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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Islamaphobia in Retreat

One of my major concerns over the past year has related to the issue of Muslim religious liberty in the United States. In that context I have been encouraged by the consistent voice of the Becket Fund, a leader in the fight against the HHS Mandate (they teamed up with Wheaton College yesterday) but also in the fight for religious liberty for Muslims. Given that background I was heartened to see this excellent post by Michael Sean Winters detailing three important victories--including one lead by the Becket Fund-- and placing these victories in broader historical context, as he does in this excerpt:

While many Catholics are focused on the HHS mandates and particularly the restrictive four-part definition of what constitutes a religiously exempt organization, we must remember that the situation of Muslims today is more akin to the kind of anti-Catholic bigotry faced by our Catholic forbears. Catholics today are a quarter of the population of the country: There are limits to what any government founded on the consent of the governed will be able to achieve in attacking the Catholic Church. Muslims are still a small minority and, like all minorities, have much to fear not just from a few stray bigots but from the prejudices of the majority. We Catholics face a long-term and very complicated struggle to shape political, cultural and especially legal attitudes about the role of religion in society. Muslims must live in fear of physical attacks, of Molotov cocktails and arson, and other forms of intimidation of the kind Catholics have not faced since the 1920s.

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