New Resource Dispelling Myths and Stereotypes about American Muslims released by Interfaith Alliance and the Religious Freedom Education Project
October 11, 2012
‘What’s the Truth about American Muslims?’ Takes on Questions about Sharia Law, Mosques and the Relationship between American and Religious law
Washington, D.C. – Interfaith Alliance and the Religious Freedom Education Project of the First Amendment Center today released a new resource with answers to frequently asked questions about religious freedom and American Muslims. Following years of misinformation and demonization of the American Muslim community, this new resource aims to redirect the national dialogue to one based on respect and understanding.
The new document, entitled, “What is the Truth about American Muslims? Questions and Answers,” is an attempt by the partnering organizations to provide accurate information and delve into the law of religious freedom, the history of American Muslims in the United States, and misunderstood terms and practices, including sharia.
“In a time when misinformation about and misunderstandings of Islam and of the American Muslim community are widespread, our goal is to provide the public with accurate answers to understandable questions,” said Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance. “The resource reflects widely-shared views among American Muslims on important topics such as sharia, jihad, the role of mosques, and the relationship between religious and civil legal codes. In producing and disseminating this resource, we seek to uphold our shared commitment to religious freedom and contribute to a climate of understanding and mutual respect among Americans of all faiths and none.”
“Drafted over a period of nine months and vetted by religious liberty experts and scholars of Islam, this new resource answers key questions raised by anti-Muslim groups in the United States over the past decade,” said Dr. Charles C. Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the First Amendment Center. “Our aim is to provide the public with balanced and accurate information about religious freedom and American Muslims in order to counter the dangerous and often vicious propaganda that has helped fuel the dramatic rise of anti-Muslim bigotry in America.”
Twenty-one religious and secular organizations have endorsed the religious freedom principles outlined in the new document and support the effort led by Interfaith Alliance and the Religious Freedom Project to publicize accurate information about American Muslims and Islam.
The endorsing organizations are: the African American Ministers Leadership Council, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, Islamic Networks Group, Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Public Affairs Council, National Religious Campaign Against Torture, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, People for the American Way Foundation, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Queens Federation of Churches, Rabbis for Human Rights-North America, Secular Coalition for America, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Sikh Coalition, Sojourners, Southern Poverty Law Center, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society.
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Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance has 185,000 members across the country from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.