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What the Chapel Hill murders reveal about the place of Muslims in American society

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Deah Barakat took my class "Islam in the Modern World" at N.C. State University a few years ago. He was curious about Islamic history, contemporary spiritual and political movements and was great in class discussions. I've taught thousands of students in the last 11 years here, but Deah stood out for his enthusiasm, kindness, calm demeanor and obvious charisma.

Executions are down and abolition may not be far behind

It looks like the death penalty may be on life support.

January was set to be the deadliest month for U.S. executions in 2015, but nine of the 15 executions were stopped. In an unprecedented wave, three of the deadliest states -- Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri -- stopped executions planned for last month. February has just begun, but nine of its 12 scheduled executions have been halted.

Last year was not a good year for the death penalty, either, as death sentences hit a 40-year low and executions were at a 20-year low.

Ending our nation's addiction to torture

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The sickening details of the CIA's immoral torture program have been laid bare with the release Tuesday of the Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report. The report describes deeply disturbing acts of torture and confirms that it produced no meaningful intelligence that could not have been obtained through other means.

It is difficult to read the report and not conclude that both morality and common sense demand that we take every step necessary to prevent the U.S. torture program from ever being reactivated.

Is nonviolence a solution to all the world's conflicts?

Mention the concept of "nonviolent resistance" and two names immediately come to mind: Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian leader who led his nation to independence from British colonial rule, and Martin Luther King Jr., who led the struggle for civil rights in America. Tragically, both champions of nonviolence were assassinated: Gandhi in 1948 and King 20 years later. Today many people throughout the world revere both advocates of nonviolence.

America isn't a 'Christian nation' and never has been

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Right-wing Christians and the politicians who pander to them like to say that the United States was, is and always should be a "Christian nation."

Why, then, are they so obsessed about money and political power and so determined to make people afraid?

After all, Jesus spent an estimated two-thirds of his teaching time on wealth and power. His message was clear, if radical: Give wealth away rather than build bigger barns. Submit to others rather than seek power. Love your enemies rather than smite them.

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In This Issue

February 27- March 12, 2015

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