Religion in the Headlines

And now some fresh pickings from the political grapevine:

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Religious Beliefs Make Headlines
Just a day since the arrest of suspected Beltway Sniper John Muhammad, a converted Muslim, and his religious beliefs are grabbing nearly as many headlines as the details of the shooting spree itself. In a stinging New York Post opinion piece, Middle Eastern expert Daniel Pipes says, "It came as no surprise to learn that the lead suspect is an African-American who converted to Islam about 17 years ago. This was near predictable because it fits into a well-established tradition of American blacks who convert to Islam turning against their country." He lists Muhammad Ali, Malcom X and Louis Farrakhan as examples of his theory, and ends the piece by calling the Muhammad arrest another indication of "the unpleasant realities that Americans must confront if they want to win the war on terror."

Leader Becomes Hero to Many
Meanwhile the man who led the sniper investigation, Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose, has become a hero to many living in the D.C. area. And now fans everywhere can learn more about him by going to The Web site includes pictures, a biography and little-known facts about the chief. For example, Moose sends hand-signed birthday cards to all 1,074 of his officers, plus the police civilian staff, he often pays for bicycles out of his own pocket for children whose bikes had been stolen, and every Christmas he organizes a gift drive for needy children.

The President Sends Walt Fan Mail
And finally, the Washington Post printed part of a fan letter from President Bush to Walt Harrington, a former Post writer and author of the new book, The Everlasting Stream: A True Story of Rabbits, Guns Friends and Family. In the letter, Bush tells Harrington, "I really enjoy my job. The only problem with this place is there aren't enough rabbit hunters up here." Not surprisingly that comment steamed animal rights activists, including Vineeta Anand, the founder of Friends of Rabbits, who fired back, "I am more than appalled that the president of the United States would encourage violence against defenseless animals. Real men do not go hunting defenseless animals. Real men are kind to animals. Does he realize that rabbits are the third most popular pets after dogs and cats? What's he going to do next -- encourage people to shoot dogs and cats?"