Muslims and Catholics vs. Banzhaf

There are those who would learn that Catholic University of America, a private, Catholic institution, has doubled its Muslim student … Continued

There are those who would learn that Catholic University of America, a private, Catholic institution, has doubled its Muslim student enrollment in just four years, and think happy thoughts about interfaith cooperation and growing religious harmony.

Cardinal Hall at Catholic University of America, Brookland neighborhood, Washington.

Then there are those who see potential lawsuits, dollar signs, and fame.

John Banzhaf is among the latter. Despite not having a single Muslim student complaint to his case, Banzhaf has filed a case with D.C.’s Office of Human Rights for alleged discrimination against Muslims students, claiming that Muslim students are refused rooms to pray that are devoid of Catholic images. He also alleges that Muslim students, unlike Jewish students, cannot form student groups on campus. Whatever the truth of these claims, what stands out is that the students themselves are not complaining–but Banzhaf is.

Banzhaf, who recently brought another lawsuit against the university for gender discrimination over the school’s decision to return to same-sex dormitories, hardly seems concerned about Muslim rights. He is merely using Muslims as his shield in his battle against conservative religious values, not caring that he is subjecting these students and the American Muslim community as a whole to more resentment in a time when resentment is already high and authentic respect is hard-earned.

Rather than praise an interesting phenomenon of growing Muslim enrollment at a Catholic school, a bright spot of interfaith cooperation and respect in a culture marked by tension, Banzhaf has chosen to exacerbate those tensions and play into everyone’s paranoia –namely, the notions that Muslims cannot tolerate any religion but their own and that Catholicism is rigid and oppressive.

And Muslims are paying for it. News commentators such as Sean Hannity were quick to turn the issue into a media circus. In a panel on Fox News last Thursday, Hannity started the discussion on the case by asking about the alleged Muslim complaints, “So, is it a holy war that is being waged in our nation’s capital?”

Banzhaf should find better ways to occupy his time than chasing paper crusades and stirring animosity between religious communities that were otherwise in détente.

Asma Uddin and Ashley McGuire are the respective editors-in-chief of Altmuslimah and Altcatholicah.


  • outrayaskmay

    Can he be sanctioned? This seems like a predatory lawsuit for personal gain.

  • WmarkW

    One of our society’s greatest threats is how many underemployed lawyers there are. Like the guy who sued the dry cleaner for $50 million over a pair of pants. That’s hilarious. The cleaner’s $190,000 legal bill isn’t.

  • ccnl1

    Dear Asma,

    Saving Muslims is quite easy!!! (developed by yours truly based on the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi)

    The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:
    ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

    Are you ready?

    Using “The 77 Branches of Islamic “faith” a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true “faith” (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings.” i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    The First Five of the 77 Branches:

    “1. Belief in Allah”

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

    “2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence.”

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the “Gi-b G-nab” (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the “akas” for Allah should be included if you continue to be a “crea-tionist”.

    “3. To believe in the existence of angels.”

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No “pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies” ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and “tin–ker be-lls”. Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

    “4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore.”

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribu

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

Read More Articles

Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.