religion

An Islamic center and mosque in Worcester is taking a proactive approach to confronting Islamophobia.

The Worcester Islamic Center is holding an event Saturday that it’s calling “Meet a Muslim Day.” It’s designed to get members of the public who may not know much about Islam — beyond the headlines — to learn about the faith practiced by about one-fifth of the world’s population.

Dave Zajac / Record-Journal

A Connecticut man charged with firing a rifle at a mosque next to his home has been placed under house arrest. 

Marriage licenses in Kentucky will no longer need to be printed with the name of the county clerk who issues them.

The state's new governor, Matthew Bevin, issued a executive order yesterday saying he was changing protocol in order to "ensure that the sincerely held religious beliefs of all Kentuckians are honored."

Neighbor Charged With Firing Shots at Meriden Mosque

Dec 18, 2015
Dave Zajac / Record-Journal

Federal authorities have charged a Meriden man with firing several shots into a local mosque in November.

It’s lunchtime, and Salah Asfoura walks into Bahnan’s International Marketplace with the ease and familiarity of a regular.

“I shop here all the time,” he says. “I mean, not just here, but when we’re looking for Middle Eastern stuff, they have great pastry here, very fresh.”

Tim Green / flickr creative commons

For most shows, I’d use these first paragraphs to explain why we’ve chosen to spend an hour on its particular topic. I’d remind you of events in the news. I’d site a publication date. I’d point out a trend that we’ve maybe noticed that you maybe haven’t.

For today’s show, for instance, I could type a list of towns here — international towns, domestic towns, Connecticut towns — and you’d recognize them all as spots on a map that share a wound, as place names that represent a raw, unhealed sore in our shared memory.

Walking With Dante

Dec 9, 2015
Freeparking / Creative Commons

"Dante's Inferno" is the most famous section of "The Divine Comedy," poet Dante Aligheri's, 14,000 line epic poem. It's where Dante must face his sins before moving beyond an eternity in hell, where the doomed can still find redemption in the acceptance of their humanity. 

The latest pronouncement from the presidential campaign of Donald Trump calls for the U.S. to refuse to let any Muslim — from anywhere — into the United States.

It has prompted very strong criticism, including from some of his fellow Republican candidates and state party leaders.

The Philadelphia Daily News cover Tuesday morning labels Trump "The New Furor."

Trump's proposal came the day after President Obama's Sunday night televised address from the Oval Office in which the president urged Americans to reject discrimination against Muslim Americans.

President Obama's request that American Muslims help "root out" and confront extremist ideology in their communities is getting mixed reactions. Muslim leaders say they want to help, but some are not happy that they are being singled out.

Donald Trump made a drastic call on Monday for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

Trump's call comes one day after President Obama's address from the Oval Office in the aftermath of the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings that were carried out by an apparently self-radicalized married couple. The male shooter was an American citizen, born in the United States. His wife was born in Pakistan but was in the U.S. legally on a visa for fiancees.

Harley Pebley / Creative Commons

Two married shooters with a six-month-old baby rushed a social service agency this week in San Bernardino, California. They killed 14 people and injured another 21.  It's an all-too familiar scene, including the heartfelt prayers that followed. 

Leland Francisco / WNPR

Long before evangelicalism became associated with the mostly white, conservative followers aligned with the Republican Party, a long line of progressive evangelicals led reforms to abolish slavery, give women the vote and improve public schools.

But the history of evangelicalism is complicated. It has a rich history of social activism on behalf of the marginalized, mixed with deep discomfort with the very people it seeks to help.

A half-century ago, 40 bishops from around the world gathered in an ancient Roman church and signed a pledge to forsake worldly goods and live like the neediest among their flock.

They were in Rome for the Second Vatican Council in 1965, the deliberations that opened the Catholic Church to the modern world.

The bishops' all but forgotten pledge, known as the Pact of the Catacombs, has gained new resonance with Pope Francis' vision of a church for the poor.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

On Friday, an interfaith coalition gathered at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford to condemn terrorism and Islamophobia after last weekend's Paris attacks. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

American Muslims say the media is failing to hear moderate voices, as rhetoric over the Paris attacks and the placement of Syrian refugees ratchets up.

Speaking on The Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR, Reza Mansoor of the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut said marginalizing mainstream Islam just leads to more hysteria.

Aida Mansoor / Muslim Coalition of Connecticut

In his latest book, author and scholar Moustafa Bayoumi takes a critical look at what it means to be Muslim-American in post-9/11 society.

Gage Skidmore flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore / Creative Commons

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he expects to do "great" with Muslim voters. Trump told reporters before a rally in Worcester, Massachusetts that he's confident he'll win over Muslims in addition to Hispanic voters because he's talking about security issues. 

In the wake of the terror attacks in Paris, a group of local Muslim women gathered in Copley Square Wednesday to mourn the victims.

About two dozen women gathered for what organizers called a “silent vigil” near the steps of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square. They stood in a line, quietly, carrying red roses and signs with messages like “Love trumps evil,” “Pray for the world” and “Spread hope.”

The Islamic State's claim of responsibility for a trio of major attacks, including the assault on Paris, has led to a rapid reassessment of the extremist group and its aspirations.

Until a couple of weeks ago, ISIS appeared focused on building its self-declared caliphate, or Islamic empire, in its core areas of Syria and Iraq. But it now says it was behind attacks in France, Egypt and Lebanon that killed nearly 400 people in a two-week span.

Basic questions — like the group's goals or whether it's getting stronger or weaker — are being examined anew.

Pope Francis seems like a pontiff who not only has a feeling for the little guy, but also someone who enjoys a good laugh. And the Pope will soon get some humor help from a Vermonter  an East Dorset rabbi who has become comedy advisor to the pope.

Dave Zajac / Record-Journal

Police and FBI agents are investigating reports of multiple gunshots fired at a Connecticut mosque hours after the terrorist attacks in Paris.

In the wake of Friday's coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris, the French people — and supporters around the world — have been grieving. More than 120 people died in explosions and gunfire when well-coordinated teams of assailants struck at least six sites across the city.

Muslim Coalition of Connecticut‎ / Facebook

An event this weekend in Hartford honors people and institutions of higher education that have worked to build bridges between Muslims and their larger community.

Tony Webster / Creative Commons

In the early 2000s, a unit of Boston Globe reporters known as the “Spotlight" team uncovered child sex abuse in one of Boston’s most powerful institutions: the Catholic Church. 

For the pious Puritans of early America, witchcraft was a crime of the highest order.

Back then, the term "witch hunt" was not just an expression: In 1692, 19 women and men were hanged and one pressed to death with stones after being found guilty of witchcraft.

In her book The Witches, author Stacy Schiff follows the buildup of fear and outrageous tales of consorting with the devil. The witch trials were set in motion by two young Salem girls in the grip of strange and disturbing symptoms.

Alex Baker Photography

Many churches around the country are struggling with declining attendance, prompting some interesting questions and conversations. Is it the message? A sign of the times? The church’s mission? Maybe it’s past controversies. 

Carol Rosegg / Yale Repertory Theater

Yale Repertory Theater is currently presenting the world premiere of the play "Indecent."

DonkeyHotey flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey / Creative Commons

This week, Pope Francis was the biggest thing to hit America since the British Invasion. You could buy Pope-themed dolls, cookies with the Pope's face, hats, coffee mugs, backpacks, and even a Pope Bobblehead.

It was the pope's first visit to the U.S., and he seemed eager and happy to be here. He spoke passionately about the poor, climate change, and the migrant crisis, and cautioned against religious extremism. It has left some people wondering why he met privately and secretly with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refuses to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Robert Benson Photography

A new play premieres this weekend as part of a gala event celebrating the hundredth anniversary of a synagogue in Chester, Connecticut called Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.

The play is called “100 Years in 36 Minutes.” Its co-writer, Lary Bloom, came to the WNPR studios earlier this week to talk about it.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, speaking during a rare press conference Tuesday, said for him one of the highlights of Pope Francis’ trip to the U.S. came in Philadelphia, when he met with victims of sexual abuse by priests.

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