9/11

9/11

In the days and months after 9/11, St. Paul's Chapel became the hub where thousands of volunteers and rescue workers received round-the-clock care. It was a moving setting to explore how 9/11 changed us as a people — and to ponder the inward work of living with enduring grief and unfolding understanding. From a live conversation at the edge of Ground Zero, The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg, journalist and novelist Pankaj Mishra, and theologian Serene Jones.

Many Americans received a violent introduction to Islam in September 2001. And yet, only one quarter of Americans told pollsters then that they considered Islam itself to be more likely than other religions to encourage violence in its believers. In the last two years, that figure has almost doubled. The specter of violence committed in the name of Islam has become as routine as it is shocking, especially at present in Iraq.

In this hour, we take a critical look at what is happening in Islam from inside a practice of that tradition. Krista discusses the present escalation of violence in the name of Islam with a practicing Muslim and leading scholar of Islamic studies, Vincent Cornell. He paints a bleak picture of chaos and drift within Islam which may presage renewal or the continued decay of the religion he loves.

In this program, we delve into uncomfortable religious and moral questions that the September 2001 terrorist attacks raised—questions of meaning that Americans have only begun to ponder one year later.

This hour also features the riveting first-person account of veteran public radio producer Marge Ostroushko, who captures elements of the religious life that grew up at and around Ground Zero and was largely hidden from news reporting. Her coverage, which you won't hear anywhere else, includes the ash-swirled final service, and an interview with the priest who coordinated the 24-hour team of clergy who blessed every human remain found there since 9/11.

Dramatic headlines convey a predominantly violent picture of global Islam. But, during the past five years, Muslim guests on SOF have conveyed a thoughtful, questing, diverse, and compelling faith. Step back with us and hear these voices from the traditional and evolving center of Islam. And, Krista speaks with Seyyed Hossein Nasr, an esteemed Muslim scholar who brings a broad religious and historical perspective to hard questions about Islam and the West that have lingered uncomfortably in American life since 9/11.

The theory of the "God gap"—often broadly suggesting that religious Americans are conservative and will vote Republican while non-religious Americans are liberal and will vote Democratic—has been prominent in press reporting and political maneuvering in the 2004 presidential race. At their recent conventions, both parties seemed to grapple with faith dynamics and respond to the perceived God gap in interesting, unexpected ways.

Krista speaks with Steven Waldman, who covered the 2004 Democratic and Republican conventions for religious messages, images, and language. He says that, strictly speaking, the God gap is a myth. We'll look beyond the headlines about the political gulf that reportedly separates religious and secular Americans.

Ash of murdered thousands.The Brooklyn sun on September 11, 2001. (photo: by Joshua Treviño/Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0)

Sheryl Oring Collective MemoryEvery day is the anniversary of something. The date on the calendar ripples with other dates, other stories.

Obama and Bush Pray at 9/11 CeremonyU.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama and former U.S. President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush observe a moment of silence at the time the first hijacked airliner crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center during the tenth anniversary commemoration of the September 11, 2001 attacks at the lower Manhattan site of the World Trade Center in New York. (photo: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

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