By Charles C. Haynes, Director of the Religious Freedom Education Project
December 31, 2010 — The No. 1 religion story of 2010 was the emotional, often ugly debate over plans for an Islamic center two blocks from ground zero in Manhattan, according to Religion Newswriters Association members – and just about everyone else making a list. Not far behind was the media-driven obsession with the Florida pastor who got more than his 15 minutes of fame by dangling the threat of Quran-burning before eager reporters camped outside his church.
But to really understand the growing fear of Islam in America in 2010 – and public reaction to it – we should move beyond the sensational and take a closer look at the lesser-known but more instructive mosque-building controversies in local communities, especially the yearlong fight in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
The saga in Murfreesboro, with its protests, counter-protests and courtroom battles, got less attention than the emotional fight near ground zero. But it’s a good case study for how religious freedom is playing out these days in local communities across the country.
For the full story: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/commentary.aspx?id=23734