Category : Islam

(PRC) U.S. Muslims Concerned About Their Place in Society, but Continue to Believe in the American Dream


The early days of Donald Trump’s presidency have been an anxious time for many Muslim Americans, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Overall, Muslims in the United States perceive a lot of discrimination against their religious group, are leery of Trump and think their fellow Americans do not see Islam as part of mainstream U.S. society.

At the same time, however, Muslim Americans express a persistent streak of optimism and positive feelings. Overwhelmingly, they say they are proud to be Americans, believe that hard work generally brings success in this country and are satisfied with the way things are going in their own lives – even if they are not satisfied with the direction of the country as a whole.

Indeed, nearly two-thirds of Muslim Americans say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. today. And about three-quarters say Donald Trump is unfriendly toward Muslims in America. On both of these counts, Muslim opinion has undergone a stark reversal since 2011, when Barack Obama was president, at which point most Muslims thought the country was headed in the right direction and viewed the president as friendly toward them.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Islam, Religion & Culture

(AJ) Anglican church in Ontario rents space to Muslim worshippers

A Leamington, Ont., church is renting out space in its basement to local Muslims for use as a mosque.

Since this spring, Muslim worship has been held in the basement of St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, diocese of Huron, says the church’s rector, the Rev. Andrew Wilson.

The arrangement serves the church because it provides income to fund its ministry, he says; but it also an important part of the church’s outreach to Leamington’s growing refugee population.

“To one degree, it’s as basic as a rental, but it is creating wonderful community for them—they feel safe, they feel welcome,” he says.

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Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Canada, Islam, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Muslim-Christian relations, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(60 Minutes) A young American who grew up in the heartland tells Scott Pelley what made him try to join ISIS in Syria

Abdirizak Warsame learned the theology of murder in Minneapolis, Minnesota…

Scott Pelley: YouTube became more real to you than your neighborhood in Minnesota?

Abdirizak Warsame: Yes.

Scott Pelley: How could that be?

Abdirizak Warsame: It kind of takes control of you. And you think you’re doing something for a greater cause. And you think you’re doing it for good.

Scott Pelley: And what was that?

Abdirizak Warsame: Most of the videos would talk about how if you would engage in jihad you would be doing your family a favor. And that you would be saving their lives from eternal hell fire.

Scott Pelley:That if you died as a martyr you would not only go to paradise your whole family would go with you?

Abdirizak Warsame: Whole family would go to paradise.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Syria, Violence

(NPR) Thomas Hegghammer: Aesthetics, Culture Key To Understanding Jihadists

MCEVERS: Just describe this what you call rich aesthetic culture that these jihadis have. Besides the weeping during prayer, what else are we talking about here?

HEGGHAMMER: Yeah, so it’s basically a very sensitive aesthetic universe we’re dealing with, with poetry, singing, art, graphic art, visual art and a whole lot of religious rituals – a lot of things that seem to have no purpose, no kind of military function. And this is what got me interested in this to begin with. It was that you had these hunted men – because terrorists are hunted men. They’re short on time and resources. And you should expect them to spend all their time on useful things like building bombs or writing propaganda or raising funds. But here they are doing all these seemingly useless things. And that I thought was really, really fascinating.

MCEVERS: I mean, I think one reason this might be surprising to people is we think of jihadis as people who forbid culture, right? No pictures. No music. No – I mean, music in the sense that we understand it, right?

HEGGHAMMER: That is right. And there are some kind of boundaries to the creative expression here. For example, they don’t use instruments in their music because instruments are believed to have the potential of arousing sexual desires. So they stay clear of instruments. But they use a cappella voices very creatively so it really sounds like music with instruments.

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Posted in Islam, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(CBC) Leamington, Ontario, Anglican church opens doors to Muslim worshippers

Muhammad Asghar kneeled on the floor alongside a couple of dozen fellow Muslims last week silently praying. When he looked up and turned his head, he smiled at the Anglican priest kneeling behind him.

“To my amazement, he came and joined me in the prayer,” Asghar said.

A Christian clergyman kneeling inside a mosque would normally be an unusual occurrence, but in Leamington — the small farming community in southwestern Ontario — it’s become a common sight.

Asghar and many others regularly pray at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, where the Muslim community has set up a mosque, thanks to a deal worked out between the two religious communities.

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Posted in Canada, Canada, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Provinces Other Than TEC, Religion & Culture

([London] Times) Muslim same-sex marriage is thriving, says drag queen Asifa Lahore

There have been “countless” same-sex marriages between gay and lesbian Muslims, Britain’s first Muslim drag queen says.

According to Asifa Lahore, 34, the country has a “thriving” Muslim LGBT community.

Ms Lahore was brought up in west London by a devout Muslim family with a Pakistani background. She was born Asif Quraishi and married another gay man of Pakistani heritage in July 2014, months after same-sex marriages were permitted in March that year.

Ms Lahore appeared on Channel 4’s Muslim Drag Queens in 2015, billed as Britain’s first Muslim drag performer. She began the process of gender transition to become a woman this year.

She spoke to The Times about her same-sex wedding after Jahed Choudhury, 24, claimed last week that his wedding to Sean Rogan, 19, at a register office in Walsall last month was the first same-sex marriage in the UK involving a Muslim. “There are countless,” Ms Lahore said. “In the last three years I’ve been to dozens of gay Muslim, same-sex marriages. I attended one last Thursday, of two gay British Bangladeshi guys.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, England / UK, History, Islam, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

(WGBH) Boston Posters Produced to Fight Against abuse of Islamic citizens generates Discussion

The cartoon guide recommends that the bystander engage in non-confrontational behavior to diffuse a potentially unsafe situation for the person being harassed. It shows the bystander choosing to sit next to a woman in a hijab who initially appeared uncomfortable around a man leaning toward her on the bus.

The cartoon’s author, Maeril, encouraged onlookers to use the guide not only for diffusing Islamophobic harassment, but for any other type of harassment as well. Suzan El-Rayess, the civic engagement director at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, agreed.

“We encourage all of our fellow Bostonians to apply the approach in these posters to anyone targeted — whether Muslim, Latino or otherwise,” El-Rayess told the AP.

Elise Whitney, 28, thought that the poster may have the opposite intended effect and attract more unwanted attention toward hijab wearers.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Islam, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Globe+Mail) Quebec City Muslim community vows to continue fighting for rejected cemetery

In the aftermath of the bloody mosque shooting that took the lives of six Muslim men in Quebec City this year, Mohamed Kesri said he was struck by the outpouring of support and solidarity from fellow Quebeckers.

“The cards, the flowers, the visits to our mosque, the hugs. It was incredible,” he said. “We started to build closer relations. We felt encouraged about living side-by-side.”

On Monday, Mr. Kesri said he wondered where the spirit of kinship had gone, and how to repair it. A project to create a cemetery for Quebec City Muslims had been defeated by three votes in a referendum. Mr. Kesri, who spearheaded the project on behalf of the Centre culturel islamique de Québec, said he was disheartened but adamant about pursuing the fight.

“We will not give up,” he said on Monday. “It’s insane. Three votes. We speak for thousands of Muslims in Quebec City.”

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Posted in Canada, Death / Burial / Funerals, Islam, Religion & Culture

(NPR) ‘How To Be A Muslim’ Author On Being A Spokesperson For His Faith

Growing up in New England as a first-generation Pakistani-American, Haroon Moghul was taught that practicing his Islamic faith would make life his better. What he didn’t anticipate was how challenging it could be to be Muslim in America.

In 2001, Moghul was the student leader of New York University’s Islamic Center when the Sept. 11 attacks occurred. Shortly thereafter, he was called upon to be a spokesperson for the Muslim community in New York — a role he describes as both a “civic responsibility” and a “tremendous burden.”

“It’s really hard,” he says. “Being Muslim can be a limiting factor where you’re shackled to what people do in the name of Islam in different parts of the world, including here in the United States.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Books, Islam, Religion & Culture

(DW) Islamist extremism: Germany invests millions to prevent radicalization

Germany’s Family and Youth Minister Katarina Barley on Wednesday called for her country to strengthen its efforts to prevent all forms of extremism, calling for a federal law on the prevention of extremism to stabilize projects and initiatives against, for example, right-wing extremism.

Although there is now more money available for prevention, “we aren’t yet on target,” Barley said on Wednesday. Announcing the findings of a report into extremism prevention, Barley said at a press conference in Berlin that in fighting Islamist extremism, “we must not wait until young people have become radicalized.”

“Security and prevention must go hand in hand,” she added.

According to Barley, prevention work must begin where the threat is particularly high, for example in the school yard, on the Internet, and also in the prisons.

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Germany, Islam, Religion & Culture, Violence

(NPR) For Christians In Egypt, Building A New Church Can Set Off Violence

ARRAF: Samuel was 20, and Beshoy was 22. They’re considered martyrs now. That’s because they were among 20 young Egyptian workers beheaded by ISIS in Libya two years ago. To commemorate their deaths, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi gave permission for a huge new church on the road to al-Our. Building churches is so controversial here, it took an ISIS attack to get permission to build one.

The village is 70 percent Muslim. Some of the villagers protested and threw stones when construction started on the church. Churches are a sensitive subject throughout Egypt, even though about 10 percent of the population is Christian. It’s hard to get permits to build them. In Minya, a poor province which has the biggest concentration of Christians, even talk of a church can be dangerous.

EBRAHIM FAHMY: (Through interpreter) They burned my house. They burned the house my brother was building and the houses of five other brothers. They thought we were going to open a church.

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Posted in Egypt, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Violence

(WSJ) Charlotte Allen–In Spain Muslims demand to worship in a cathedral that hasn’t been Islamic since 1236

“The Great Mosque of Cordoba.” That’s what Unesco—the cultural arm of the United Nations—calls the 24,000-square-foot 10th-century structure visited by 1.5 million tourists a year. It was declared a World Heritage site in 1984, and rightfully so: The building’s interior is a stunning example of Moorish architecture.

Yet this “mosque” is actually the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Córdoba. In 1236, King Ferdinand III of Castile captured Córdoba from the Almohad Caliphate. He then had the building consecrated for Christian use. Or reconsecrated, rather, since underneath the mosque lay the demolished remains of a sixth-century church built by Spain’s Visigothic rulers before the Muslim invasion in 711. Today, Mass and confession are celebrated inside. The cathedral has been a Christian house of worship for centuries longer than it was an Islamic one.

The discordance greeting tourists is the result of more than 200 years of antagonism toward the Catholic Church by left-leaning Spanish intellectuals. They have used the cathedral’s unique architecture essentially to de-Christianize it in the name of restoring its historical Islamic roots. This secularist campaign began in the early 19th century but has gained new force in the past 20 years. Recent Islamic immigration to Spain has given the anticlerical leftists new allies—Muslims demanding to worship in their “Great Mosque.”

But that would require taking the building out of the Catholic Church’s hands.

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Posted in Church History, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Spain

(CEN) Andrew Carey–We must wake up to the Islamist threat facing us

It is important to counter extremist ideas including those that are fascist, Stalinist or racist but we all know that Prevent’s real job is to tackle Islamist radicalism. Ideologies should not be banned or outlawed but they should be countered effectively, especially when they lead to criminality or terrorism.

The main terrorism that we face today is related to Islam. And the problem behind Islamist terrorism is the difficulty of certain forms of Islam in compromising with modernity, and the failure of many Muslims to come to terms with being a minority in a world that largely regards religious belief and piety as a purely private matter.

But many Muslim leaders seem surprised when questions about terrorism are put to them. These terrorists are killers and Islam bans killing therefore, they reason, the terrorists cannot be Muslims. But that is to duck the problem.

If Muslims do not tackle the issue of how terrorism arises out of the Muslim community and is fed by certain crucial theological ideas, then the ideology will never be effectively challenged. There is a sort of collective brushing under the carpet in the Muslim community that is deeply unhelpful to all of us.

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Posted in England / UK, Islam, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

BBC’s Beyond Belief–How Islamic is the So-Called Islamic State?

In claiming responsibility for the Paris atrocities, the so-called Islamic State described the attacks as “a blessed battle whose causes of success were enabled by Allah”. Last year, when the group’s self-imposed Caliphate was declared, hundreds of Muslim leaders and scholars from across the world wrote an open letter to the self-professed Caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, accusing him of heinous war crimes and a violation of the fundamental principles of Islam. So how Islamic is ‘Islamic State’? Why have mainstream interpretations of Islam so far failed to provide an effective counter-narrative? What needs to happen for the group to be defeated?

William Crawley discusses the beliefs which underpin the so-called Islamic State in the light of the Paris terrorist attacks with Sheikh Dr Salah Al Ansari, an Imam, theologian and academic; Haras Rafiq, Managing Director of the anti-extremism think tank, the Quilliam Foundation; and Dr Katherine Brown, an expert in Islamic Studies at King’s College London.

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Posted in Islam, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(PRC FactTank) Muslims and Islam: Key findings in the U.S. and around the world

Muslims are the fastest-growing religious group in the world. The growth and regional migration of Muslims, combined with the ongoing impact of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and other extremist groups that commit acts of violence in the name of Islam, have brought Muslims and the Islamic faith to the forefront of the political debate in many countries. Yet many facts about Muslims are not well known in some of these places, and most Americans – who live in a country with a relatively small Muslim population – say they know little or nothing about Islam.

Here are answers to some key questions about Muslims, compiled from several Pew Research Center reports published in recent years…

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Posted in Globalization, Islam, Religion & Culture, Sociology