A Conversation on Belonging, Law, and the Basics

Congressman Keith Ellison, as “guest voice” for the Washington Post a few weeks ago asked how we can conduct a national conversation “on belonging.”

The Shariah Index Project of the Cordoba Initiative “seeks to address the religion-politics relationship question that has racked the Muslim World since the death of the Prophet Muhammad… the right balance between institutions of political power and authority and institutions of religious power and authority.”

Can we, as a nation, conduct a conversation about Sharia/Halachah/”Church” law? What tools do we have in our civic and faith-based resources to approach this topic with sanity, respect and curiosity? Can we have that conversation about “belonging”?


On an even more basic level, do we know enough about one another’s religions to converse?

CBB Founder and President, Imam Yahya Hendi, spoke with Ray Suarez on this PBS program on inter-religious understanding (or lack thereof). Suarez wrote “A Closer Look at the Influence of Religion in America” the same week, including this paragraph:

The imam went further, saying the current negative focus on Muslims in the United States could be an opportunity. He wants his fellow Americans to know more about Islam, and says he believes that when they do, the fear and hostility will subside. As an economist might say, there are negative externalities. Understanding and knowledge on the part of most Americans would not change the plans of shadowy cells across the world plotting violence. More American knowledge about the history of Islam would not change the regimes that oppress millions, and run their countries in ways that keep them poor and desperate.

From a quick scan of the comments on this article, no one seems to find this segue odd or worthy of challenge. Comments and discussion would be most welcome here. Is this the beginning of a conversation or the end of one?

the basics

What do YOU know about other religions? Take the Pew Quiz and read more about U.S. survey results.


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