Japanese new religions’ role in disaster response

Dr. Barbara Ambros, associate professor of Religious Studies and president of the Society for the Study of Japanese Religions contributed an opinion piece to CNN’s Belief Blog on the responses of Japanese new religions to the recent crises.

“Since this month’s earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, other types of organized aid networks have…largely been neglected by the news media, including the Japanese news: those managed by religious organizations,” Ambros said.  “Since the March 11 earthquake and the resulting tsunami, many new religions have mounted extensive aid campaigns.”

Ambros further noted that “a characteristic feature of Japan’s new religions is having well-organized lay organizations and networks, making them effective channels for providing aid.”

Read more here.

Rep. King misreads UNC Terrorism Study

Photo by Jason SmithDr. Charles Kurzman, UNC Professor of Sociology and Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies, recently clarified the findings of his February 2011 study, “Muslim-American Terrorism Since 9/11: An Accounting.”

Kurzman responded to the remarks of US Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, who questioned the impartiality of Kurzman’s study during an appearance on the 9 March edition of CBS’ Early Show.

Kurzman’s statement, featured on the College of Arts & Sciences‘ website, highlights at some length Rep. King’s misreading of the study’s findings.  Kurzman insisted that his study was neither skewed nor biased, noting: “[the study] was the product of a good-faith, scholarly research project to list all Muslim-American terrorism suspects and perpetrators from September 12, 2001, to December 31, 2010. No cases were included or excluded on the basis of ideological criteria.”

Kurzman will appear on NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show” tomorrow, 10 March 2011, to respond further to the controversial congressional hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims.

Read Kurzman’s full response to Rep. King here.

“The Diane Rehm Show” is available streaming via WUNC here.

Reactions to congressional hearings on the radicalization of Muslims in America,