During the last decade, debates on the role of religion in the public space, migration, social cohesion and other issues have revealed increasing social tensions and polarisation in public opinion. Misperceptions and misinformation often dominate public dialogue about relations between Muslims and others. Although they don’t speak with the loudest voice, academics, scholars and thought leaders have a key role to play in helping to rebalance these debates by providing fact-based opinion and informed arguments. In the ‘Building a Shared Future’ series, these opinion leaders offer insights into the issues facing Muslims through American and European communities today.
How successful have European models of integration been compared with the American model of multiculturalism? How can multiple layers of identity be accommodated in pluralistic societies? This volume explores a selection of these questions.
The book is available for download here.
8 May 2012
While some Christian groups are joining in the Islamphobic discourse, Princess Badiya of Jordan was invited by Biblelands, a Christian charity to lecture in London’s St James’s Church about Muslim-Christian relations. In her lecture she pointed out the similarities between the two Abrahamic religions and called for more co-operation between the members of the two religions.
29 April 2012
Boris Johnson, who has always had uneasy relations with half a million Londoners, made a drastic move prior to the local election. In a meeting at the Regents Park Mosque involving representatives of more than 50 mosques, the London Mayor admitted that he did not engage with the Muslim community.
Mr Johnson also promised that if he is re-elected he will make it up to Muslims, and expressed his positive feelings for Islam.
19 April 2012
Turkish President Abdullah Gül has completed a three day state visit to the Netherlands to commemorate 400 years of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey. The visited included a state banquet in Amsterdam in which Queen Beatrix praised Turkey as an “inspiration and example” and stressed the history of peaceful relations between the two countries.
Gül’s visit has raised objection from the country’s Freedom Party (PVV) in the form of disparaging comments that “Islamist Gül complains about tolerance”. Representatives from other parties distanced themselves from the criticism, as Labour Party MP Frans Timmermans commented that “The cabinet is being taken hostage by [PVV leader] Wilders”. Further, one member of the PVV resigned from the party in embarrassment to show his disapproval of the comments and the party’s national policies. Gül’s response named Wilders as an Islamophobe whose “extreme voice… feeds radicals”.
Commemoration of the diplomatic anniversary continues, with the Rijksmuseum opening a new exhibition entitled “Modern Turkey”. And the Dutch Queen will return the state visit with a trip to Ankara and Istanbul in mid-June, her first visit to the country since 2007.
Educaislam, the training Centre of the Junta Islamica, has signed a cooperation agreement with the Muslim Network, Red Musulmanas this April.
Both entities have signed a collaboration agreement for the purpose of
deepening their relations initiatives and activities. As one of the main measures they will enhance all teaching innovation projects that respond to the educational needs of Muslim and young people with the aim of contributing to their empowerment and leadership and to combat Islamophobia.
As his administration faces a firestorm over a video shown to hundreds of police officers that depicted Muslims as extremists, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg conceded on Thursday that the episode had damaged relations between the city’s Islamic community and the Police Department.
While the mayor defended the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, who has apologized for the showing of the film to officers, he acknowledged that Mr. Kelly would have to work harder to improve trust among Muslims. The video, called “The Third Jihad” was shown for months to officers receiving anti-terrorism training.
18 November 2011
Anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders has commented in de Volkskrant that next year’s celebrations marking 400 years of Dutch-Turkish relations should be stopped. According to Wilders the ‘Islamic regime’ in Turkey under President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan threatens the country’s secular constitution and seeks to “re-Islamise the country”.
The Islamic Cultures Institute, cultural centre in Paris, tackles the question of the artistic impact, 10 years after, of the biggest attempt on the US territory. From all the questions and analysis born from this event, the point of view of contemporary art is not very tackled nor explained.
This 6th Islamic Cultures Festival will show the vitality of the creation linked to 11.09. This ‘American season’ will deal with what art says (or lets us guess) nowadays, of the representations of Islam and the Muslim people and also its relations with the western world.
Four seasons will be the core of the exhibition:
2 August 2011
Several media outlets note the start of Ramadan and its influence for the daily lives of Muslims in the Netherlands and abroad. Although for the past six years the country has celebrated Ramadan with a festival designed to counter stereotypes about Muslims and build relations with non-Muslims, the events will not occur this year. In the past the festival involved sponsored iftar dinners, which “local authorities no longer have the budget to fund”. Radio Netherlands Worldwide carries a photographic overview of Ramadan, and notes that “people in the Middle East are experiencing this year’s Ramadan in quite a different way” given unrest in Syria, Tunisia and Egypt.
WASHINGTON — Attitudes about Muslim-Western relations have become slightly more positive in the U.S., Britain, France, Germany and Russia compared with five years ago, though negative views between Muslim countries and the West persist on both sides, a Pew Research Center survey found.
The survey, by Pew’s Global Attitudes Project, found majorities of Muslims surveyed in five of six Muslim-dominant countries and the Palestinian territories described non-Muslim Westerners as selfish and greedy. In all of the six Western countries surveyed, fewer than 30 percent of non-Muslims said they consider Muslims respectful of women.
Majorities of Muslims interviewed in most of the predominantly Muslim nations surveyed were inclined to say relations with people in Western countries are bad. There has been no overall improvement in those views in the predominantly Muslim nations in the last five years.
Westerners are less likely to believe relations are poor today than they were five years ago.