Salman Taseer has been assassinated in Islamabad. Why was he assassinated? Because he spoke in defence of Asia Bibi and against Pakistan's outdated blasphemy laws. Where do the justifications for death to those who insult Islam come from? Apparently not from the Quran...
"Latino converts to radical Islam have been connected to terrorism cases in this country with increasing frequency — and officials are trying to understand why."
A look at how fatwas are issued, and how Iranian authorities were able to change the classification of caviar from haram (forbidden for Muslims to eat) to halal (permissible for Muslims to eat) in order to retake the caviar industry from the Soviets. [PDF]
A worshiper at a California mosque called frequently for violent jihad against the West. This freaked out his fellow attendees so much that they took out a restraining order on him... and learned he was an informant planted by the FBI.
In 1885, Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje took rare sepia-tinted photographs and sound recordings of Mecca. The exhibition will be on display at The Empty Quarter Gallery in Dubai.
The 99 (previously), the Islamic-inspired superheroes which have met both praise and somewhat batshit controversy, are crossing over with the DC Universe.
Perhaps you feel like you should, like full-time Fox News analyst Juan Williams, get worried and nervous at the sight of people in Muslim garb, but you aren't sure you can always spot them. Fortunately, a new blog, Pictures of Muslims Wearing Things, is here to help you out.
NPR fires senior news analyst Juan Williams after he makes comments on The O'Reilly Factor about his nervousness when boarding a plane with Muslims. [more inside]
The English Defence League, a group protesting against 'Islamification of Britain', planned a march through Leicester (a city with a sizeable Asian population) this weekend. The town braced itself for riots. What happened was somewhat different. [more inside]
"IN THE COURTYARD OF THE BELOVED is a visual and aural portrait of Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah, a Sufi shrine in New Delhi, India. Made from over 18,000 still images and ambient sounds recorded on-site, rapid-fire bursts of kaleidoscopic imagery assemble into fractured collages where a moment expands outwards and then converges back into itself, fleshing out a three-dimensional rendering of place."
Les Niqabitches stroll around Paris fully veiled from the waist up, but in hotpants and high heels waist-down, to protest the burqa ban in France. Also calling themselves Mi-putes, Mi-soumises, a pun on the admirable organization called Ni-putes, Ni-soumises, they believe the ban is unconstitutional, as calls for similar bans occur in other European countries.
Warning of a "creeping Middle Eastern influence" in our nation's school textbooks, the Texas State Board of Education will vote today on a resolution [.pdf] that would prohibit the State of Texas from purchasing textbooks which exhibit a "pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias”. Reaction in Texas is mixed. [more inside]
This is an open letter written by Noman Benotman, a former commander in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and a former associate of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. In al Qaeda strategy meetings in Kandahar in 2000, Benotman warned the al-Qaeda leadership of ‘total failure' to realise their aims and called on bin Laden and al-Zawahiri to abandon violence. Soon after the 9/11 attacks, he distanced himself from al-Qaeda and later resigned from his own jihadist organisation. He has more recently been instrumental in negotiations with Libya's government to free former LIFG leaders, and in persuading these leaders to formally renounce terrorism. He also recently joined the London-based Quilliam Foundation as a Senior Analyst.
Mr Controversial (video, transcript): an in-depth report by Dateline (SBS One, Australia) on Geert Wilders, and the most comprehensive English-language profile of him I have seen to date.
"Israel is our only hope as the post-American president is aiding and abetting a nuclear Iran. Barack Obama is enabling Iran’s Islamic bomb" - Pamela Geller
As the "ground zero mosque" story approaches bipartisan consensus, thanks to unexpected statements by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (joining a growing opposition), several journalists trace the origins of how the Park 51 community center became(warning: CNN) a toxic subject. What they found was Pamela Geller, a blogger at Atlas Shrugs, who has some very interesting vlogs. You may previously know her from this cozy 2006 interview with Bush's infamous anti-UN UN ambassador John Bolton.
"We pray to God that this will not happen to the Jewish people or to any people anymore." -- a group of American imams visits Dauchau and Auschwitz.
Dutch MP and vehement Islam critic Geert Wilders will travel to New York to speak at a Sept. 11 protest against Park51, the so-called "Ground Zero mosque", sparking controversy in the Netherlands where he is currently taking part in negotiations to form a new government. Dutch diplomats are worried. [more inside]
Andrew Kosorok, a sculpture professor, has embarked on a project to create 100 glass sculptures inspired by the 99 Names of Allah. [more inside]
The Anti-Defamation League has been tracking religious extremism for several decades, including anti-Islamic violence in the United States after 9/11. Nonetheless, the organization joined right-wing opposition earlier this week to the construction of Cordoba House, a 13-story Muslim community center and mosque that may be built two blocks away from the site of the former World Trade Center. The ADL's alignment with calls for "refudiation" by Republican celebrities Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, along with other members of the GOP who are ramping up angry sentiments in voters during an election year, have puzzled and angered religious, political and cultural figures of various stripes, particularly within New York City itself. [more inside]
Ancient books inherited in private family libraries could change our knowledge of late mediaeval arab culture, but most are hidden in private libraries. Gripping article about the unknown treasures that may be lurking in Mauritanian family libraries, considering the little that has already been found, resistance to cataloguing and problematic future if the region continues to be destabilised. How the manuscripts are famous in the muslim world.More on the open libraries and archive efforts. Some years back on bbc i saw an explorer track down some ancient ethiopian christian manuscripts to an ethiopian monastery, only to be shown some burnt remains from a fire a few months back. What treasures must lurk in this continent, and with digital cameras, how easy to document them without damage or intruding on their owners! Being christians, there are pictures and some history.
The Rehabilitation of Ernest Gellner - It is easy to imagine why Ernest Gellner would be one of the universally known figures in Anglophone intellectual life. A polymath whose work ranged across anthropology, history, philosophy, and sociology, his mind wrestled with an encyclopedia's worth of nagging questions about nationalism, modernity, civil society, imperialism, Islam, psychoanalysis, ethics and epistemology ... All of this, to repeat, should explain Gellner's monumental prominence – except for the fact that he has no such prominence. (via mr) [more inside]
This week NPR featured a five part series of stories entitled, "New Believers: A religious revolution in China" that explores the growth and status of religion in China today. [more inside]
A Moroccan man whose wife wears a veil has been denied citizenship on the basis that he has failed to assimilate into French society. [more inside]
The Quran says to eat what is good and wholesome (tayyib), and what is halâl. Therefore, if any food is not tayyib, the Qur'ân does not encourage us to eat it. The world of Muslim vegetarians.
'Why Pakistan's Ahmadi community is officially detested. When a Pakistani Muslim applies for a passport or national ID card, they are asked to sign an oath that no Muslim anywhere in the world is asked to sign. The oath goes like this: "I consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad an impostor prophet. And also consider his followers, whether belonging to the Lahori or Qadiani group, to be non-Muslims."'Last month" "more than 90 Ahmadis were massacred in two mosques in Lahore". But Ahmadis are persecuted in many other countries. In Bangladesh 'Ahmadiyyas have become a persecuted group, targeted via protests and acts of violence.' Even in Indonesia, "religious conservatives put pressure on the government to monitor, and harass the Ahmadiyya community". [more inside]
A fresh perspective on the hijab, different from the more common apologist/sexist arguments, the carefully academic expositions, appearances in controversial news, and especially the crassly commercial.
The creators of South Park were threatened (or "warned") by Muslim extremists (cached, scroll down for article including photo of dead Theo VanGogh) not to depict the Prophet Mohammad. Parker and Stone thought they'd be able to air the episode by putting Mohammad in a bear suit, but Comedy Central censored the episode due to the threats. The clip in question is not hosted at South Park's website, but exists elsewhere online. This is not the first time South Park has dealt with censorship of Mohammad's image. (previously)
Recent troubles with Muslim women's clothes have lead to the Quebec Government to begin proposing legislation on the issue of face covering and access to public services. The niqab has become a central symbol in the anti-muslim rhetoric of nationalist parties in Europe (political poster examples: France, Switzerland, and Britain) about the threat Islam poses to tolerant secular societies. [more inside]
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]
President Gaddafi Calls for Jihad Against Switzerland SLYT "Let us wage jihad against Switzerland, Zionism and foreign aggression. Any Muslim in any part of the world who works with Switzerland is an apostate, is against Muhammad, God and the Koran." Previously
Music and the Brain The Library of Congress' Music and the Brain podcasts offer lectures and conversations about new research at the intersection of cognitive neuroscience and music. Sufi rituals, Wednesday is Indigo Blue (synaesthesia), Your Brain on Jazz, The Music of Language and the Language of Music, and more.
Daily life of the jihadis: rants, the usual aggressive posturing, murderous threats, and dreams of paradise. Also, problems with frying eggs.
Malaysian Catholic newspaper Herald was recently involved in a major lawsuit against the Malaysian government, stating that their constitutional rights were violated when they were stripped of their license to publish in East Malaysian indigenous language Kadazandusun. The ruling was overturned, amidst support by state ministers and protests by the Government, the Islamic Opposition party, and Muslim activists - some of whom have spent the past week attacking churches and convents through firebombs, Molotov cocktails, paint, and bricks thrown at glass. [more inside]
Top Imams affiliated with the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada have issued a fatwa calling those terrorists who attack the United States and Canada “evil.” ... Extremists have been told that any attack on the U.S. or on Canada will be construed as an attack on 10 million Muslims who live in these two countries. (via) [more inside]
Six days ago, Seyed Ali Mousavi, nephew of Iranian opposition leader and figurehead of the Green Movement Mir Hossein Mousavi [wikipedia | facebook] was shot dead during the latest round of protests in Tehran; Seyed Ali had apparently been threatened by the police, and had recently lost his position at the Iran Academy of Arts and Sciences. After burying his nephew amidst government-sponsored protests on Wednesday, Mir Hossein Mousavi showed renewed resolve in a statement on his website which read in part: "I’m not afraid to be one of the people’s martyrs in their struggle for their just demands... My blood is no redder than theirs," and quoted the words of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the republic: "Kill us; we will only become stronger." [New York Times | Times Onlines (UK) | Al-Jazeera | Payvan Iran | Iran Focus News | Reuters | BBC] [more inside]
The Interfaith Youth Core was started in 1998 by a group led by Rhodes Scholar Eboo Patel. Propelled by his experience growing up as a Muslim in the United States, and encouraged by the Dalai Lama, Patel seeded an organization dedicated promoting global pluralism. His story is detailed in his acclaimed autobiography, Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation. He keeps a blog at the Washington Post, and is a fellow at the Ashoka Foundation.
A journalist tries to track down the truth about a recent terror detainee.
Swiss voters moonlight as architecture critics. The construction of minarets in Switzerland is now forbidden, with 57% in favor of the ban, freezing the number in the country at four, with one under construction. [more inside]
In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year, NATO may lose in Afghanistan, the UK gets a regime change, China needs to chill, India's factories will overtake its farms, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum, the stimulus will need an exit strategy, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2", African football will unite Korea, conflict over natural resources will grow, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable), technology will grow ever more ubiquitous, we'll all charge our phones via USB, MBAs will be uncool, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world. And so the Tens begin.
The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
Back in 2004, the Chicago Tribune published an investigative series about the state of Islam after 9/11. [more inside]
Geert Wilders is now making a splash in London drawing a protest from the hardline Islamic members of the British public. The protests featured such memorable slogans as "Freedom Can Go to Hell" and "Islam will dominate the world" and eventually forced Geers to change the location of his press conference. On the ground interviews conducted by Press TV show the attitude of some of the crowd. British nationalists are naturally responding in kind.
Zaytuna College in Berkeley, CA will accept its first students in the fall of 2010 or 2011. Founded by Sheik Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir, it will be the first accredited Islamic college in the United States, open to men and women of all religions.
Rifqa Bary, the Ohio teen who ran away from her Muslim parents because she believed they would kill her for converting to Christianity, has appeared on a weekly anti-Islam conference call hosted by the National Day of Prayer Task Force (headed by the wife of Focus on the Family's James Dobson, Lou Engle of The Call & Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council). Rifqa, who is in custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families and was not authorized to be on the call, shared some of her story and then launched into an extended passionate prayer. DCF officials are investigating how she came to be on the call.
The "Last of the Ottomans". Ertuğrul Osman, the grandson of Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II, passed away. [more inside]
Abdelrahman Zeitoun is a Syrian American businessman who spent the days after Katrina paddling around New Orleans in a canoe, saving elderly people and feeding stranded pets. His efforts were brought to a halt when he was detained by the Bush administration on suspicion of being a terrorist. [more inside]
Pattern in Islamic Art - thousands of high quality, free pictures of various motifs, patterns and architectural elements of mosques and other structures from Asia to West Africa. [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.