Islamic superhero comic “The 99” among top 20 pop culture trends worldwide

The creator of a bestselling comic designed to show the world the tolerant and peaceful face of Islam has written an open letter to his young sons explaining how the project grew out of 9/11.

In the letter, written for the BBC News website, Kuwaiti psychologist Dr Naif al-Mutawa, says his superheroes – inspired by the Koran and known as THE 99 – were designed to “take back Islam” from militants who had taken it hostage.

The comics, which now sell about one million copies a year in several languages, are soon to be made into an animated film by Dutch media company Endemol. Early last year, Forbes magazine announced THE 99 were one of the 20 top pop culture trends sweeping the world.

Antisemitism and Islamophobia rising across Europe, survey finds

Antisemitism and Islamophobia are on the rise across Europe, according to a survey of global opinion released yesterday. In contrast to the US and Britain where unfavourable opinion of Jews has been stable and low for several years at between 7 and 9%, the Pew Survey of Global Attitudes found that hostile attitudes to Jews were rising all across continental Europe from Russia and Poland in the east to Spain and France in the west. The survey found that suspicion of Muslims in Europe was considerably higher than hostility to Jews, but that the increase in antisemitism had taken place much more rapidly. “Great Britain stands out as the only European country included in the survey where there has not been a substantial increase in antisemitic attitudes,” the survey found.

Antisemitism has more than doubled in Spain over the past three years, with a rise from 21% to 46%, the survey of almost 25,000 people across 24 countries found, while more than one in three Poles and Russians also had unfavourable opinions of Jews. In the same period antisemitism in Germany and France also rose – from 21% to 25% in Germany and from 12% to 20% in France among those saying they had unfavourable opinions of Jews. “Opinions of Muslims in almost all of these countries was were more negative than are views of Jews,” analysts said. While Americans and Britons displayed the lowest levels of antisemitism, one in four in both countries were hostile to Muslims. Such Islamophobia was lower than in the rest of Europe. More than half of Spaniards and half of Germans said that they did not like Muslims and the figures for Poland and France were 46% and 38% for those holding unfavourable opinions of Muslims. Ian Traynor reports.

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Pew Report

International Herald Tribune

Middle East Online

Daily Times

Guardian

Les musulmans en France: Courants, institutions, communautés: un état des lieux

Ce précis de l’islam en France se distingue par son approche sociologique et clairement dépassionnée. Dans un souci permanent d’objectivité, Bernard Godard et Sylvie Taussig ont cherché à comprendre qui sont les millions d’hommes et de femmes, partageant le quotidien de tous les Français, qui appartiennent à cette religion, volontairement ou non, plus ou moins activement, voire passivement ou de manière ouvertement critique. Menée à partir de statistiques officielles, cette enquête à la fois exhaustive et serrée permet d’appréhender non pas un islam, mais tous les islams de France qui se font face, s’épaulent ou se concurrencent. Ce livre est une radioscopie étonnante, qui surprendra par sa richesse humaine, la diversité de ses courants, mais aussi de ses oppositions internes, souvent tranchées. On saisit à quel point l’islam n’est pas le même selon les communautés (algérienne, marocaine, tunisienne, etc.), ni selon les orientations (sunnite ou chiite). On vérifie toutes les nuances qui opposent, par exemple, les musulmans originaires de Turquie à ceux qui viennent d’Asie, de même que l’on suit les débats opposant les réformistes aux fondamentalistes, les laïcs aux convertis, mais aussi tous les mouvements marginaux, qui seront peut-être majoritaires demain. Enfin, on voit se dessiner, région par région, une carte de France avec des forces nouvelles, entre éthique, business et traditionalisme. Sans se substituer aux autorités politiques ou religieuses, les auteurs posent aussi toutes les questions sur la viabilité des rapports entre islam et république. Quel financement pour les lieux de culte ? Quelle formation pour les imams ? Qui détient l’autorité religieuse ? Autant de questions qui engagent, au-delà de la communauté musulmane, l’avenir de tout notre pays (Courtesy of Robert Laffont).