It is a painful time in our nation, particularly for those who value unity, pluralism, diversity and cooperation. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we’ll dig into what’s driving the rising hate crimes in the United States and how we can find a bit of hope in the middle of especially dark news.

The FBI this week released its 2017 annual report on hate crimes in America, confirming the grim reality we already knew to be true: hate crimes are up – way up. Dr. Simran Jeet Singh, senior religion fellow at the Sikh Coalition and Religion News Service columnist, argues that this is Trump’s America, reflecting “a climate of growing hate that is emboldened and indeed enacted by those at the top.” Dr. Singh will join State of Belief host Rev. Welton Gaddy this week to discuss the new hate crimes report and the cultural and political trends that are contributing to the spike in hate crimes.

Research shows that people who practice gratitude are significantly happier, regardless of life circumstances. AJ Jacobs, New York Times best-selling author of The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible, put those studies to the test with his latest “lifestyle experiment,” which he details in his latest book: Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey. Welton will welcome AJ back to the show this week to discuss his new book and how this journey changed the way he sees and interacts with other people in his daily life.

Last month, the Tree of Life synagogue’s Muslim neighbors opened their doors, their hearts and their wallets to support the community in the wake of an unthinkable tragedy. The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh led the campaign to help, sparking a flicker of light in a moment of deep darkness. Wasi Mohamed, executive director of the center, will join Welton this week to discuss the support they’ve provided and how that support might be the model for the kind of healing we desperately need as a nation.

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