Inspired by her father's struggle against fundamentalism in Algeria in the 1990s, Karima Bennoune interviewed hundreds of people of Muslim heritage from dozens of countries who also work for social reform. She hopes their stories will counterbalance oversimplified narratives about majority Muslim nations. Bennoune's website provides an excerpt from the book, and she is interviewed on Open Democracy (transcript).
LGBT conference forcibly shut down by hardline Islamists. Last Friday, in Surabaya, Indonesia, a mob of 150 occupied the hotel where an ILGA-Asia conference was taking place. [more inside]
Back in 2004, the Chicago Tribune published an investigative series about the state of Islam after 9/11. [more inside]
Jesus Plus Nothing, Minus Somalia: How the Christian fundamentalism of The Family (also known as the C Street Fellowship) turned Somalia into the next staging ground for Islamic radicalism.
Science and the Islamic world—The quest for rapprochement. "Internal causes led to the decline of Islam's scientific greatness long before the era of mercantile imperialism. To contribute once again, Muslims must be introspective and ask what went wrong."
Iranian man stoned to death for adultery after serving 11-year prison sentence. Unsuccessful, unofficial investigation here. Amnesty International pleads for life of his partner.
Sir Salman Rushdie versus the Republic of Pakistan. Rushdie is not one to shy from confrontation (previously) - he's a grand master of the fine art* of the literary feud, sparring with notables including Germaine Greer, John Updike, John Le Carre and (briefly) Martin Amis.
Iran executes two teenagers. Their crime? Making love. Homosexuality is a crime under Sharia law. Meanwhile, newly "liberated" Iraq moves closer to embedding traditional Islamic laws in its new constitution, reducing rights for women. Will Iraqi gays be the next to suffer the wrath of "Allah's law" after years of secular oppression under Saddam Hussein?
Nawal El Saadawi seems to think that for any type of fundamentalist religion women are like canaries in the coal mine for the dangers to follow. Female genital mutilation would certainly seem to be a pretty good pointer to get out of the mine, if you ask me. She points out the hypocrisy of the "post-modern veil" and politicians who criticize the Moslem notion of propiety without acknowledging the West's notions of female attire is similarly veiled. I'll grant her that. But, I'd rather wear some smart eyeliner than a head full of burka. I wonder if the propensity of Western couples to have the man drive is anything like the Saudi propensity to disallow women from driving, only with a Western middle class less restrictive enforcement policy? Do the spinsters in Saudi Arabia have sex? And how? And with whom? Why are sexual minorities in 26 Middle Eastern Countries outlawed? What are the reproductive & sensual habits of the Islamist Fundamentalist?
An Algerian defendant tells a court of his transformation from an irreligious drug dealer on the streets of Germany to an Afghanistan-trained militant, and the psychic journey of some young Muslim slackers in England to become fighters for Al-Qaeda (NYT).
Naipul thinks the causes of Sept. 11 are religious, not American foreign policy. (NYT) "There is a passage in one of the Conrad short stories of the East Indies where the savage finds himself with his hands bare in the world, and he lets out a howl of anger. I think that, in its essence, what is happening.The world is getting more and more out of reach of simple people who have only religion. And the more they depend on religion, which of course solves nothing, the more the world gets out of reach."
Understanding Fundamentalism An anthropology professor explores the common threads of fundamentalism ranging from Native American revivalism, Christian fundamentalism, the Islamic Movement, Jewish Orthodoxy and Shinto and how they give rise to vigilante groups such as Operation Rescue, American militias, Hamas and Gush Emunim.