Archbishop Kurtz condemns Islamophobia

Finally! Days and days after Donald Trump's Islamophobic and un-American policy suggestion that all Muslims should be barred from coming to the United States, Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has spoken out, condemning such discriminatory sentiments. It's about time.

"Policies of fear and inflammatory rhetoric will only offer extremists fertile soil and pave the way toward a divisive, fearful future," he said in a public statement.

In the same statement, he condemned the attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo., that occurred earlier ... even though the gunman had suggested that he was a "warrior for the babies." Kurtz obviously did not buy that line, saying that violence "can never be justified by invoking the name of God." And he said nothing negative about Planned Parenthood in his statement. But perhaps best of all, he came out for gun control, a policy the bishops favor but all too rarely speak about.

Given the mood of the country, it is important for religious leaders to speak out against the currently raging Islamophobia. This past week, on Interfaith Voices, I interviewed Nihad Awad of the Council on American Islamic Relations, who recounted incidents where Muslims and mosques have been attacked in the wake of Paris and San Bernardino. I also spoke with two scholars of the Qur'an who explained the passages sometimes to misunderstood to say that Muslims are taught violence in their scriptures. Together, we noted that the Judeo-Christian Bible has similar passages. The answer to all of these is simply: intelligent, informed, historic interpretation. You can listen to this interviews by clicking on these titles, "Muslims Respond to Trump: 'He Couldn't Give ISIS a Better Gift" and "How ISIS (Mis)reads the Quran."

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