“War is not healthy for children and other living things.” That consciously obvious claim—a favored bumper sticker in the 1960s—came to mind while reading a report in USA Today saying that one in four soldiers at the nation’s largest army post have been in counseling during the past year.
Against a background of mounting anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence,
Baptist and other religious leaders spoke out Aug. 30 against
Islamophobia and urged federal officials to take a more proactive role
in safeguarding Muslims’ civil rights.
The political-moral spin from online bloggers and television opinion-makers is enough to make citizens dizzy, if not profoundly unsure of where U.S. public opinion is headed. The controversies relating to religious views have put the nonpartisan Pew polls in the spotlight.
European countries are asking how to deal with hundreds of young Muslims who went to Syria to fight and then returned home. Denmark is experimenting with rehabilitation rather than incarceration. Returning fighters are treated not as criminals but as troubled youth who lost their way and need a second chance. The program, first used with neo-Nazi youth, is voluntary and includes counseling, mentoring, opportunities for more schooling, and meetings with parents. So far the program seems to be working. Denmark has the second highest number of foreign fighters per capita. They “only become ticking bombs if we don’t integrate them” back into society, said a Danish psychologist (New York Times, December 13).