Descendants want justice for Connecticut witches

HARTFORD, Conn. (RNS) Connecticut was executing suspected witches some 40 years before Salem, Mass. Scores of others were put on trial until witchcraft was no longer listed as a capital crime in 1715. But unlike other states, Connecticut has yet to acknowledge those sent to the gallows. And descendants are trying to change that. By Ann Marie Somma.

Can a creedless religion make it another 50 years?

Daniel Burke |

BALTIMORE (RNS) A recent Sunday service at the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore ended with an apology. Laurel Mendes explained that religious doctrine had been duly scrubbed from the hymns in the congregation's Sunday program. But Mendes, a neo-pagan lay member who led the service, feared that a reference to God in “Once to Every […]

Scotland Yard says witchcraft abuse a hidden crime

Al Webb |

LONDON (RNS) British police have disclosed that they have investigated more than 80 witchcraft-based child abuse cases in the last decade and warned that the practice is “far more prevalent” than previously believed. By Al Webb.

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At 27, new imam represents a homegrown American Islam

Tim Townsend |

ST. LOUIS (RNS) At just 27 years old, Asif Umar is the new imam of Daar-ul-Islam mosque, the largest mosque in the metro area. The son of Indian immigrants is devoted to the city's sports teams, marking the end of Ramadan with a St. Louis Blues hockey game. He also represents the ascendance of a […]

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Muslims caught in reality show crossfire struggle to understand controversy

Kevin Allen |

DEARBORN, Mich. (RNS) When Fordson High School football coach Fouad Zaban was asked to be on a reality show about Muslim family life, his impulse was to decline. “It doesn’t seem like it now, but we kind of like our privacy,” Zaban said. “We are simple people. We don’t do crazy things. … Quite honestly, […]

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COMMENTARY: Objects in the rearview mirror were as big as they appear

A. James Rudin |

(RNS) Here are my picks for the top 10 religion stories from 2011: 1. Islam and Muslims dominated the news in 2011 with the “Arab Spring” rebellions; the electoral success of extreme Islamic parties in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco; Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s brutal crackdown on his people; and Iran’s ominous steps to develop a […]

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Muslim reality show, under fire, denies charges of extremism

Omar Sacirbey |

(RNS) The cast and producers of “All-American Muslim,” a reality-TV show that has been a lightning rod for controversy, said Wednesday (Dec. 14) they are helping change negative perceptions of Muslims, and rejected criticisms that the show is propaganda that sugarcoats Islam. “These are our lives. This is what we’ve been doing for years,” said […]

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Companies pull ads from Muslim reality TV show

Omar Sacirbey |

(RNS) Lowe’s, the national hardware chain, has pulled commercials from future episodes of “All-American Muslim,” a TLC reality-TV show, after protests by Christian groups. The Florida Family Association, a Tampa Bay group, has led a campaign urging companies to pull ads on “All-American Muslim.” The FFA contends that 65 of 67 companies it has targeted […]