Democracy Now! August 8, 2002

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Democracy Now! August 8, 2002
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The Backlash Against Islam: A conservative Christian group sues the University Of North Carolina for assigning incoming freshmen a book on Islam. A look at the New York Fire Department since September 11th: will the mass exodus of firefighters make room for women and people of color? 9:01-9:06 Headlines: 9:07-9:20 A CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN GROUP SUES THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA FOR ASSIGNING A BOOK ON ISLAM Almost a year after September 11th, bias and harassment against Muslims, Arabs, and south Asians continues across the US. On Monday, Christian evangelist Franklin Graham denounced Islam as an evil religion on the Fox news program Hannity & Colmes . Graham claimed that terrorism is part of mainstream Islam and that the Quran preaches violence. Franklin Graham is the fourth child of the ailing Reverend Billy Graham, who has preached to more people than any man in history. Franklin Graham delivered the opening prayer at President Bush s inauguration. And he is only one of the many voices denouncing Islam. When the University of North Carolina assigned incoming freshmen to read a survey book about Islam this year, it was besieged by right-wing groups and slammed across the airwaves by Christian evangelists. The university says they chose the book "Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations" because of increased interest in Islam since September 11. But Fox News Network host Bill O'Reilly compared the assignment to teaching "Mein Kampf" in 1941 and questioned the purpose of making freshmen study "our enemy's religion." And last month, the Virginia-based Family Policy Network, a conservative Christian organization, filed suit against the university. The Family Policy Network s major issue is opposing homosexuality, but this time, it contends that it is unconstitutional for a publicly funded university to require students to study a specific religion. We are joined by the author of the book "Approaching the Qur'an , Michael Sells, and by the president of the organization that is suing, Joe Glover of the Family Policy Network. Guest: Michael Sells, professor of comparative religion at Haverford College in Pennsylvania and author of Approaching the Quran: the Early Revelations (the book that caused Family Policy Network to sue UNC) Contact: Guest: Joe Glover, president of the Family Policy Network (they are suing UNC for assigning Approaching the Quran to students) Contact: Guest: Hodan Hassan, spokesperson for the Council on American Islamic Relations Contact: 9:21-9:40 MASS EXODUS OF FIRE DEPARTMENT SUPERVISORS: WILL THIS FINALLY MAKE ROOM FOR WOMEN AND PEOPLE OF COLOR? New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Wednesday the Fire Department's top management will be expanded and reorganized. Among other changes, the number of staff chiefs will be almost doubled. Staff chiefs are the highest-ranking uniformed members. Bloomberg s comments came a day after the New York Times reported on its front page that New York City is facing a mass exodus of firefighters, from the rank and file to the most senior management positions. Scores of the Fire Department supervisors, including some of its most senior surviving commanders, have retired since Sept. 11. Hundreds more have notified their union that they expect to leave within a year. The rank and file are also leaving at an alarming rate: forty of the department's front-line firefighters are retiring every week. A year ago, 40 of these firefighters might have retired in a typical month. The mass exodus raises an important question. In times of war, there is often an opening up of opportunities for people who have previously been excluded from certain industries and jobs. During World War II, people of color and women of all colors were recruited in unprecedented numbers to work in defense plants and factories. These higher paying, industrialized jobs were once the sole domain of white men. The New York City Fire Department is currently one of the least diversified fire departments in the country. African Americans comprise less than 3% of the force. The Women in Fire Service reports that there are only 29 women firefighters in the entire New York City Fire Department. The question is: will the tragedy-stricken fire department make room for people of color and women of all colors in this time of war? Guest: Lieutenant Mike Marshall Firefighter and the second vice president of the Vulcan Society, which brought and won a suit against Fire Department about 20 years ago. Contact: Guest: Mary Carouba, Co-Author of Women at Ground Zero Contact: Guest: Susan Hagen, Firefighter and Co-Author of Women at Ground Zero Guest: Eric Foner, professor of history at the Columbia University 9:41-9:58 MASS EXODUS OF FIRE DEPARTMENT SUPERVISORS, cont'd 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits

Date Recorded on: 
August 8, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
August 8, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. August 8, 2002
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