RAP Sheet

Violence Flares in Ferguson after Appeals for Harmony

posted on August 18, 2014

At The New York Times, Alan Blinder and Tanzina Vega report from Ferguson, Missouri, “Hours ahead of a second night of a mandatory curfew, the most chaotic violence in a week of unrest broke out here Sunday evening, with law enforcement officers facing off against angry protesters and responding to reports of gunfire and fire bombs.” The evening clashes marked a contrast with the mood of the day, which was filled with church meetings that joined ministers, civil rights figures, parishioners, protestors, and police.

Read at The New York Times

A Clash of Religion and Bioethics Complicates Organ Donation in Israel

posted on August 18, 2014

In The New York Times, Kevin Sack reports that Jewish beliefs regarding mortality and resurrection have cemented Israel’s status as the developed nation with the lowest rate of deceased organ donations—even as Israelis play an enormous role in the global illegal organ trade. While influential Orthodox leaders condemn organ donation, many Israelis push for altruistic living donations. Some are even considering compensation for those who donate organs—an option that tests Israel’s religious and political policies—in an effort to destroy the black market.

Read at The New York Times

Suspect in Revenge Killing of Palestinian Teen Hunted Victim, Prosecutors Say

posted on August 18, 2014

In The Washington Post, Anne-Marie O’Connor reports that prosecutors are calling the revenge killing of an Arab teen after the murder of three Israeli yeshiva students a “hunting expedition.” Led by Yosef Haim Ben-David, the son of a prominent Orthodox rabbi, the killing shocked both Jewish and Arab communities. “Many Israelis say they were appalled to see one of their own charged with murdering an Arab child,” O’Connor writes. “The revenge killing undercut Israel’s sense of moral superiority and exposed Israel to charges that Jewish extremists follow the same rules as Palestinian terror cells.”

Read at The Washington Post

Clashing Visions Threaten the Mission of U.S. Religious Liberty Panel

posted on August 18, 2014

In Deseret News, Mark Kellner reports, “Competing versions of legislation to reauthorize the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom threaten the independent panel’s autonomy and mission, some commission supporters say.” The USCIRF is widely praised for bringing attention to religious persecution worldwide, but those who advocate change say that inefficiency, poor cooperation with the State Department, and the politicization of its appointment process undermine its work. Detractors say proposed changes come too late—if legislative reauthorization is not agreed upon by September 30, the commission shuts down, pending authorization by President Obama.

Read at Deseret News

How Maliki Broke Iraq

posted on August 14, 2014

In Politico Magazine, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey outlines the causes and consequences of Nuri al-Maliki’s tenure as Prime Minister of Iraq. “Unlike some of his contemporaries in the Shia Dawa religious party/underground movement, he was never able to overcome his conspiratorial roots, understand other groups or appreciate the Western values America sought to implement in Iraq,” Jeffrey writes. Now, as Iraq is split again by sectarian divisions, Jeffrey argues that it is up to Maliki to responsibly yield power, and up to the U.S to support the country in his aftermath.

Read at Politico Magazine

Rescue Mission for Yazidis on Iraq’s Mount Sinjar Appears Unnecessary, Pentagon Says

posted on August 14, 2014

At The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung and Craig Whitlock report, “A team of about 20 U.S. troops and aid workers who landed Wednesday on Iraq’s Mount Sinjar determined that a rescue operation of besieged minorities stranded there is probably unnecessary, the Pentagon said.” Humanitarian airdrops and nightly evacuation of Yazidis via land routes have apparently lessened the need for a rescue mission, though thousands still remain trapped on the mountain following the siege by the Islamic State. U.S. officials continue to assess the extent of military involvement necessary to defend Iraq.

Read at The Washington Post

Al Sharpton Brings His Brand of Activism Back to St. Louis

posted on August 14, 2014

In The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Lilly Fowler reports that the Rev. Al Sharpton’s presence in St. Louis following the shooting of Michael Brown is part of his “mode of operation,” which critics say is stoking controversy rather than resolving problems. Sharpton called for peace, prayer, and justice—and condemned the looting and vandalism of recent protests—in front of an audience of more than 1,000 people on Tuesday night, joined by Baltimore Pastor Jamal Bryant and Brown’s family.

Read at St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Faith Leaders Attempt to Bring Ferguson Community Together

posted on August 13, 2014

At The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Lilly Fowler writes, “In the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, St. Louis faith leaders are hoping to lead the charge in de-escalating racial tensions and rebuilding trust in Ferguson.” Religious leaders throughout the community are holding forums with police and community members in an attempt to inform the public about the event and address some of the fears stoked by Brown’s shooting, as well as the subsequent protests and riots.

Read at St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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