The first decade of the 21st century has been a period of great challenges for the U.S. military, with forces engaged in first Afghanistan and then Iraq for most of that time. Religion is proving to be a source of both comfort and controversy for the troops as they grapple with these demands.
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Foreign relations and diplomacy have been understood and practiced as secular activities. Yet with growing awareness of religion as a force influencing political and civil behavior, as well as recognition of the sheer number of believers in the world, more attention is now being paid to religion as a factor in foreign relations.
Muslims’ engagement with government and politics is becoming more prominent in the United States and abroad on issues ranging from immigration and terrorism to charities and civil rights. This guide lists research centers, organizations and scholars with expertise on the growing role of Muslims’ interactions with government and politics.
Fifty-eight percent of Americans say they know little or nothing about Islam’s practices. And what they know is sometimes wrong. Meanwhile, 32 percent of Americans say the media are the biggest influence on their perception of Muslims. This edition of ReligionLink is a journalist’s guide to covering Muslims and Islam in America.