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The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims

Eleven years has passed since that fateful Tuesday morning, one that for many Americans, crystallized a suspected link between Islam and violence.


Eleven years has passed since that fateful Tuesday morning, one that for many Americans, crystallized a suspected link between Islam and violence. In that time, sadly enough, unfavorable views of Islam have increased steadily. Out of collective national heartache, a rising climate of hate and mistrust has grown.

Two years after 19 of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon, an ABC News poll found that 34 percent of Americans believed that Islam encourages violence. Five years later, in 2008, despite the rarity of religiously inspired attacks, that number rose sharply to 48 percent. Today, the pattern of skepticism continues. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released in September 2010 suggested that half of Americans harbor negative views of Islam, the highest number recorded since the al-Qaeda attacks in 2001.

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“Mom, Dad, There is No God.” Coming Out as a Non-Believer

The increasingly common experience of ‘coming out’ as an atheist carries its own challenges.


As we approach adulthood, there are a number of hard talks people must have with their parents—about sexual orientation, about living your own dreams (and not those of Mom and Dad), about what we really believe. Those moments of truth help transition many of us from being the person our parents thought we’d be, to accepting ourselves for who we really are. But coming out, and opening up, always comes with the risk of rejection.

Christy Meyer was home-schooled with a religiously-based curriculum that taught reading, writing, morality, and that the Earth is 6,000 years old. At age 12, Meyer made her first non-home-schooled friends, and when a new pal, from a mixed Buddhist and Muslim family asked, “Do you think that I’m going to hell?” Meyer had to answer, “Yes.” She soon realized other good people around the world, who by the accident of circumstance were not Christian, would also be damned according to her belief system. “That was so jarring for me. And I really look back at that as a pivotal moment.”

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New Dominionists: Meet the Christian Couple Behind the Right’s Most Viral Videos

Molotov and Patricia Mitchell are extremely influential among young conservatives.

Jason “Molotov” Mitchell and his wife, Patricia “DJ Dolce” Mitchell, look like hipsters. She wears a stylish dress and nose stud, her dark hair angled sharply around her face. Jason, who goes by Molotov both socially and professionally, sports a landscaped beard and a tattoo on his forearm that reads “zealot.” They are in tip-top physical condition, they say, because they teach krav maga, an Israeli Defense Force-perfected form of martial arts.

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Spring Is Packed with Sacred Holidays: Here's What They Teach Us

Many sacred holidays from several traditions converge within the same few weeks of the year. What can we learn from each?

I’m often amazed by the convergence of so many important, sacred holidays within the same few weeks of the year. If a being from a different planet came to earth this week and got a bird’s eye view, I wonder what lessons they would take away from this coming together on the calendar? I doubt they’d take sides—as in “this tradition good, that one is bunk!” All of them ask people to change their routine in honor of something bigger. Here are some lessons they might take away:

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Extremist vs. Extremist: The Consequences of Burning a Koran

Why Muslims retaliating against a Christian pastor says nothing about either Islam or Christianity.


The New York Times is reporting that hundreds of protesters stormed the United Nations office in northern Afghanistan today and killed an unspecified number of people in retaliation for a Florida pastor burning a Koran last month.

Pastor Terry Jones, who leads the right-wing Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, had threatened to burn a Koran last year, but a phone call from President Obama himself talked him out of it. A New Jersey dealership also gave Jones a free car for calling off the burning. However, on March 20, which Jones dubbed "International Judge the Koran Day," the pastor went through with the burning after putting the religious text "on trial" and finding it "guilty."

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