Obama says to the Muslim world that a new era has started

President Obama announced that the United States would embark on a business exchange program in areas such as telecommunication and electronic technology, health care, education and infrastructure with the Muslim World. It is a part of the larger outreach efforts by his administration to begin a new era in US relations with Muslims. He declared that such new era “has already begun.” The announcement came in the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship in Washington D.C. The idea of the Summit had been mentioned in Obama’s Cairo speech last June.

Report: “Engaging Religious Communities Abroad: A New Imperative for U.S. Foreign Policy”

A group of 32 experts presented the report “Engaging Religious Communities Abroad: A New Imperative for U.S. Foreign Policy” to the White House. Academicians, governmental officials, and religious leaders are among those contributed to the report.

Given the increasing importance of religions around the globe, the report argues for serious engagement of religious communities and also educating foreign service officers about religions. This is especially important, the report asserts, when it comes to relations with the Muslim World. The report cites President Obama’s speech in Cairo in last June and calls for yet broader constructive engagement.

The report argues for education of religions in the federal sector for better educated US foreign policy officials can better address foreign policy challenges. It also advises that foreign service officers are allowed to engage religious communities while serving abroad.

Engaging Religious Communities Abroad: A New Imperative for U.S. Foreign Policy

A group of 32 experts presented this report “Engaging Religious Communities Abroad: A New Imperative for U.S. Foreign Policy” to the White House. Academicians, governmental officials, and religious leaders are among those contributed to the report.

Given the increasing importance of religions around the globe, the report argues for serious engagement of religious communities and also educating foreign service officers about religions. This is especially important, the report asserts, when it comes to relations with the Muslim World. The report cites President Obama’s speech in Cairo in last June and calls for yet broader constructive engagement.

The report argues for education of religions in the federal sector for better educated US foreign policy officials can better address foreign policy challenges. It also advises that foreign service officers are allowed to engage religious communities while serving abroad.

French CNRS Researcher on Islam Comes Under Fire

French researcher Vincent Geisser, specialist of Muslims and the Muslim World in Aix-en-Provence at the CNRS (National Center of Scientific Research) will go before a disciplinary jury on June 29th for a recent controversy about an email he sent claiming research on Islam is persecuted by the national funding and research center.

French Journalist Responds to Obama´s Defense of the Headscarf

This article responds to U.S. President Obama´s speech to the Muslim World in Cairo, particularly his defense of Muslim women wearing the headscarf in Western countries. Obama noted that he rejected the positions of some Western nations and that to cover her hair does not mean that a woman is unequal, a position contrary to the French secular position on visible religious signs in public schools. Phillippe Gélie also noted the presence of Dalia Magahed, a veiled woman who is one of Obama´s advisors.

Spain ready to aid US in strengthening ties with Muslim nations

Spain announced last Tuesday that it was ready to help the United States in reaching out to Muslim countries that President Barack Obama announced in his speech to the Turkish parliament. “The United States knows that Spain has the ability, influence, understanding and experience (in the Muslim countries) and, therefore, we’re going to work in that regard,” Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos.

The strengthening of Spanish-Muslim ties was one of the major issues discussed by President Obama and Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero. “I think that the Obama administration’s focus on international relations – supporting multilateralism, dialogue and respect for others and intelligent diplomacy – fully coincides with the Alliance of Civilizations,” said Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos.

Meeting of a New Body of European Imams in Belgium

The European Assembly of Imams and Spiritual Guides had their inaugural two-day conference in Brussels, Belgium on February 25-26, 2008. More than 150 Imams from 28 countries attended the event which was organized by the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE). The European Assembly of Imams and Spiritual Guides stressed the importance of creating an Islamic European identity and also discussed issues of Islamophobia and other contemporary politics in the Muslim World.

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.

Spain Revisits Its Arab Past, Rebuilds Bridges With Muslim World

MADRID – Spain, the Western country most marked by Arab civilization, solemnly decided to reopen the annals of its Arab past and to rebuild the bridges with the Muslim world, demolished with the fall of Granada in 1492, by signing the founding charters of “la Casa _rabe”, and of the International Institute of Arab Studies and the Muslim World. The Arab League and the UN Alliance of Civilizations co-sponsor the two new institutions.