Religion

CAIR/ Ikram Benaicha

How do Muslims living in Appalachia feel about increasing Islamaphobia in America? What role does the media play in creating such fear?

This issue has been heating up in the last year. As refugees from Syria have been arriving in Europe, some Americans, like Donald Trump,  have called for barring them from entering the United States.

courtesy Fairness West Virginia

This story was updated March 2, 7:40 pm: House Bill 4012 died on a 7 to 27 vote by the West Virginia Senate. The bill, known as the Religious Freedom Protection Act, would have established a process for courts to follow when people or businesses claimed that government action was infringing upon their religious beliefs.

17-year old Davis Kimble, a young activist who had spoken out against the bill earlier this week, had this response to the Senate's decision:"I think this serves as a victory for not only minorities across the state, but also for passionate community leaders who stood up and made their voices heard. It's a shame we had to fight this fight, but it shows a willingness on the part of our state legislatures to hear the people's voices and do what's best for the state and its wonderful people."

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Four amendments for House Bill 4012, the West Virginia Religious Freedom Restoration Act, were debated on the House floor Wednesday morning. The bill creates a judicial test for lawsuits against the state or government entities to ensure the protections of an individual’s “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Us & Them: Atheists

Nov 16, 2015

Throughout our nation’s history, it’s not uncommon for presidential candidates to reference the Bible to demonstrate their religious and specifically, Christian credentials.  Democrats and Republicans both do this, from John F. Kennedy defending against critics of his Catholic faith to fundamentalist Christian GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who said that a person who “doesn’t begin his days on his knees” isn’t fit to be president.

In West Virginia, Executive Director of Main Street Fairmont, Kate Greene, sees a city on the move.

The Clinch River region of Southwestern Virginia is looking for new economic opportunity.

And Tennessee State Park Ranger, Bobby Fulcher, has spent the last three decades traveling the Tennessee hills to record folk-music. These stories and more on this week's Inside Appalachia.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning,  an advocacy group takes over the House of Delegates chamber for its own mock legislative session and religious tolerance is the focus of a discussion in Morgantown. 

Community Coalition for Social Justice

Continued news about conflicts between faith groups around the globe inspired interfaith discussions this week in Morgantown. A Forum on Religious Diversity explored what different faiths teach about social justice, tolerance, and compassion.


This article is part of a special series highlighting the Jewish experience in West Virginia. It's a companion to the television series The Story of the Jews, airing March 25 and April 1 at 8 pm on West Virginia PBS.

We conclude our series on West Virginia's Jewish community - with a story of hope at the Congregation Ahavath Shalom in Bluefield a place where the enthusiasm of youth is bringing a new energy to the older congregation, even if it may be short lived.

Righteous Remnant Bartizvah
Tom Sopher

Righteous Remnant: Jewish Survival in Appalachia is the West Virginia PBS documentary produced by West Virginia University School of Journalism Professor Maryanne Reed. The half-hour film, produced in 1997, examines the history and modern-day concerns of the small Jewish community in Beckley, W.Va. Click play below to watch the entire film.

Rabbi Urecki
Rabbi Victor Urecki

This article is part of a special series highlighting the Jewish experience in West Virginia. It's a companion to the television series The Story of the Jews, airing March 25 and April 1 at 8 pm on West Virginia PBS.

Temple Beth El
Suzanne Higgins

This article is part of a special series highlighting the Jewish experience in West Virginia. It's a companion to the television series The Story of the Jews, airing March 25 and April 1 at 8 pm on West Virginia PBS.

Tom Sopher was once a teenager helping the rabbi at Temple Beth El in Beckley with maintenance and yard work.

In this visually-driven documentary, The Smithsonian Channel highlights the natural (and occasionally the man-made) beauty of West Virginia. The hour-long piece provides a look at various aspects of the state's history and culture, from our formation as a result of the civil war to how industry has played a part in shaping our economic landscape and topography.

Paul Hess, WVVA-TV News

A national Muslim civil rights organization is calling on state and federal law enforcement to investigate the vandalism of a West Virginia mosque as a possible hate crime.

The Mercer County Sheriff’s Department is looking for vandals after the Islamic Society of Appalachian Region near Princeton was spray painted earlier this week.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, wants the FBI to join investigators.