American Muslims Remember Ali as Hero for Their Faith

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES — The death of boxing great Muhammad Ali cost American Muslims perhaps their greatest hero, a goodwill ambassador for Islam in a country where their minority faith is widely misunderstand and mistrusted.
“We thank God for him,” Talib Shareef, president and imam of the Masjid Muhammad mosque in Washington, told a gathering of Muslim leaders who honored Ali in Washington on Saturday, a day after he died in a Phoenix hospital at age 74. “America should thank God for him. He was an American hero.”
“When we look at the history of the African-American community, one important factor in popularizing Islam in America is Muhammad Ali,” Warith Deen Mohammed II, son of the former Nation of Islam leader, said in a statement.

Two more book reviews on Andrew Hussey’s The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and Its Arabs

French Intifada

March 21, 2014

 

1) By Mathew Price on March 11, 2014 titled: ‘The trouble with France: the largest Muslim community in Europe seethes on the periphery’

http://www.thenational.ae/arts-culture/books/the-trouble-with-france-the-largest-muslim-community-in-europe-seethes-on-the-periphery#full

 

2) By Nick Fraser on March 16, 2014 titled: ‘The French Intifada review – ‘A courageous view of modern France’

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/mar/16/french-intifada-review-courageous-modern-france-andrew-hussey

Katy Perry accused of ‘portraying blasphemy’ with Dark Horse video

February 28, 2014

 

An online petition demanding Katy Perry’s Dark Horse video be taken off YouTube has attracted about 65,000 signatures. According to the petitioners at Change.org, the video is guilty of “portraying blasphemy”, because of the video’s use of a pendant reportedly inscribed with the word Allah.

Katy Perry’s Dark Horse clip, which premiered on 20 February, has already attracted more than 30 million views. A phantasmagorical riff on Egyptian mythology, it features Perry as a magical queen who transforms suitors into sand. One of these suitors, a man wearing an “Allah” pendant is struck by lightning and disintegrates into sand.

“At 01:15 into the video … a man is shown being burned whilst wearing a pendant (also burned) forming the word ‘Allah’, which is the Arabic word for God,” wrote the man who launched the petition, Shazad Iqbal, from Bradford. “Blasphemy is clearly conveyed in the video, since Katy Perry (who appears to be representing an [opponent] of [Allah]) engulfs the believer and the word God in flames. People from different walks of life, different religions and from different parts of the world [will agree], using the name of God in an irrelevant and distasteful manner would be considered inappropriate by any religion.”

“The fact that Islam didn’t even exist in ancient Egypt is what really confuses me, Why [did] they [feel] the need to have anything to do with Islam in this video?” added a signatory from High Wycombe.

While the music video has not been pulled in its entirety, the pendant has been cut so that only a plain gold chain can now be seen. It remains unclear whether YouTube edited the video or was told to by the singer’s record company as both parties have yet to comment.

Dark Horse is currently at number six on the UK singles chart and more than 37 million people have viewed the video on YouTube since it was uploaded on 20 February.

 

The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/katy-perry-causes-offence-by-burning-allah-pendant-in-dark-horse-music-video-9153998.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/katy-perry-takes-break-from-offending-muslims-to-deliver-friends-baby-its-been-a-miracle-day-9157332.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/katy-perry-dark-horse-music-video-edited-after-causing-muslims-offence-9159660.html

 

The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/feb/26/katy-perry-petition-islam-blasphemy-allah-dark-horse-video

American Jews say others face more discrimination

October 24, 2013

 

American Jews say they face discrimination in the U.S., but they see Muslims, gays and blacks facing far more.

This and other findings from the recently released Pew Research Center’s landmark study on Jewish Americans help make the case that Jews — once unwelcome in many a neighborhood, university and golf club — now find themselves an accepted minority.

“While there are still issues, American Jews live in a country where they feel they are full citizens,” said Kenneth Jacobson, deputy national director of the Anti-Defamation League, which was founded in 1913 to combat anti-Semitism.

“You have (Jewish) Ivy League presidents in schools that used to have Jewish quotas,” he said.

Most American Jews are descendants of the great migration of Jews to the U.S. from 1880 to 1920. Today, they make up little more than 2 percent of the population, but their influence is outsized. Jews make up 10 percent of the U.S. Senate, and they lead major cities, corporations, philanthropies and arts organizations.

Anti-Semitism has most certainly waned in the U.S.

Seventy-two percent of American Jews surveyed believe that Muslims face “a lot” of discrimination in the U.S., and the same percentage said gays and lesbians face such levels of bigotry. Slightly fewer — 64 percent — said blacks face such prejudice.

“One way of looking at these numbers is to say that Jews perceive a lot of discrimination against a whole bunch of groups in American life,” Cooperman said.

Reform Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the largest movement of Judaism in North America, called Jews’ perceptions of prejudice against others “inspiring.”

“Because of our somewhat painful history of persecution, we have a deep sensitivity to the suffering of others,” he said.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the Pew numbers reflect the reality of “an increasing Islamophobia in American society today.”

Islam is the least favorably viewed of four U.S. religions in a 2010 Gallup poll, with nearly a third (31 percent) of Americans saying their feelings about Islam were “not favorable at all.”

 

Religion News Service: http://www.religionnews.com/2013/10/24/american-jews-say-others-face-discrimination/

Muslim college carves niche in USA

Until Zaytuna opened its doors three years ago, American Muslims who wanted to study and grow in their faith mostly had to look overseas for a college education. That left students unprepared to engage with the U.S. culture to which they would return, say Zaytuna’s founders, well-known Islam scholars Hamza Yusuf, Zaid Shakir and Hatem Bazian.

The college grew out of the non-profit Zaytuna Institute, founded in 1996 as a local community organization.

Courses include Islamic theology and law, and they also cover the classic liberal arts, such as logic, rhetoric and astronomy. Students learn Arabic and study the Koran. And they read Western authors such as Aristotle, Einstein and Robert Frost.

The school, which raised $7 million last year, is funded by individual Muslim donors and tuition revenue. Tuition last year was $11,000, slightly less than the $12,192 UC campuses charged California-resident undergraduates.

Zaytuna is “trying to participate in this bigger story, this bigger historical narrative of religious minorities having a place here,” says Scott Korb, a New York-based religious studies and writing professor and author of Light Without Fire: The Making of America’s First Muslim College, which chronicles the school’s first years.

Zaytuna is not America’s first Muslim college. The Chicago-based American Islamic College was established in 1981 as a private, not-for-profit, four-year school but stopped offering classes more than a decade ago. A few years ago, it began offering non-credit courses and hopes to again offer bachelor’s degrees, says spokeswoman Hind Makki.

9th annual Muslimfest closes near Toronto, Canada

News Agencies – September 2, 2012

 

Connecting with the broader community through arts, humor and entertainment, Canada’s annual Muslim festival has closed on a high note this weekend. “This festival is a great opportunity for Ontarians of all backgrounds to experience Muslim culture in all its diversity and vibrancy,” Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said in a support message.

Muslimfest, now in its 9th year, featured over 50 local and international artists, concerts, comedy shows, film screenings, and art exhibits. Over 25,000 participants attended the two-day event which drew praise from politicians across the region including McGuinty and the City of Mississauga’s Mayor, Hazel McCallion. Some highlights of the festival included performances by local Canadian favorite, Dawud Wharnsby, and vocal artist, Junaid Jamshed, from Pakistan.

12th annual Summer Muslim Festival takes place in Ottawa

News Agencies – July 14, 2012

 

The annual Canadian Muslim Festival was held in Ottawa with the participation of over 20 Muslim countries. The event which celebrates the culture and traditions of the Muslim world, included country exhibitions, Islamic arts and handicrafts, a bazaar as well as fun activities for children.  The festival, which is held annually by the Muslim Association of Canada, aims to introduce Islamic culture and civilization to the local community.

 

The one-day event provided each participating country with a tent to present the arts and culture of that nation. The result was a display of the tremendous diversity of the Islamic world. This annual festival provides a great opportunity to introduce Islamic culture to Canadians.

 

Photo of Canadian Muslim woman wearing face veil while holding bra stirs controversy

News Agencies – April 13, 2012

 

An art student who wears Muslim headscarf is defending her right to freedom of expression after a photo she snapped was removed from public display at a British Columbia university. The large black and white print depicts a woman in full Islamic scarf and cloak holding a flower-embossed bra while folding laundry. Sooraya Graham produced the image and presented it earlier this year for a class assignment as part of her fine arts degree at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.

 

Not long after it had been hung in the school hallway, she overheard a woman who also wears a head scarf saying she had peeled the artwork off the wall. That decision inadvertently put the photograph into greater public view, and has now generated debate about cultural misconceptions, community representation and censorship. Graham said her intention had been to “humanize” women who wear the niqab, which covers a woman’s entire head except for her eyes, by showing one doing a simple act that many women can relate to. Since the incident was made public, an education centre in Kamloops funded by the Saudi Arabian Embassy has gone public with its opposition as well, Graham said.

International Conference: “Islam and Europe: Culture, History, Politics”

ANU COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
8 – 9 March 2012

The Australian National University’s Centre for European Studies and
Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies will be jointly hosting an
international conference exploring the themes of Muslims in Europe and
Europe’s relations with the Muslim world.

Scholars specialising in Islamic and Middle East studies, European
studies, and the wider fields of Humanities and the Social Sciences are
invited to participate in this multidisciplinary forum. Historical
perspectives and contemporary analyses are welcome in the following areas:

– Religious and cultural diversity in Islam;
– Muslims, civil society, democracy and secularism;
– Impact of Islam in European history;
– Impact of recent events in the Middle East;
– Cultural identities and the Arts.

Professor Neal Robinson, Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies

Offers for 20 minute presentations are invited for consideration by 1 September 2011.
Please send presentation title, abstract of 200 words (max.) and short
biography to
Europe@anu.edu.au.

Convenors: Professor Jacqueline Lo, Centre for European Studies and
Professor Neal
Robinson, Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies

Venue: Sir Roland Wilson Building, McCoy Circuit (Building 120), ANU,
Canberra

Enquiries: europe@anu.edu.au

London Art Project seeks Female Muslim Role Models

16.06.2011

 

An East London-based charity (Maslaha) is looking for Muslim women to participate in arts exhibition that illustrates the achievements of everyday Muslim women. Rather than targeting the most prominent female Muslims in the country, the charity is intentionally looking for those ‘whose stories are yet to be told’ (BBC). The exhibition aims to challenge negative portrayals of Islam and to counter the current lack of information about Muslim women’s contribution to British society and life in the UK. Through this, the charity hopes to improve the understanding of Islam in the UK and to dismiss the stereotype of “submissive” Muslim women.