Category : Islam

(Economist Erasmus Blog) A Turkish writer’s detention sends a sombre message about Islam

Not long ago, Turkey and Malaysia were often bracketed together as countries that inspired optimism about the Muslim world. In both lands, Islam is the most popular religion. In both, democracy has been vigorously if imperfectly practised. And both have enjoyed bursts of rapid, extrovert economic growth.

In their early days in office, people in Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) party always found plenty of friends in Malaysia: allies who shared their belief that governance with a pious Muslim flavour was compatible with modernising, business-friendly policies and a broadly pro-Western orientation.

All that makes doubly depressing a recent incident in Malaysia involving a prominent writer from Turkey. Mustafa Akyol is an exponent, in snappy English as well as his mother-tongue, of a liberal interpretation of Islam. In his book “Islam Without Extremes” he argues that his faith should never use coercion either to win converts or to keep those who are already Muslim in order. In other words, he takes at face value the Koranic verse which says, “There is no compulsion in religion.”

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Posted in Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Malaysia, Religion & Culture, Turkey

(Bloomberg) Forget Oil. Religion Is Big Business in Saudi Arabia

Read and listen to it all.

Posted in Economy, Islam, Religion & Culture, Saudi Arabia

(NYT) In Indonesia, a Mosque and a Church Foster Friendship Amid Religious Tensions

On a tree-lined side street in the Indonesian capital sits a colonial-era Protestant church with rustic wooden pews and stained-glass windows, and an antique pipe organ built into a large wall behind the altar.

Across the street is a modern, 100,000-square-foot mosque with towering arches at its entrances and a cavernous prayer area laid wall-to-wall with red carpet.

Despite their different faiths, the two houses of worship are friendly, helpful neighbors — and an example of pluralism in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation at a time of heightened fears over religious intolerance.

“We respect each other,” said Nur Alam, an imam at the Sunda Kelapa Grand Mosque, which opened in 1971. “If we never offend other people, then we will be respected.”

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Posted in Indonesia, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Religion & Culture

([London] Times) Tony Blair institute finds that non-violent Islamist groups serve as recruitment pool for jihadists

More than three quarters of British jihadists have been involved with non-violent Islamist groups before turning to foreign fighting and carrying out terrorist attacks, a report reveals today.

Islamist groups have acted as a “recruitment pool” for dozens of jihadists who have gone on to join al-Qaeda, Islamic State and other terrorist groups, according to research by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

Researchers examined the biographies of 113 men from across the UK who have joined the jihadist movement, from the 1980s to the Syrian civil war. The institute’s report says that at least 77 per cent of the sample had links to Islamism, either through association with Islamist organisations or by connections to those who spread the extremist ideology.

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

(CT) Ravi Zacharias Remembers His Young Protégé, Nabeel Qureshi, RIP

The first time I saw Nabeel Qureshi, he sat at a table across from me, his one leg constantly moving almost subconsciously, warming up for a run. It was a habit of his restless disposition.

That was Nabeel in true expression; he hated sitting still. He was a man with a mission, ready to run. Sadly, for us, he finished his race all too soon and our hearts are broken at the loss of one who ran with spectacular passion to do what filled his soul.

He was a thorough-going evangelical. He held dear the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Old and New Testaments and carried the message of salvation. Jesus’ grace for a transformed heart was his message.

For years as a young man, he labored and struggled to gain “righteousness before God” only to find out that righteousness was already met in the cross through Jesus Christ. That was his message in his best-selling book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.

Qureshi was not just an evangelical; he was passionately evangelistic….
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“Qureshi was not just an evangelical; he was passionately evangelistic…”
Reflecting on @NAQureshi in @CTmagazine: https://t.co/yAhP0ZzDNn

— Ravi Zacharias (@RaviZacharias) September 20, 2017

Posted in America/U.S.A., Apologetics, Christology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Islam, Religion & Culture, Theology: Evangelism & Mission

(CT) Jim Tonkowich –Ten Things We Should Have Learned Since September 11, 2001

3. We must develop a Christian worldview in order to survive.
In writing about the differences between the Western and Islamic cultures and worldviews, it is very tempting to assume that the Western worldview, derived from Christendom, is synonymous with a Christian worldview. Nothing could be further from the truth. Chuck Colson and other Christian worldview thinkers regularly critique the prevailing secularized and postmodern Western culture and worldview.

Our embrace of multiculturalism and the simultaneous denigration of the structures and values of our own national, political, and religious life will leave us without the intellectual tools and the corporate will to fend off threats like Islam. The often-rapacious commercial culture that feeds our consumerism will continue to make us the enemy of people who, at the same time, feel used by and envious of our way of life. And our willingness to tolerate dictators and gross human-rights violations in order to maintain trade will continue to plague us internationally.

The responsibility of the Christian is to be salt and light to the Islamic world and to the Western world that, while it still maintains vestiges of the Christian past that shaped it, continues to devolve into barbarism. A critical part of being salt and light is our worldview. Christians must develop biblically informed structures of thought and use those to critique and transform Western culture in such a way that it can meet the challenge of Islam.

4. Evil is real.
Following the attacks of 9/11, the morality of the attacks was debated at a major American university. One professor talked about being uncomfortable calling the terrorists evil. “After all,” she reasoned, “we’ve sinned too.” A student asked the professor whether the Nazis were evil. She responded, “That’s a difficult question….”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Islam, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

(AP) As Myanmar Muslims flee crackdown, the U.S. is wary of involvement

Don’t expect the United States to step in and resolve what is increasingly being described as an ethnic cleansing campaign against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims.

Not wanting to undermine the Asian country’s democratic leader, the U.S. is cautiously criticizing what looks like a forced exodus of more than a quarter-million Rohingya in the last two weeks as Myanmar’s military responds with hammer force to insurgent attacks.

But neither Trump administration officials nor lawmakers are readying sanctions or levying real pressure on Aung San Suu Kyi’s government. A bill making its way through Congress seeks to enhance U.S.-Myanmar military cooperation.

“Further normalization of the military-to-military relationship with Burma is the last thing we should be doing right now,” said Walter Lohman, Asia program director at the right-leaning Heritage Foundation. “What a terrible signal to be sending.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Buddhism, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Islam, Myanmar/Burma, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(JTA) Rabbis seek Pope Francis’ cooperation in fighting Islamic extremism

Meeting at the Vatican, an international delegation of rabbis sought the pope’s cooperation in combating Islamic extremism.

At the audience Thursday with Pope Francis, the rabbis presented a document calling for the two faiths to work together on Islamic extremism and other issues. The document was drafted last year by the Conference of European Rabbis along with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Rabbinical Council of America in the wake of the 50th anniversary of the Vatican’s Nostra Aetate declaration of 1965, which opened formal dialogue between the Vatican and the Jewish world.

The delegation was led by Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, and included members of all three groups.

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Posted in Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Judaism, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Terrorism, Violence

(ABC Aus.) Same-sex marriage: Why have Muslims been so quiet in the debate?

Last night on ABC’s The Drum, Ali Kadri, spokesman for the Islamic Council of Queensland and the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, said his community was stuck with the choice of offending allies or siding with critics, and the result had been silence.

“Unfortunately, in the current climate, the right and conservative side has attacked Muslims as terrorists and extremists, and naturally the left side has been allies in defending us for a long period of time,” he said.

“We are afraid if we come out with our opinion then the left may abandon us for going against their view and we can’t be friendly with the conservatives because they have been bashing us for 15, 20 years every chance they get … and that includes some Christian sects as well.”

Even though it was the Australian Christian Lobby that led the charge against the Safe Schools program, Mr Kadri said Muslims were also deeply concerned about the possible impact of any legislative changes on education.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(WWM) Kano, Nigeria: father+son killed, three women+a baby kidnapped in what appears to be a new attack on Christians

A father and son were killed, and three women and a baby abducted, in an attack in Nigeria’s northern state of Kano, in the largely Muslim area of Tudun Wada.

At around 8pm on 15 August, armed men, believed to be local Muslims, attacked the house of Baba Kale Dankali (62), a local Christian, and killed him.
His son, Micah Kale (20) heard the gunshot, went out to see what had happened and found his father dead. At his agonised cries, the attackers returned and shot him dead too.

Both victims’ widows fled with their children.

The armed men also targeted other Christian families, kidnapping three women and a baby.

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Posted in Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Vanguard) Anglican Church urges Nigerians to shun hate speech

Dr Nicholas Okoh, Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) on Saturday appealed to Nigerians to avoid hate speech.‎ Okoh made the call in Kano when he led some members of his church to visit Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje at the Government House.

The clergyman, who described the trend in recent times as alarming,‎ urged Nigerians to work assiduously to control hate speech.‎ “Hate speech has serious consequences on our country as it promotes violence, extremism and conflicts. “Most of the adherents of these two religions don’t have the real understanding of the teaching‎s of their religions; that is why we having problem with hate speeches,” he said. Okoh called on Nigerians to preach love, tolerance and understanding in order to move the country forward.‎

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Language, Muslim-Christian relations, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(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.

Read (or better watch) it all.

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