Can people of different faiths coexist?
I'm a veteran journalist who has written and edited articles on a wide range of business topics, ranging from regulation and litigation to corporate racial relations to interaction between companies and consumers. I'm interested in illustrating how the realities of the business world frequently clash with the theories and principles that business people find appealing.
Question: Can people of different faiths coexist?
Barrett: Well they do. Muslims are co-existing all around this country. They have the advantage of this country to continue to contrast with Europe, say, of being here in proportion . . . in smaller proportional terms. So they actually are much more diluted into a much larger majority society. There’s no good estimate of the number of Muslims in this country – no reliable number. That’s largely because the United States census does not count by religion. So all you have are private surveys. You have numbers of six or seven million perhaps at the high end; as low as two or three million at the low end. Having no real basis for choosing among those, I use a rough estimate of somewhere three to six million. I don’t really know. But whatever it is, it’s maybe one to two percent of the population; in contrast to places in Europe where it’s five percent or as high as 10 percent, for example, in France. And in those relatively small numbers, and with impressive educational and professional credentials, Muslims in many places are just living their lives. And in fact until 9/11 most people thought of them as Pakistanis or Indians, or some guy from Egypt, or a guy from Turkey. And it’s really only since 9/11 in any really pronounced way that Americans have focused on other Muslims among us in some numbers. So there’s been tensions since then. People have been arrested. There have been prosecutions. Charities have been shut down. There’s been a lot of anxiety. But again look at the terrible thing that happened, and what shock and horror it caused. And look at the overall effect. I mean people were . . . Some people were rounded up, but most of them were released – a terrible experience for many of them; terribly mishandled by the government at several critical stages. But you know today there’s no sort of systematic effort to persecute Muslims as Muslims. We actually have in a lot of ways rebounded from that. Not to say that if there were another terrible terrorist attack that we would be in worse shape than we were on September 12th. But the country actually is doing overall fairly well in absorbing Muslims in the same way that Muslims . . . that previous groups – Catholics, Jews and so forth – started out as extreme outsiders; the targets of extreme prejudice and persecution. Believe me, Jews and Catholics in their day were the targets of much more sustained, much more officially tolerated persecution than Muslims ever have been.
Recorded on: 12/4/07
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Civil discourse has fallen to an all time low.
The question that the American populace needs to ask itself now is: how do we fix it?
Discursive fundamentals need to be taught to preserve free expression
In their findings the authors state:
upholding First Amendment ideals.
Talking politics at Thanksgiving dinner
- Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.
- Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.
- Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.
- Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic, conspiratorial
- Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.
- Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.
- Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,
It's interesting to note the authors found that:
"Tribe membership shows strong reliability in predicting views across different political topics."
Here are some statistics on differing viewpoints according to political party:
- 51% of staunch liberals say it's "morally acceptable" to punch Nazis.
- 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
- 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
- 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
- 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
Here are some guidelines for civic discourse that might come in handy:
- Practice inclusion and listen to who you're speaking to.
Civic discourse in the divisive age
dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants,
the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them.
These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and
putting our democracy in peril.
Once a country has become tribalized, debates about contested issues from
immigration and trade to economic management, climate change and national security,
become shaped by larger tribal identities. Policy debate gives way to tribal conflicts.
Polarization and tribalism are self-reinforcing and will likely continue to accelerate.
The work of rebuilding our fragmented society needs to start now. It extends from
re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to
building a renewed sense of national identity: a bigger story of us."
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