Surprising findings in Pew study of US Muslims. The interweb is all atwitter over some of the findings of a Pew Research Center study of the attitudes of Muslim-Americans (the most comprehensive one done yet). While most of the findings should be welcomed (US Muslims are well off, appreciate being here, have non-Muslim friends, shun extremism, etc.), there is one troubling statistic: 6% of US Muslims - and 15% of US Muslims under 30 - believe that "bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians" are "often or sometimes justified". Sounds bad, but what happens when you ask the same question of non-Muslim Americans? Turns out that 24% of all Americans agreed - four times the 6% of US Muslims who share that view. So are US Muslims more peaceful than their non-Muslim neighbors?
The Cat is back. After a hiatus of over 20 years, Yusuf "Cat Stevens" Islam is back with his first original song (as opposed to the voice-and-drum Islamic songs he did occasionally). Previously discussed here when he was deported from the US for allegedly being on a "terrorist watchlist", Islam has had a change of heart when it comes to playing the music he shunned for so long. "Music is a lady that I still love because she gives me the air that I breathe," he quotes from one of his old songs. "We need all sorts of nourishment. And music satisfies and nourishes the hunger within ourselves for connection and harmony. It's part of God's universe." His new song Indian Ocean is now available on iTunes, with all proceeds going to victims of the tsunami disaster.
It's the Law in South Dakota: Convert to Islam, Lose Your Child Citing a woman's conversion to Islam as a sign of "bizarre behavior" that made her unfit to be a mother, a South Dakota judge removed her 5-year old son Trevor and gave temporary custody of him to his grandparents. "My wife and I are very concerned about Trevor's safety," explained Conrad Rederth, the child's grandfather. "Trevor's mother has engaged in some bizarre behavior, including wearing Muslim garb and declaring herself a Muslim." (Via alt.muslim)
Government raids pro-US Muslim organization? On Wednesday, federal agents raided Muslim organizations and homes in Virginia and Georgia, bearing search warrants looking for evidence of funding terrorist organizations. Ironically, the main target of the raids was the 20-year old International institute of Islamic Thought, an institution headed by Shaikh Dr. Taha Jaber al-Alawani, who, among other things, delivered a fatwa in October 2001 sanctioning American Muslim soldiers (.pdf) to participate in the War on Terrorism on Islamic religious grounds.
Tariq Ramadan: The Muslim Martin Luther? Tariq Ramadan is not a household name in the United States, but the Swiss professor could be one of the most important intellectuals in the world. Ramadan's thinking, his methods and his personal history are all connected to the same question: Islam's encounter with the modern world. Can the youngest of the world's three great monotheisms co-exist harmoniously with the Western world and its Enlightenment legacy? Or is it fated to be reactionary, closed off from the world, an excuse for terrorism and failure? (From alt.muslim, Salon Premium required to read full text)