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Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the media after meeting with a group of black pastors at his office in the Manhattan borough of New York on Nov. 30, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Detroit archbishop denounces proposals to bar Muslims from U.S.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the media after meeting with a group of black pastors at his office in the Manhattan borough of New York on Nov. 30, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the media after meeting with a group of black pastors at his office in the Manhattan borough of New York on Nov. 30, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

By David Gibson
Religion News Service

Without mentioning Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump by name, Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron has blasted proposals like Trump’s that would specifically bar Muslims from the U.S., saying the idea “fractures the very foundation of morality on which we stand.”

Vigneron’s denunciation, in a letter he sent on Thursday (Dec. 10) to his priests, is significant because Catholic leaders have been strong defenders of religious freedom in recent years but have been largely quiet in the wake of Trump’s controversial pitch earlier this week to bar all Muslims from the U.S.

“While the Catholic Church refrains from weighing in for or against individual candidates for a particular political office, the Church does and should speak to the morality of this important and far-reaching issue of religious liberty,” Vigneron wrote in the letter, which he also sent to imams in his state.

“Especially as our political discourse addresses the very real concerns about the security of our country, our families, and our values, we need to remember that religious rights are a cornerstone of these values,” he wrote.

“Restricting or sacrificing these religious rights and liberties out of fear — instead of defending them and protecting them in the name of mutual respect and justice — is a rationalization which fractures the very foundation of morality on which we stand.”

In the wake of recent attacks by Islamic extremists some political leaders, principally Republicans, have floated a number of proposals that would seek to limit the entry of refugees from Syria or provide an explicit religious test to refugees in an effort to reduce the chance that Muslims would enter the country and to favor Christian refugees.

Catholic organizations have been among the faith groups that have defied the orders of governors in some 30 states — including Michigan — against resettling Syrian refugees.

On Monday, Trump took the issue a giant step further by proposing a “total and complete” ban on Muslims entering the U.S. “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

That prompted strong condemnations from leaders of both parties.

Yet while many religious leaders also decried Trump’s plan, some, like Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, supported Trump. And religious leaders who have been especially outspoken on religious liberty have not been as vocal on this episode as they have on others.

Vigneron’s appeal was also notable because southern Michigan is home to a large Muslim population, and metropolitan Detroit has the fourth-largest population of Syrian refugees among US cities, with about 3,000.

The archbishop began his letter by noting the Catholic Church’s teaching on respecting Muslims and their beliefs, and by stressing the “warm relations marked by a spirit of mutual respect and esteem” between Catholics and Muslims in southeastern Michigan.

Vigneron concluded by saying that his views on religious freedom were “not only Catholic sentiments” but “are the sentiments of all Americans.”

A national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Friday showed that nearly six in 10 Americans oppose Trump’s proposal to bar Muslims from entering the U.S., but it also shows Republicans are evenly divided on the idea.

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All Eyes on Shabbazz Muhammad

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

SHABAZZ-MUHAMMADSmall forward Shabazz Muhammad of Bishop Gorman high school in Las Vegas, Nevada is virtually a unanimous national top-5 recruit in the boys’ basketball class of 2012. That makes for a nice subjective analysis of his talent. But how about an objective measure of his abilities: he has no less than 16 big-time college scholarship offers, including offers from such elite programs as Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, UCLA, UNLV, and USC.

It was originally thought that the home town UNLV team would have long odds in securing Muhammad’s services amongst the big boys that are after him. But those odds improved after Dave Rice was hired as UNLV’s new men’s basketball coach last month. Rice just happens to be the brother of Shabbazz’s high school coach, Grant Rice. Shabbazz’s father, Ron Holmes, heard the new coach speak and was impressed, and he told the Las Vegas Sun this his son will indeed take a recruiting trip to UNLV. “Without a doubt, UNLV will be right there,” Holmes said of UNLV’s chances to sign his son.

Muhammad averaged 25 points per game this past winter and was named the Sunset Region’s Player of the Year. The 6 foot 6 inch wing player just may be the biggest recruit in Southern Nevada history, and that is saying something.

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Bishop Williamson Rejects Holocaust Denial Punishment

IsraelNN.com

British Roman Catholic Bishop Richard Williamson said on Sunday that he rejected the idea that he should be subject to punishment in Germany for denying the Holocaust on Swedish television, adding that he tried to prevent the interview from being broadcast there, according to a report by the German weekly Der Spiegel. Bishop Williamson’s German lawyer confirmed that the bishop had applied to a Nuremberg state court to issue an injunction, but said it was rejected in February.

The interview was conducted near the Bavarian city of Regensburg, shortly before the bishop’s excommunication was lifted by Pope Benedict XVI. Prosecutors in Regensburg applied last week for an order of punishment against Williamson, accusing him of incitement. A judge is expected to rule on whether to issue a fine next week.

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