GARLAND, Texas — Protesters holding signs against Shariah Law and the Islamic State shouted "go back home" toward Muslims as their cars crept past to enter the "Stand with the prophet against hate and terror" event that aims to "challenge growing Islamophobia in American society," which was held less than two weeks after Parisians' lives were rattled by terrorist attacks committed by radical Islamic jihadists that left 17 people dead.
For the hundreds of protesters who traveled near and far to counter what they see as encroaching Islamization in Europe, Canada and the United States, their fears are justified. Many Muslims, however, expressed deep concerns about the vicious verbal attacks that were shouted against them, and said their hope is for unity and understanding in their communities where some see them as nothing more than a potential terror threat.
According to the "Stand with the prophet" conference website, one objective of Saturday's event was to raise money to build a Strategic Communication Center "for the Muslim community, which will develop effective responses to anti-Islamic attacks, as well as to train young Muslims in media." more >>
Duke University has decided to cancel its Muslim call to prayer, which would have begun this Friday, Jan. 16, after receiving public backlash and a credible threat to students.
The call to prayer, known as an adhan, would have aired for three minutes every Friday, encouraging Muslim students to gather and attend a traditional prayer service in the chapel. However, the public reacted with strong emotion and slammed the university for allowing students to perform the adhan. Students will now gather on the quadrangle outside the chapel to hear the adhan in a quieter setting, then proceed to prayer.
"Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students," Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, told Duke Today. "However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect." more >>
Americans United for Separation of Church and State argued that an Oklahoma bill that would protect school districts with Bible courses from legal action attempts to place a "loophole" in the law that would let public schools teach that the Bible is true.
Americans United expressed its opposition to Senate Bill 48 due to their concern that it would allow for Bible courses that advocate Christianity. Writing for the Americans United blog "Wall of Separation" on Wednesday, Sarah Jones argued that SB 48 was also unnecessary given current law.
A California school district is investigating one of its high school teachers after receiving a complaint that "Bible cookies" were being distributed in class and students were encouraged to lookup Bible versus and attend an after-school Bible club.
After being contacted by one of the school's students who complained about the teacher's actions, Washington, D.C.-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent a letter to the Manteca Unified District regarding New Vision High School teacher John Alameda, stating that his actions are a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
"We understand that Alameda not only sponsors the [Bible] club but also shares his Christian beliefs during school hours and frequently encourages his students to attend the club's meetings," Alex Luchenitser, associate legal director at Americans United and one of the signees of the letter,said in the complaint to Manteca Unified District Superintendent Jason Messer and New Vision Principal Sonya Arellano. more >>
In an attempt to counter the influence of a Christian student group called the Good News Club at a New York public elementary school, atheist parents have created their own organization for young children that will hold its first meeting on Thursday.
Atheist activists with the Better News Club have created a student group called the Young Skeptics for Fairbanks Road Elementary School in Churchville in response to the Child Evangelism Fellowship's Good News Club's chapters, which it claims are advancing "a form of psychological abuse."
Established in 1937, the CEF has three ministry programs: Good News Club, the 5-Day Club, and the Truth Chasers Club. "The Good News Club and 5-Day Club ministries take place in neighborhood settings such as homes, backyards, schools and community centers all over the world. These fast-paced, one-hour programs are designed to bring the Gospel of Christ to children on their level in their environment," reads their website. more >>
LOS ANGELES – Church planter and Together LA lead organizer, Pastor Brannin Pitre, is hoping an upcoming three-day conference bringing together Christian leaders in late February to discuss what it means to love Los Angeles will expand thought and action on what he sees as a newer hot spot for church planting.
"There's a little bit of a buzz and an excitement that's brewing for people and I think Together LA is part of this catalytic movement that gets this buzz farther down the road that says, 'If you really want to be involved in some really dynamic ministry that's going on right now in this country, you've got to think about Los Angeles,'" Pitre told The Christian Post recently.
"About 15-20 years ago, it was New York, even 10 years ago it was New York," he explains. "There's been other hot spots around the country. I do think that there is something significant happening in Los Angeles that we are just at the cusp of and it would really be fun to see what the Lord does." more >>