Bad new for Muslims

The arrest of a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan in connection with the attempted bombing of Times Square must have a lot of American Muslims nervous about possible repercussions.

By repercussions, I don’t mean threats of violence (although things do happen from time to time).

I’m talking about everything from nervous glances from neighbors and fellow shoppers at the supermarket to further difficulties with travel.

I know that suburban Muslims are super tired of having to apologize for the actions of violent strangers. Most just want to live their lives.

I would bet that many Muslim groups are right now trying to decide whether to put out statements condemning the attempted bombing. On the one hand, many people demand that Muslims condemn terrorism at every turn. On the other, even to condemn the bomber is to somehow acknowledge his connection to the faith, however distorted.

The guy says he acted alone. But who knows. The picture is of his home, apparently.

Bottom line: When a guy from Bridgeport who just returned from a five-month trip to Pakistan allegedly tries to kill large numbers of New Yorkers and tourists, things won’t get easier for followers of Islam.

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Muslim Americans on Times Square screen

At a time when Muslim Americans want to stress their American-ness…

The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has unveiled a public service announcement on the CBS Super Screen in Times Square.

The theme is: “I am Muslim, I am American.”

It features an NYPD sergeant, a Little League all-star, a human rights activist, a doctoral candidate, and an attorney. All Muslims.

The 15-second announcement will air every hour for 18 hours each day through January 16. The Super Screen is a 26-foot by 20-foot full-motion screen.

The Fort Hood massacre and the recent arrests of five young American Muslims in Pakistan have the American Muslim community trying to thwart concerns about Muslim extremism in this country.

CAIR-NY Community Affairs Director Faiza N. Ali says: “This public service advertisement features ordinary American Muslims whose everyday lives are dedicated to building community and serving country. This initiative is part of our ongoing effort to ensure that a fair and accurate portrayal of Islam and Muslims is presented to the American public.”

Times Square ads invite young adults to “rethink church” (Methodist style)

If you’re in Times Square this summer, you may see ads for the United Methodist Church‘s “Rethink Church” campaign on the CBS “Super Screen.”

That’s the 26-by-20-foot screen on 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues.

Two 15-second ads per hour will appear 18 hours a day through Sept. 30.

The Rethink Church campaign is designed to appeal to 18- to 34-year-olds who seek “spiritual fulfillment” but have their doubts about church as they’ve known it.

This month, the spots ask “What if church was a literacy program for homeless children? Would you come?” and “What if church considered ecology part of theology?”

The spots refer people to the UMC’s new website,

The Rev. Larry Hollon, head of United Methodist Communications, says about Times Square: “Times Square is an ideal fit for our Rethink Church campaign. You’ll find people of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities in Times Square, and we want to tell each of them, ‘There’s a place for you in The United Methodist Church.’”