Immigration History and the Current Discussion of Syrian Refugees

A wave of migrants from the Mediterranean meets a hostile reception from many Americans. The migrants are seen as alien in religion, culture, politics, law. So different in fact that some Americans argue that they can never be assimilated. They are the Italians, in the 1890s.

CHR Comment: The article uses the example of Italian Catholic immigration to predominantly Protestant America in the nineteenth century to argue for changes in attitude toward Syrian immigrants today. Americans at that time were afraid of Sicilians and mafia due to acts of violence. The comparison seems inexact since the Sicilians weren’t killing people for religious reasons.

Source: A brief history of America’s hostility to a previous generation of Mediterranean migrants — Italians | Public Radio International

Boko Haram Attack in Yola, Nigeria

A blast killed in Nigeria killed 32 people and wounded 80 Tuesday at a truck stop in northeastern Nigeria, an emergency official said.

CHR Comment: Yola is a regional capital and a community with many Christians since, for example, it is the location of Concordia College, a school founded by the Lutheran Church. This latest bombing, however, targeted a mosque since Boko Haram also attacks Muslims who do not support their movement.

Source: 32 dead in Nigeria blast blamed on Boko Haram

Stephen Colbert Urges Bill Maher to Return to Church

An awkward, at times profane, exchange between comedy talk show host Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher reflects the conflation of Islam with terrorism – and the debate over how to respond to the terrorist attacks in Paris.

CHR Comment: Maher, a former Catholic, is openly hostile toward religion and blames religion for many of the troubles in the world today, such as terrorism. Colbert, on the other hand, is a sincere Catholic who called Maher to humble himself and return to the Lord during a live broadcast of his program, “The Late Show.”

Source: Awkward exchange: Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher on terrorism and religion –

Islamic State Describes Western and Eastern Nations as “Crusaders”

The information was released in Dabiq, the Islamic State’s online magazine.

CHR Comment: When ISIS took responsibility for bombing a Russian Metrojet that crashed in Sinai, they referred to western states and Russia as “divided Crusaders of the East and West.” This shows how they view the secularized nations as if they were Christian nations.

Source: Islamic State claims to kill 2 hostages; reveals photo of Russian bomb

Hindu Leader Praises Vatican’s Nostra Aetate

CHR Comment: Swami Chidananda Saraswati travelled to Rome with other religious leaders to participate in an interreligious general audience with Pope Francis on the fiftieth anniversary of the papal document that invited dialogue with other religions. Issues of concern mentioned peace between religions and averting terrorism.

Revivalist Churches Characterized as Threat

The West African country can no longer afford to ignore simmering religious tensions and the threat of extremist groups like Boko Haram.

CHR Comment: “Revivalist churches,” which have grown in the last thirty years, are described as contributing to religious tensions since they viewed as preaching intolerance and do not participate in religious dialogues. However, one might note that such groups are not known for violence as is the case with groups that assert themselves through terrorism. It is unclear how registering revival churches will alleviate tensions. Perhaps it is simply a way of taking stock of who they are and what they are doing.

Source: Cameroon must act to halt Boko Haram extremism creeping in | Opinion | Analysis | M&G

Forgiving the Charleston shooting. Modern Church

The question of forgiving someone who did not ask for forgiveness was raised by the recent shooting at Emanuel AME Church. We have the example of St. Stephen who prayed of those killing him, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” We likewise have the example of Jesus praying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Charleston shooting: Emanuel AME holds Bible study –