the religious beliefs of the speakers as long as they are promoting the rights of African Americans and justice.

One user wrote, “Awesome combination. Can’t wait.”

The hash tag that Bryant is claiming to promote the event is “#justiceorelse.”

What do you think? Is sharing the stage with a Muslim a compromise or a step towards necessary unity in the black community?

Source

 

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