Interfaith justice groups are joining with U.S. Senators to lobby against unemployment as millions of jobless claims are scheduled to expire just before Christmas.
Sens. Robert Casey (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are meeting today with members of the Interfaith Worker Justice, the National Catholic Social Justice Lobby and the National Council of Churches to address the ongoing jobs crisis.
Unemployment has become a sore issue among Americans. Labor statistics show that some 2 million unemployed people in the United States have lost their unemployment benefits. The federal provision expired at the end of November. Partisan debates by Congressional Republicans and Democrats halted efforts to extend benefits by an additional year. more >>
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and Open Doors are just some of the people and groups that have publicly denounced the proposed U.N. anti-blasphemy resolution that is expected to be voted on next week.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference, which sponsored the draft resolution, recently changed the term from “defamation of religions” to “vilification of religions.” But USCIRF chair Leonard Leo said the change is minor and “a distinction without a difference.”
“Having lost support on this issue over the past few years, the OIC is now trying to fool delegations into believing that the resolution has improved when it has not,” said Leo in a statement Thursday. “It … still erroneously conflates blasphemy or criticism of religious ideas with incitement to acts of discrimination or violence against individuals.” more >>
Muslims burned at least ten Christian homes in Southern Egypt over a rumor that a young Coptic Christian man and a Muslim girl were in a romantic relationship, said officials Tuesday.
Authorities have arrested several people suspected of being involved in the torching of Christian homes in Qena province that began overnight Sunday. They have also taken into custody the Christian man and Muslim girl that are at the center of the controversy for investigation. Locals caught the two together at night in the village cemetery, security officials told The Associated Press.
In Egypt, historically Christians and Muslims have generally lived peacefully side by side. They have lived integrated in neighborhoods and attended the same schools. But in recent years, there has been increasing division between the two communities. An increasing number of Christians are moving into all-Christian neighborhoods and attending schools run by the church. more >>
Christian leaders have convened in New Orleans this week to celebrate 100 years of ecumenical cooperation.
More than 400 people from the National Council of Churches and its humanitarian arm, Church World Service, opened the three-day anniversary event on Tuesday with the aim of unifying the church.
"In one sense, this event will be a 'celebration' of modern ecumenism," said NCC General Secretary the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon in a statement. "But it will also [be] a time for assessing the churches’ failure to receive God’s gift of unity, for anticipating new directions for ecumenism in the 21st Century, and for recommitting ourselves and our churches to the ecumenical calling." more >>
A Muslim leader is calling on the Iraqi government and US-led forces to step up their efforts to protect the Christian minority in Iraq from extinction.
Navaid Hamid, Secretary of the South Asian Council for Minorities (SACM) and a Muslim, said the deadly attack last weekend on a church in Baghdad was a heinous crime that should be strongly condemned by the international community.
“With the murderous attack, the safety of Iraq’s Christian minority has become critical and it is the prime responsibility not only of the regime in Baghdad but also that of the allied forces led by [the] US to restore confidence and provide safety because never in the history of Iraq, minorities were so vulnerable [sic],” he said. more >>
After four days of meeting at the Ecumenical Center, Christian and Muslim leaders issued a statement Thursday announcing their intention to form a joint anti-crisis response working group.
The working group will be mobilized “whenever a crisis threatens to arise in which Christians and Muslims find themselves in conflict,” reads the statement that came out of the international consultation on “Transforming Communities: Christian and Muslims Building a Common Future” that was held in Geneva, Switzerland.
“Religion is often invoked in conflict creation, even when other factors, such as unfair resource allocation, oppression, occupation and injustice, are the real roots of conflict,” they say in the statement. “We must find ways to ‘disengage’ religion from such roles and ‘reengage’ it towards conflict resolution and compassionate justice.” more >>