Indonesia warns Dutch anti-Islam film can disturb interfaith harmony

The Indonesian foreign ministry warned Dutch lawmakers to forbid the release of an anti-Islam film, saying it could destroy interfaith harmony. Ministry spokesperson Kristianto Legowo said at a press conference that “(The film) will be an obstacle to attempts that we and other countries have initiated. We do not want this to occur. The Indonesian Council of Churches has also asked the Protestant Church in the Netherlands to lobby the Dutch prime minister to intervene, so as to prevent very great problems that may arise after the film’s release. The Protestant Church sent Wilders a letter in January asking to meet with him, but has not yet received a reply. In a statement on March 5th, the church said “Freedom of speech is great, but when we see what immense consequences Wilder’s film could have, also and especially abroad, then surely he has to consider not releasing the film.”

Who Speaks for Islam?

Based on the largest ever study of its kind, this book is the first to present the fascinating findings of the Gallup Poll of the Muslim World. It is co-authored by a bestselling author, Georgetown University professor John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed, Gallup’s executive director of Muslim studies.The horrific events of 9/11 dramatically intensified what many saw as an on-going conflict between the U.S. and parts of the Muslim world. Extremism has grown exponentially as Muslims and non-Muslims alike continue to be victims of global terrorism. Terrorist attacks have occurred from Morocco to Indonesia and from Madrid to London, as U.S.-led wars rage in Iraq and Afghanistan.As we face savage actions in a world that seems ever more dangerous and out of control, we are confronted daily by analysis from terrorism experts and pundits who see the religion of Islam as responsible for global terrorism. At the same time, terrorist groups like Al Qaeda beam messages throughout the world that demonize the West as the enemy of Islam, responsible for all the ills of the Muslim world.After collecting vast amounts of data representing the views of the world’s Muslims, we asked the questions everyone is dying to hear answers to: What is at the root of anti-Americanism in the Muslim world? Who are the extremists? Is democracy a desired construct among Muslims, and if so, what might it look like? What do Muslim women really want? With question in hand, we let the empirical evidence – the voices of a billion Muslims, not individual ‘experts’ or ‘extremists’, dictate the answer.

US-Islamic forum in Gulf backs Obama

Delegates of a US-Islamic forum in Doha overwhelmingly voiced support for presidential hopeful Barack Obama. Obama won support in a mock election by more than 200 American and Muslim delegates at the US-Islamic World Forum. Many of the Muslim delegates said they hoped Obama would win out over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic nomination. “The Indonesian people would love to see a [US] president who has studied at an elementary school in Jakarta” said Din Syamsuddin, chairman of one of Indonesia’s largest Islamic organizations.

Private banking seeks new Islamic niche

It seems logical: combine two of the fastest growing financial sectors in south and south-east Asia – Islamic banking, and private banking – to create a new niche: private banking for rich Muslims in the region. After all, about 350m believers live in the rapidly expanding economies of India, Indonesia and Malaysia. If only a few hundred thousand of them are high-net-worth individuals, the CIMB Private Bank in Malaysia is a pioneer in this segment. It announced in April it would offer high-net-worth individuals with MDollars 1m (Pounds 145,000, Euros 208,000, USDollars 297,000) or more of investable assets a service based on shariah principles…

Islam and Feminism today

The 2007 Fall Institute at UMass Boston invites proposals that explore critically the relationship between Islam and Feminisms today. It seeks to examine the complex and rich terrain of Islam as a force for understanding global politics, an impetus for political and psychological self-determination, a stimulus for cultural productions, and a foundation for identity. By engaging Islam through a feminist lens, we hope to challenge inadequately interrogated assumptions and modes of thinking that posit secularism and democracy in opposition to religiosity and oppression. The critical perspective of feminist analysis provides a particularly valuable window into the many struggles internal to Islam, its changing dynamics over time, and the intersecting influences of economic/cultural globalization, imperialism and patriarchal power structures in the lives of individuals, communities, and nations.

Conference Details

Engaging Islam: Preliminary Conference Schedule The Institute is free and open to the public. No registration is necessary for non-presenting attendees.


Panel Title: “Defining Islamic Feminisms”

Key-Note: Amina Wadud

Key-Note: Haideh Moghissi

Key-Note: Lila Abu-Lughod


Panel Title: “Negotiating Shari’a and the ‘Secular State’”

9-10AM Key-Note: Madhavi Sunder

10-10:30AM – Break

10:30-12:30 – Panel:

  • Berna Turam “Democratization and Muslim Women: The Case of Secular Turkey”
  • Natasha Dar “Liberté, Equalité, Fraternité, and the Shari’a: The Production of Islamic Legal Knowledges and ‘The Muslim Woman’ in the French-North African Diaspora”
  • Mitra Rastegar “Secularism through U.S. policies and discourses on Islam and Muslim citizens”
  • 12:30-1:30 Break for Lunch

    Panel Title: “Negotiating Shari’a and the ‘Secular State’” (continued)

    1:30 -2:30 Key-Note: Tariq Modood

    Break: 2:30-3PM

    3-5PM – Panel:

  • Srimati Basu “Separate and Unequal: Muslim Women, Women’s Movements and Un-uniform Family Law in India”
  • Jasmin Zine “Negotiating Religion and the Secular State: Muslim Women and Shari’a Law Tribunals in Canada”
  • 6-7:30PM – Screen Film “Silent Waters”
  • 7:30PM – Dinner & Presentation by Shahnaz Khan

    Panel Title: “Challenging Hegemonic Representations of Muslim Women”

    9-10AM – Keynote: Lara Deeb

    10-10:30AM- Break

    10:30-12:30 – Panel

  • Elizabeth Bucar “Good Hijab, Bad Hijab: The Politics of Religious Dress in Iran”
  • Peter McMurray “Speaking the Unspeakable: Three Representations of Wartime Sexual Violence Against Bosnian Muslim Women”
  • Surbhi Tiwari “Whither Fundamentalism or Feminism? Sania Mirza, ‘sexy’ dressing and the politics of (erotic) identity”
  • 12:30-1:30 – Break for Lunch
  • Panel Title: “Globalization, Gender Relations, and Sexuality”

    1:30-2:30 PM – Key-Note: Jasbir Puar

    Break: 2:30-3PM

    3-5PM – Panel:

  • Ashley Al-Sayyad “Queer Muslim Women: Visibility, Diaspora, and Islam”
  • Chris Kelly “Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered (GLBT) Muslim Converts”
  • Sonja Van Wichelen “Politics of Presence: Feminist Contestations over a New Muslim Indonesia” Dinner at a restaurant in Cambridge

    Panel Title: “Political Economy and Islamic Feminisms”

    9-10AM – Keynote: Lamia Karim

    10-10:30AM – Break

    10:30-12:30 – Panel:

  • Fauzia Ahmed “Islam, Poverty Alleviation, & Masculinity”
  • Roksana Bahramitash “Iranian Islamic Women as ‘the Other’: A Class Analysis of the Role of Women in the Informal Economy and Islamic Micro Credit”
  • Damla Isik “On Weaving, Sohbet, and Patience: Governance of Time and Labor in Konya’s Weaving Industry”
  • 12:30-1:30 – Break for Lunch

    Panel Title: “Coalition-building and Transnationalism”

    1:30PM – Key-Note: Zainah Anwar

    Break: 2:30-3PM

    3-5PM – Panel:

  • Azza Basarudin “Recreating Communities of the Faithful?: Negotiating Gender, Religion & Feminism in Malaysia and Egypt”
  • Tina Nebe “Islam in the Public and Private Spaces: Turkey, Iran, Nigeria, and Indonesia”
  • Dina Siddiqi “Legislating Fatwas: Dilemmas and Contradictions for Feminists”
  • Rafia Zakaria “Dangerous Truths: the Muslim woman’s story and the emerging chasm between transnational feminist scholarship and activism”

    Panel Title: Pedagogy and Islam

    9AM-11:30 – Panel:

  • Hilary Kalmach “Female Leadership and Activism in Conservative Islamic Communities: An Islamic Form of Feminism?”
  • Juliet Gentile “From ‘Honorary Man’ to Sheikha: The Path of Sufi Women in the West”
  • Jennifer Fluri “The Corporeal Marker: Gender, Space and Islam”
  • 11:30-12 – Break

    12-1PM – Closing Remarks

    For more details about the institute and guidelines for submissions, visit website.

    Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir reaches out to Young Muslims, calls for Islamic State

    {Hizb ut-Tahrir is a international Muslim organization accused of sending followers along a path toward terrorism, while its defenders claim it gives a much needed voice to desires in the Muslim community for global solidarity. Still legal but viewed with much suspicion, this article explores a secretive community that seeks to strike a balance between Islam and Western life more than its critics recognize.} By Dominic Casciani Named as a danger to young minds, but never banned in the UK – what is the message of Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir? This coming weekend the global “political party” which campaigns for a single Islamic state across the Muslim world says it will be holding one of its largest-ever conferences in Indonesia. But as a warm-up, some 2,000 British Muslims arrived at London’s Alexandra Palace to hear the message from the party’s British wing. Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) has been accused of being a critical player in a so-called “conveyor belt” towards terrorism – that its ideas are part of the problem.

    Blair Praises the “Authentic Voices” of Islam

    By Jane Perlez LONDON: As part of his series of farewells, Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday addressed a government-organized conference on Islam and declared that the “authentic voices” of the religion should be given a stage over the voices of extremism. Blair, who has said he will take a special interest in interfaith affairs when he leaves office at the end of the month, said that the true meaning of Islam had been hijacked by extremists. “The voices of extremism are no more representative of Islam than the use, in times gone by, of torture – to force conversion to Christianity – represents the true teaching of Christ,” he said. Muslim leaders from Egypt, Indonesia, Bosnia, Western Europe and the United States joined a carefully selected group of British Muslims at Lancaster House in London for a two-day program that was organized by the government in conjunction with Cambridge University.

    Second International Meeting About Islamic Feminism

    The president of the Intercultura, Yonaida Sel-lam, Hill participate this weekend in the Second International Meeting about Islamic Feminism celebrated in Barcelona and organized by the Junta Isl_mica de Catalu_a, together with the Generalitat de Catalu_a, the Concejal_a de la Mujer del Ayuntamiento de Barcelona, the Institut Europeo de la Mediterr_nea, the Fundaci_n Pluralismo y Convivencia and the Junta Isl_mica de Espa_a. This initiative aims to give continuity to the task of the First Meeting, which is to advertise the emergent feminine Islamic movement to the transnational promotion of gender equality. The participants are intellectual Islamic women (Sahin Sardar Al_, Law Professor of the University of Peshawar; the American Margot Badran, the Indonesian Lily Zakiyah Munir) working subjects such as abortion, polygamy, divorce, violence, sexual rights, family planning and leadership in countries like Morocco, Pakistan, Iran, Nigeria or Indonesia.

    Muslims Try to Storm U.S. Embassy in Indonesia

    JAKARTA, Indonesia — Hundreds of Muslims protesting caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad tried to storm the U.S. Embassy today, smashing the windows of a guard post but failing to push through the gates. Several people were injured. Pakistani security forces, meanwhile, sealed off the capital of Islamabad to block a planned mass demonstration and fired tear gas and gunshots to chase off protesters. In Turkey, tens of thousands gathered in Istanbul chanting slogans against Denmark, Israel and the United States.

    Denmark: Iran Rejects Rice Claim It Is Inflaming Muslim Prophet Row

    JAKARTA, Indonesia – An Iranian vice president on Thursday rejected a US contention that his country was fanning Muslim anger over the Prophet Mohammad cartoons, while a newspaper in Malaysia faced closure for printing one of the images. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Washington that Iran and Syria have gone out of their way to inflame sentiments that have produced violent protests across the Muslim world against publication of the caricatures. That is 100 percent a lie, Isfandiar Rahim Mashaee, one of several Iranian vice presidents, told reporters during a visit to Indonesia. It is without attribution. The demonstrations – directed mostly at the foreign missions of Denmark, where the cartoons were first published – turned deadly this week in Afghanistan, where nine people have been fatally shot in clashes between demonstrators and security forces. The images – including one depicting the prophet wearing a turban shaped as a bomb – have been reprinted in mostly Western media. Islam is interpreted to forbid any illustrations of the prophet. In Muslim-majority Malaysia, a newspaper that published printed one of the caricatures said it expected its printing license to be suspended by the government, while police launched an investigation over the issue. The Sarawak Press newspaper group has faced relentless public criticism despite apologizing for what it says was an editorial oversight that led to the publication of the caricature in its Sarawak Tribune last Saturday. We may not have publication of the newspaper by tomorrow, Sarawak Press executive director Polit Hamzah told The Associated Press on Thursday. Police questioned the editor who authorized the cartoon’s publication for two hours on Thursday and were examining whether the paper’s management broke any laws, the national news agency, Bernama, cited Sarawak’s police chief Talib Jamal as saying. The editor, Lester Melanyi, resigned over the controversy. In his first comments on the row, US President George W. Bush on Wednesday condemned deadly rioting in Afghanistan and urged foreign leaders to halt the violence and protect diplomats in besieged embassies. Police killed four people Wednesday as Afghans enraged over prophet drawings marched on a US military base in a volatile southern province. Five others were killed in protests earlier this week in Afghanistan. The US base was targeted because the United States is the leading infidel in the world, said Sher Mohammed, a 40-year-old farmer who suffered a gunshot wound while taking part in the demonstration in the city of Qalat. They are all the enemy of Islam. US officials say they are looking into whether extremist groups may be inciting protesters to riot. Zahor Afghan, editor for Erada, Afghanistan’s most respected newspaper, said the riots in his country have surprised him. No media in Afghanistan has published or broadcast pictures of these cartoons. The radio has been reporting on it, but there are definitely people using this to incite violence against the presence of foreigners in Afghanistan, he said. Afghanistan’s top Islamic organization, the Ulama Council, urged an end to the violence.