France Caves to Islamophobia; Discourage Veiling, Don’t Discriminate

A headline in today's New York Times reads, "France Enforces Ban on Full-Face Veils in Public." To clarify definitions -- because the various forms of Islamic garb are often conflated and confused in public debate -- a niqab is, as the headline indicates, a "full-face veil" and the name comes from the Arabic word for "mask."  The niqab is a middle-ground between the less-concealing hijab (which only covers the head and derives from the Arabic word for "curtain" or "cover") and the much-more c … [Read more...]

Freudian Slips, "Mecca of Prejudice" and "Blood Libel"

Almost every angle of last Saturday's tragic shooting in Tucson has been parsed to the minutest degree. However, I have heard almost no commentary on Sheriff Clarence Dupnik's use of the word "Mecca" when he described Arizona as "the mecca for prejudice and bigotry." I happen to agree with most of the sheriff's remarks at that press conference, so I am mostly observing that, when speaking extemporaneously about the the recent tragedy, he -- perhaps more unconsciously than consciously -- used the … [Read more...]

Affirming Christianity and Islam

As a native son of Florence, South Carolina, I was shocked to hear that the Islamic Center in Florence had been desecrated last week, when an unknown person or group used strips of bacon to form the words "pig" and "chump" on the ground outside the Islamic Center. This act was particularly offensive because the Qur'an forbids Muslims from eating pork. According to a local news outlet, the FBI has been asked to investigate this hate crime.In contrast, I am proud to be a board member of the … [Read more...]