We’ve all seen female Muslim athletes wearing hijabs competing for Team USA at the Rio Olympics, including fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s radio show and podcast, we will explore the challenges, and significance, of this development.

Our host Rev. Welton Gaddy will be joined by Solmaz Sharif, co-founder of Shirzanan, a media and advocacy platform for Muslim females in sport whose name means “female heroes” in Persian. They will discuss the practicalities of competing while wearing a hijab as well as the importance of increased visibility for female Muslim athletes. PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR EXTENDED INTERVIEW VIDEO

Welton will also discuss the uncomfortable relationship in America between much of organized religion and both major political parties with Charles Haynes, founding director of the Religious Freedom Center in Washington and author of a new article on what’s at stake for religious freedom in the current election. They’ll explore the risks of dragging religious rhetoric into the intense partisan battles playing out in our nation and what it will take for both parties to respect the religious freedom enshrined in our Constitution. PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR EXTENDED INTERVIEW VIDEO

Finally, we’ll speak with Jessica Martinez, Senior Researcher at Pew Research Center, about a new survey making headlines on electioneering from the pulpit. It’s against the law for a tax-exempt house of worship to endorse or oppose a candidate for public office, but some religious leaders go out of their way to flout those regulations. We’ll find out how often it actually happens.

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