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Islam in the Northwest

OPB | Dec. 13, 2010 9 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 9:45 p.m.

Two days after 19 year old Mohamed Osman Mohamud was arrested for allegedly trying to set off a bomb at a Christmas tree lighting in downtown Portland, a fire was set at a mosque in Corvallis. Mohamud had occasionally attended services there.

A guest on our show later that week said she’s concerned about Islamophobia in the Northwest, which she described as “a very real threat.”

One recent example cited by the Council on American-Islamic Relations was a non-credit course called “What is Islam?” that was to have been offered this winter at Lane Community College. It was canceled when CAIR criticized the instructor for aiming to “promote anti-Muslim bigotry.”

Comparisons of the Mohamud case and the Turnidge bombing trial have raised questions about stereotypes of Muslims as the “enemy” playing into media coverage. (Bruce and Joshua Turnidge were found guilty this week on multiple counts of murder after planting a bomb that killed two people in a Woodburn bank.)

A small fraction of people in the Pacific Northwest follow the Muslim faith. There are a growing number of mosques and Islamic schools.

Are you Muslim? Have you seen a recent shift in Oregonians’ attitudes towards you or other people in your community? If you’re not Muslim, what questions do you have for people who are? Whatever your faith or background, how do you see fear of Islam affecting you? What does Islamophobia mean to you?

GUESTS:

  • Arsalan Bukhari: Executive director of the Seattle chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations
  • Saba Ahmed: Student at Lewis & Clark and University of Portland who blogs about political issues on World Pulse and Facebook
  • Sister Mollie Reavis: Co-chair of the Institute for Christian-Muslim Understanding
  • Mikal Shabazz: Local Imam and director of the Oregon Islamic Chaplain’s Organization

NOTE: We ran out of time during the show just as Arsalan Bukhari was trying to say two websites where he suggests people visit. They are www.ing.org and www.groundzerodialogue.org.

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