From the Sunday July 11 edition of the Omaha World Herald:
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden’s pronouncement that his “foremost” mission as the head of America’s space exploration agency is to improve relations with the Muslim world not only is bizarre.
It also distracts from the welcome fact that an impressive new book has just come out explaining the diversity, opportunities and challenges of this country’s Muslim population.
And from the July 17 edition:
Word this week that Omaha’s Tri-Faith Initiative continues its laudable work in seeking a common site for Jewish, Muslim and Episcopal facilities provides a springboard for further comment on Dr. Akbar Ahmed’s important new book, “Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam.”
Ahmed, a scholar of Islamic studies at American University in Washington, D.C., and his team traveled to Omaha and other U.S. cities during 2008-09 to study the experiences of Muslims in America.
The pursuit of constructive relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in this country makes sense for many reasons. Our country rejects a caste system: Each citizen is fully American, regardless of one’s race or religious belief (or whether one is a 10th-generation American or a first-generation one).
Our nation’s founders stressed religious liberty. “The state has no right to force religious opinions on the free conscience,” wrote Thomas Jefferson. And the federal Constitution states: “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”