They took the pastor’s bait, just like they took bin Laden’s

September 13th 2010
Having scammed his way to centre stage, Terry Jones pivoted at the last moment. He canceled his plan to burn the Quran, but only on the basis of an utterly fictitious claim to be in negotiations over moving a planned New York City Islamic centre away from its site a few blocks from the World Trade Center area. The erroneously [...]

Nine Years After 9/11, Is Al-Qaeda's Threat Overrated?

September 13th 2010
Nine years after the 9/11 attacks, al-Qaeda's shadow still looms large in America's national conversation. President Barack Obama on Thursday warned that a grotesque Koran-burning prank planned by the pastor of a tiny Florida church would be a "recruitment bonanza for al-Qaeda." The putative threat of Osama bin Laden's little band of terrorists, believed to number no more than a [...]

Why I Oppose the New York Park51 Initiative

September 13th 2010
I cannot in good faith and conscience support the building of a $100 million Islamic center in New York City. The bottom line for me is not about whether Muslims have a right to build an Islamic anything two blocks distance from Ground Zero. The argument about proximity is academic at best; I would be equally opposed to the center if it [...]

A bonfire of Obama's vanities

September 13th 2010
In the US, a crackpot pastor who claims "Islam is of the devil" threatens to burn copies of the Qur'an and puts his plans "on hold" only after appeals from the president, the secretary general of the UN, and Angelina Jolie. In Afghanistan, five US soldiers are charged with murdering civilians at random and collecting their fingers as souvenirs, while [...]

The truth about 'honour' killings

September 13th 2010
The old Pakistani maulawi laid two currency bills on the table between us, one for 50 rupees, the other for 100 rupees. "Now tell me," Rahat Gul asked, "which is the more valuable?" I thought it was a trap - which it was, in a way - but he lost patience with me and seized the 100 rupee note. "Now [...]

Turkey referendum boosts Erdogan's Islam-rooted AKP party

September 13th 2010
Voters approved 26 amendments to Turkey's Constitution on Sunday in a bitterly contested referendum that has exposed the depth of social divisions in the country. In the simple “yes” or “no” ballot, 58 percent voted for changes to the charter written in the aftermath of a 1982 military coup. Some 42 percent voted against the amendments, leaving a 16-point margin of [...]

Business Lobby Seeks New Turkish Constitution

September 13th 2010
The head of Turkey's largest business lobby called on Monday for an all-new constitution, as the country's stock markets surged to a record high in the wake of a referendum victory for the government on changes to the existing one. The call from Tüsiad, the business lobby that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned to take sides or risk "elimination" ahead [...]

As Some Young Muslims Turn to Radicalism, Concern Grows

September 13th 2010
FRANKFURT — Before Abi left her parents’ house in northern Germany last year, she asked her father, “Daddy, what can I bring you from my journey?” He looked up from his book and answered, “Some perfumed oil.” “Will do,” she said, hugging him goodbye. He is still waiting, more than a year later, for her to return. Abi, now 23, and [...]

Broadway and the Mosque

September 13th 2010
There are several reasons why I don’t object to a mosque being built near the World Trade Center site, but the key reason is my affection for Broadway show tunes. Let me explain. A couple weeks ago, President Obama and his wife held “A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House,” a concert in the East Room by some of [...]

Christian churches open doors to Muslims at Ramadan - Prayers held at United Churches

September 13th 2010
For the first time locally, Ramadan ceremonies are taking place in Christian churches as well as mosques. Ramadan, known as the Islamic holy month of fasting, is celebrated by Muslims worldwide and is now underway. Symons Valley United Church in the northwest and Airdrie United Church are opening their doors for nightly Ramadan Taraweeh prayers. "This is a unique example of Christians [...]

United States of Islamophobia?

September 13th 2010
CNN) -- Almost everybody has heard about the protests against the mosque and Islamic center planned to be built about two blocks from ground zero in Manhattan. But most people are still unaware that these anti-Muslim political campaigns are spreading throughout our beloved country as a new wave of Islamophobia hits. Debate over the Islamic center has become ridiculously absurd. [...]

Hair, beards and power - Taking it on the chin

September 13th 2010
In free societies and tyrannies alike, the hair on, and around, a man’s head always sends an ideological signal SHAHRYAR, a fashion-conscious young socialite from Tehran, was immensely proud of his Jackson-5-style Afro. The baseej, Iran’s thuggish militia, were less impressed. They arrested him and dragged him away to a local clerical court, on the grounds that his sprouting hairdo was [...]

المسلمون على صواب والمسيحيون على حق... فأين الخطأ؟

September 13th 2010
كل الجهود التي تبذل من أجل إظهار أن ما يجمع المسيحيين مع المسلمـين هو أكثر مما يفــرقهم يبــقى مجرد استهلاك إعلامي يوظـف من أجل العــلاقات السياسية والوطنية أو العالمية ان كان في الشرق أو في الغرب. المشاكل الأساسية تكمن في المبدأ والعقيدة ومفهوم السلطة. فمن حيث المبدأ، لا ديانة تقر بوجــود ديانة لاحقة، لأنها بطبيعة الحال شمولية، وبالتالي فهي تعتبر [...]

Training Pastors, Rabbis, and Imams Together

September 13th 2010
When Jerry Campbell became president of California's renowned Claremont School of Theology four years ago, low enrollment and in-the-red books threatened to close the 125-year-old institution. But since Claremont is the only United Methodist seminary west of Denver, Campbell resolved to find a way to stay open. Drawing from classic American entrepreneurial wisdom — when faced with extinction, innovate — and [...]

Who’s Inside the Muslim Box?

September 13th 2010
Religious freedom vs. wisdom President Obama, after saying that building a mosque at Ground Zero fit our “commitment to religious freedom,” ( backtracked, saying he wasn’t commenting on the ‘wisdom’ ( of building it so close to ‘hallowed ground.’ A Fox News poll showed that while 61 percent of Americans believe that Cordoba House has a constitutional right to build near Ground [...]

Is This America?

September 14th 2010
For a glimpse of how venomous and debased the discourse about Islam has become, consider a blog post in The New Republic this month. Written by Martin Peretz, the magazine’s editor in chief, it asserted: “Frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims.” Mr. Peretz added: “I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are [...]

Sarrazin's Truths - Political Correctness Is Silencing an Important Debate

September 14th 2010
German central banker Thilo Sarrazin is being pilloried over his polemic chastising of Muslims, but there are a few things his critics clearly fail to understand. You can't cast away what the man embodies: The anger of a German people who are tired of being cursed at when they offer to help foreigners to integrate. Nothing is as it used to [...]

French Senate passes ban on full Muslim veils

September 15th 2010
PARIS -- The French Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a bill banning the burqa-style Islamic veil on public streets and other places, a measure that affects less than 2,000 women but that has been widely seen as a symbolic defense of French values. The Senate voted 246 to 1 in favor of the bill in a final step toward making [...]

The paranoid style in American punditry

September 15th 2010
Richard Hofstadter's seminal take on right-wing crackpots sheds light on the current anti-Muslim panic. I spent most of August more or less disconnected from TV, the Internet and print news outlets, so when I caught up with a friend on the phone, I asked him to brief me on which stories had captured the nation's attention. He tried to explain [...]

Imams Made in Germany Will Efforts to Train Homegrown Muslim Leaders Fail?

September 16th 2010
The German government plans to enlist imams educated at German universities to improve the integration of young Muslims in the future. The program, however, threatens to create a conflict between Germany and Turkey and with Muslim organizations. The man with the moustache and neatly ironed shirt raises his eyebrows. With which names does he associate Germany? "Ballack, Hitler," he replies. Ahmet Aktürk, [...]

Insurgents still using Quran burning furor to raise Afghans' ire

September 16th 2010
Washington — Insurgents are actively trying to use the threat by a Florida preacher to burn Qurans as leverage against US and Afghan troops, according to the governor of what has been up to recently one of Afghanistan's most violent areas. Though it is clear to many that the threatened actions of the 50-member church do not “represent the American people,” [...]

Let’s get married—for an hour

September 16th 2010
Young unmarried couples craving a getaway turn to the legal loophole of “temporary marriages” The penalty for having sex outside of marriage in Iran is 100 lashes. So men wanting a dalliance or young unmarried couples craving a getaway turn to the legal loophole of “temporary marriages”: contracts of a specific duration—anywhere from 60 minutes to 99 years—and for a specified [...]

The Meaning of the Koran

September 16th 2010
Test your religious literacy: Which sacred text says that Jesus is the “word” of God? a) the Gospel of John; b) the Book of Isaiah; c) the Koran. The correct answer is the Koran. But if you guessed the Gospel of John you get partial credit because its opening passage — “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with [...]

Harvard's Marty Peretz Problem

September 17th 2010
The longtime New Republic editor ignited a flame war by denouncing Muslim life as “cheap.” Now he’s off to Harvard to be honored. Benjamin Sarlin on the controversy heading toward campus. Martin Peretz, the owner and longtime editor in chief of The New Republic, is no stranger to fights over Middle East politics. His far-right views on Israeli politics and the [...]

Muslim summit planned over NYC Islamic center

September 17th 2010
NEW YORK — Some Muslims who were initially indifferent about a proposed Islamic center near the World Trade Center site are now rallying around the plan, partly in response to a sense that their faith is under assault. A summit of U.S. Muslim organizations is planned for Saturday and Sunday in New York City to address both the project and a [...]

Turkey: a democratic superpower in the Middle East

September 19th 2010
Turkey's vote for constitutional reforms last week helped solidify its position as the new superpower of the Middle East and the shining model of what a modern, Muslim-majority democracy can achieve if given the opportunity. Istanbul — A political party espousing a commitment to what it calls “Islamic moral values” has brought Turkey closer to a full-fledged democracy than it has [...]

Un jour on regrettera l’Europe

September 20th 2010
Coup de colère d’un quotidien populaire koweïtien contre ceux qui dénoncent le racisme européen à l’égard des musulmans alors même qu’ils le pratiquent contre les étrangers dans leur propre pays. L’Europe est parfois appelée le Vieux Continent, mais elle reste la mère de la civilisation moderne, le centre de la culture mondiale et l’incarnation de la conscience internationale. L’Europe, et surtout [...]

More on "Muslim Life is Cheap"

September 20th 2010
I've already had my say on the merits of this one. My purpose now is to summarize several developments in the "Muslim life is cheap" controversy surrounding Martin Peretz, editor in chief of The New Republic. Subsequent installments will include samples from the large quantity of eloquent comments I have received, both pro and con the argument I was making. Listing [...]

In One City, an Islamic Center Unifies

September 20th 2010
California Town's Muslims, Plunging Into Civic Life, Provide Home for Movement to Oust Officials Amid Salary Scandal BELL, Calif.—Infuriated residents of this small southern California city made a national name for themselves when they ousted three municipal officials after revelations of six-figure salaries. Lesser known is that Bell's citizen revolution is being run from an Islamic community center. Taxpayer outrage [...]

Fathi Osman, Scholar of Islam, Dies at 82

September 20th 2010
Fathi Osman, an influential scholar who articulated a liberal version of Islam and published an authoritative guide to the Koran for non-Arabic readers, died on Sept. 11 at his home in Montrose, Calif. He was 82. The cause was congestive heart failure, said his daughter, Ghada Osman. Dr. Osman, an Egyptian, took on the scholarly task of explaining Islam to both Muslims [...]

Saudi national day reflects monarchy’s growing clout against clerics

September 20th 2010
Saudi authorities are taking greater liberty in celebrating the modern monarchy’s anniversary, a sign of their growing clout against clerics who have criticized holidays outside of the Islamic calendar. Present ruler King Abdullah, 86, emphasised his push to reform the deeply conservative country upon taking power in 2005 by decreeing September 23 as an official holiday marking the kingdom’s unification led [...]

Muslim Leaders Stand by Islamic Center Near Ground Zero

September 20th 2010
Comparing the planners of the Muslim community center and mosque to be built two blocks from ground zero to Rosa Parks, leaders of numerous American Muslim organizations declared their strong support for the project on Monday, and said it should not move. The leaders, representing local as well as national groups, stressed that their primary concern was not this one project, [...]

Review: Chopra's novel on life of Muhammad is fact-based, liberally embellished

September 21st 2010
Muhammad: A Story of the Last Prophet" (HarperOne, $25.99), by Deepak Chopra: Countless books have been written about the life of Muhammad, Islam's prophet. Spirituality guru Deepak Chopra has added another to the mix: A novel generally rooted in facts but liberally embellished. In "Muhammad: A Story of the Last Prophet," Chopra employs a wide cast of narrators to tell the [...]

Catholic Church backs Muslim struggle to build Milan's first mosque

September 22nd 2010
While New York frets over the construction of an Islamic cultural center and mosque near ground zero, Milan is pushing back against construction of its first mosque. Local Muslims have found an unlikely ally in the Catholic Church. Milan, Italy — American pundits and politicians continue to argue over whether building an Islamic cultural center two blocks from ground zero [...]

Is the Muslim Brotherhood getting stronger in Quebec?

September 22nd 2010
An open letter to Quebecers A conference entitled Nos Familles, Nos Fondations (Our Families, Our Foundations) will shortly take place on Sept. 25 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal (the convention centre). The conference, sponsored by Islamic Relief Canada, a well-known organization which is headquartered in Great Britain, is the product of the alliances of the broad Muslim Brotherhood movement. [...]

The Mosque, the Nazis and Martin Luther King

September 23rd 2010
Pretty much everyone now seems to understand that the proponents of the New York City mosque and community center have a First Amendment right to locate their facility near the site of the World Trade Center. That is, almost everyone now seems to acknowledge that the government cannot constitutionally prohibit a religious organization from constructing a church, a temple, [...]

L'islam est compatible avec la démocratie

September 23rd 2010
Le professeur turc Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, 66 ans, est le secrétaire général de l'Organisation de la conférence islamique, une institution qui regroupe 57 pays et qui a rang d'observateur permanent à l'ONU. Il est spécialiste de l'histoire des sciences. Etes-vous inquiet de la montée de l'islamophobie aux Etats-Unis ? L'islamophobie est un concept erroné. Les gens n'ont rien à craindre de [...]

Emir deplores ‘war on terror’

September 24th 2010
The West’s so-called war on terror has cast a shadow over the last decade, deepening violent conflict and unfairly depicting Islam, HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani told the UN yesterday. “This first decade of the 21st century has been blindly attacked by what has come to be known as the war on terrorism,” the Emir said in remarks [...]

New Muslim comic book superhero on the way

September 26th 2010
Comic book fans will soon be getting their first glimpse at an unlikely new superhero — a Muslim boy in a wheelchair with superpowers. The new superhero is the brainchild of a group of disabled young Americans and Syrians who were brought together last month in Damascus by the Open Hands Intiative, a non-profit organization founded by U.S. philanthropist and businessman [...]

For Muslims, Day of Celebration Amid Controversy

September 27th 2010
The scene seemed surreal, yet oddly poignant: at a silent, deserted intersection in the center of Midtown Manhattan, beneath bland corporate logos and brick office buildings, hundreds of Muslims knelt on a sprawling tarpaulin, faced due east and commenced the midday call to prayer. The ceremony, held along a blocked-off portion of Madison Avenue, marked the start of the American Muslim [...]

The battle against cyber-jihad

September 28th 2010
New research suggests closing down extremist Islamic websites is no substitute for directly challenging their religious ideology Three religious concepts form "the backbone of all jihadist activity", according to new research by the anti-extremism thinktank Quilliam. The concepts – used to justify a very broad range of violent activities – are "self-supporting and mutually reinforcing", and highly resistant to being challenged [...]

Campaign against Islam leads to radicalisation

September 29th 2010
A perceived mounting campaign against Islam in the West is irking liberals and Islamic clerics in Egypt, who are apprehensive that this trend will radicalise Muslims Cairo: A perceived mounting campaign against Islam in the West is irking liberals and Islamic clerics in Egypt, who are apprehensive that this trend will radicalise Muslims. "Nine years after the terror 9/11 attacks, the world [...]

A "Global Movement of Moderates": Speech of a Muslim Prime Minister

September 29th 2010
There is lots in the queue about different observations of Islam in different parts of the world, about America from afar, and all the rest. For the moment, a notable speech yesterday at the United Nations General Assembly from Najib Tun Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, about the need for members and leaders of the world's major faiths to [...]

The Ground Zero Synagogue—Lebanon Becoming More American than America

October 1st 2010
"There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.”— Newt Gingrich Has Lebanon officially become more tolerant and progressive than the United States? Let's talk [...]

Did militant Israeli settlers burn mosque near Bethlehem?

October 5th 2010
Many Israelis suspect militant Israeli settlers, seeking to incite religious violence and undermine peace negotiations, burned a Palestinian mosque near Bethlehem. Palestinians pray inside a partially burned mosque in the West Bank village of Beit Fajjar, near Bethlehem, on Oct. 4. The mosque became the fourth in the last two years to be the target of an arson attempt, according to [...]

Women and the Rise of The Religious Conservatives

October 5th 2010
In Damascus women are increasingly falling under the conservative trend that is sweeping the region. Today, the percentage of women wearing the hijab on the streets of Damascus is on the rise. Many reasons have been proposed for the increasing number of women wearing the hijab: assertion of self-identify in the face of a perceived Western attack on Islam, a direct [...]

Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders goes on trial

October 6th 2010
The Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders has gone on trial in Amsterdam accused of inciting hatred against Muslims. Continue reading the main story Related stories Profile: Geert Wilders In quotes: Geert Wilders Dutch coalition with Wilders near Mr Wilders, whose statements have included comparing the Koran with Hitler's Mein Kampf, told the court freedom of expression was on trial. If found guilty, [...]

Germany stresses integration on 20-year anniversary of reunification

October 6th 2010
Germany's president celebrated the country's new-found national pride but also stressed that more needs to be done to integrate Muslim and other immigrants as he marked the 20th anniversary of reunification on Sunday. Germany's post-Second World War division ended with reunification Oct. 3, 1990 — less than 11 months after communist East Germany opened the Berlin Wall amid pressure from massive [...]

Outraged, and Outrageous

October 10th 2010
PAMELA GELLER’S apartment, in the fashion of the blogosphere, doubles as her office. It is a modern full-floor unit in a high-rise on the East Side of Manhattan that could belong to a socialite or the editor of a lifestyle magazine. There is ample light and a tasteful lack of clutter. The kitchen appliances are made of brushed steel; the [...]

Holy places: Unholy rows

October 14th 2010
Holy places should unite humanity. Too often, they have the opposite effect ACROSS northern India, householders who were braced for a bout of violent sectarian strife are sighing with relief. The people most affected by one of the world’s biggest arguments over sacred turf, in the town of Ayodhya, seemed to accept the verdict, even if it was not quite what [...]