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How they came to choose Islam

Pittsburgh-convertsBy Marina Bolotnikova, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Philip and Sherry Snow grew up Catholic in predominantly Christian towns on opposite sides of the country. Today, Philip and Sherry go by Ibrahim and Safiye, live on the North Side with their four children -- and are devout adherents to Islam.

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Muslims love Jesus, too

I-heart-JesusBy Hesham A. Hassaballa, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

You're a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?"

These were the beginning words of a now-viral Fox News interview with American religious scholar Reza Aslan about his new book "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth." As breathtaking as the ignorance of the question was, his calm and measured response was equally breathtaking:

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Anti-Islam Activists Are Freaking Out About Crayons Now

crayola-coloring-bookBy Tim Murphy, Mother Jones

Anti-Shariah activists have a new target in their sights: Crayola. Late last week the Pickens County (Ga.) Republican party posted a call to action on its website about a new promotion from the world's leading crayon manufacturer, which had begun offering free Islamic-themed coloring pages in honor of Ramadan.

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Fox News to Scholar: Why Would a Muslim Write a Book About Jesus?

Reza-Aslan-Fox-interviewBy Daniel Politi,

It's got plenty of competition but this may just be the single most cringe-worthy, embarrassing interview on Fox News. At least in recent memory. Fox News anchor Lauren Green had religious scholar Reza Aslan on her show Friday to talk about Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, his book that has been stirring up some online controversy recently.

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In Hollywood, The Actor Who Gives the Call to Prayer

Benyoucefby John Burnett, NPR

It is said, in Los Angeles, that Abdulwahab Benyoucef's call to prayer is so lovely and so clarion that Muslims come to the mosque just to hear him. About three times a week, the Algerian actor -- who has shortened his name to Ben Youcef -- comes here in his traditional tunic to stand before the men kneeling toward Mecca.

He closes his eyes, holds one hand over his ear, leans into a microphone and sings out the Arabic words in extended phrases.

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Nominee for Calif. Student Regent Draws Rare Ire from Some Jews

Sadia-SaifuddinUC Berkeley senior Sadia Saifuddin would become the first practicing Muslim to hold the post if she is confirmed.

By Lisa Fernandez and Lisa Leff, AP and NBC Bay Area

The University of California's governing board is poised to vote Wednesday on a new student member who would be the first practicing Muslim to hold the post and whose nomination is being vigorously opposed by some Jewish groups.

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Imagine if Christian conservatives were treated the way Muslims are in the US

girl-holding-signWhy Violent Right-Wing Extremism Doesn't Scare Americans
Imagine if religious conservatives were treated the way Muslims are in the US.

By Matthew Harwood, Mother Jones

The evangelical Christians of Greenville County, South Carolina, are afraid.

There has been talk of informants and undercover agents luring young, conservative evangelicals across the South into sham terrorist plots. The feds and the area's police want to eliminate a particularly extreme strain of evangelical Christianity opposed to abortion, homosexuality, and secularism, whose adherents sometimes use violent imagery and speech. They fear such extreme talk could convince lone wolves or small groups of Christian extremists to target abortion clinics, gay bars, or shopping malls for attack. As a result, law enforcement has flooded these communities with informants meant to provide an early warning system for any signs of such "radicalization."

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Minister: Ramadan fast has beauty, importance

datesBy Rev. Nathan Wilson,

Ramadan, which will begin this year on July 9, is an especially important month in the Islamic calendar because it is believed to be the month when the first verses of the Koran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, thus bestowing the revelations of God on humanity.

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Ray Kelly: Things Falling Apart

Ray-KellyLen Levitt, Huffington Post

How did this happen?

How did the wheels fall off Ray Kelly's NYPD?

How did Kelly's policies manage to alienate the City Council, groups of Muslim-Americans and African-Americans, the New York Times, the FBI and even the Obama administration?

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C.I.A. Report Finds Concerns With Ties to New York Police

CIA-NYPD-spyingBy Charlie Savage, The New York Times

WASHINGTON -- Four Central Intelligence Agency officers were embedded with the New York Police Department in the decade after Sept. 11, 2001, including one official who helped conduct surveillance operations in the United States, according to a newly disclosed C.I.A. inspector general's report.

That officer believed there were "no limitations" on his activities, the report said, because he was on an unpaid leave of absence, and thus exempt from the prohibition against domestic spying by members of the C.I.A.

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