Archive for March, 2013

Good Governance in Islam in the Light of Takhalluq Bi Asmaa Allah Al Husna: A Classical Approach to Human Rights and Governance

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

NOTES FROM THE IIIT CONFERENCE ON GOOD GOVERNANCE IN ISLAM: CLASSICAL AND CONTEMPORARY APPROACHES #7

[This is the seventh in a series of my notes on the International Institute of Islamic Thought conference on Good Governance in Islam: Classical and Contemporary Approaches held in Herndon, VA. These notes have only been lightly edited and represent my perception of the discussion. The proceedings will be published by IIIT at a later time. Responsibility for any errors in the notes is mine alone. Names of participants (other than mine) in the general discussion have been omitted by request of the organizers.]

“Good Governance in Islam in the Light of Takhalluq Bi Asmaa Allah Al Husna:
A Classical Approach to Human Rights and Governance”

Dr. Kenneth Honerkamp, Professor of Religion and Arabic Studies, University of Georgia, Athens

Ethical and moral values insure the sustainability of freedom and justice. There is an interplay of ethics and rights. Islamic society defends the rights of individuals as members of socio-political collectivity. God, al-Haqq assures the rights of His creation in mankind. A discourse has developed between rule-based (fiqh) and virtue-based (akhlâq) ethics. One side saw education as essential recognizing the right (haqq) of certainty (yakîn) of one’s rational faculty interacting with a tawhidi attitude. An inner attitude of shukr (gratitude) is to know particular grace is a gift from God and then use it. Tahalluq is the active principle of the educational method of the Sufi scholars and mentors to put the interest of others ahead of one’s own. It is a model for normative ethical comportment. I will discuss al-Ghazali’s analysis of tahalluq and other scholars representing both tasawwuf and fiqh.

In Surat-ar-Ra’d Allah says he will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in their hearts, and also God will never change a blessing he has conferred on a people unless they change what is themselves. Ibn Qayim sees the situation of the human is that he is among abundant gifts of which he is oblivious and instead imagines a better state for which he longs.  He thinks that it is because of a lack of appreciation of the good state in which we are that the human falls into a negative state; thus the need of a change of attitude. The Islamic quest for wisdom was not to believe God is One, which they already knew, but to understand the implication of unity, with two complementary dimensions, to recognize the meanings of the attributes of God and to put it into practice by assuming as one’s own the character traits of God. Knowing human attributes we can recognize the difference between the sick and healthy; by knowing the difference between right and wrong we can actualize the socio-economic imperatives our role entails.

Yaqîn, certainly, opposes `aql, which must take a secondary role. Ibn `Abad perceived yaqîn as the principle upon which the religion is founded and the connection between truth and right-action, haqq, and Sharia, haqîqah. The contemplation of Divine unity replaces an eschatological view of the world. More than a source of the law, it is a means of conformity to Divine reality, in which we see ourselves as an actor in the divine drama. The one who engages in remembrance is the one aware that God sees him in every situation. Tawhid and gratitude form an alternative methodology to an adherence to a detailed code. Mushahid at-tawhidiyyah: Inward and outward submission is the base for good governance. Sound knowledge is self-governance. Ethical comportment and good governance form a classical Islamic perspective.

The best known work is by al-Ghazali is Maqâsid al-FalâsifaI.  Ch. 6 says that the happiness of man consists on conformance with the divines name insofar as it is conceivable for man. After hearing and understanding the name, share in the meaning 1) through an interior awareness that clarifies the meaning in a way that allows no error, 2) esteem for the names in a way causes a great longing to implement and actualize the attributes, and 3) the aspiration to acquire the meaning of the attributes and to conform to their meanings to imitate them and adorn oneself with them. A lengthy commentary follows based on the hadith of the 99 names. He then provides tanbîh (counsel). Humanity’s share of ar-Rahman is to show mercy to the negligent treating every misfortune in the world as his own. The share of ar-Rahîm is not to turn away from anyone in need or poverty without interceding on their behalf and if he cannot do so then to pray on their behalf as if it were his own need.

There are many commentaries, all dealing with how we conform spiritually and socially to these names. Ibn Arabi counsels contemplation, devotion, and conformity.

Discussant: Muhammad Faghfoory

I’m not comfortable with the dichotomy between rule-based ethics and virtue-based ethics. The idea of Haqq-al-yaqîn presumes the grounds on which haqq-al-yaqîn is built. The use of asmâ al husna in magic was only on the popular level. In the Sufi orders they were not used for magic. Popular attitude towards governance is different from the implications of Sufi orders on governance. Sufism is personal transformation not social transformation.

Discussant: Yahya Michot

What I see of the influence of this focus on ismâ al husna is its use in magic rather than governance. Junata-al-asmâ (Shield of the Names) of Ghazali leads to that kind of talismanic use. Your presentation is about becoming one with God, but where is the Prophet? Isn’t that another way of actualizing the names of God and would it have more use for good governance. What about hadith an-nawâful (e.g., who declares war against my servant, I declare war against him, etc.)?

Honerkamp: I think it is a mistake to say Sufism is aimed at the individual. History does not support the view that Sufis are in the zâwiya. I agree on the overlap between Sufis and fuquha, but that doesn’t mean there was no tension between the bases of ethics. As for `ilm-al-yaqîn, etc., that is a good point in that there are different levels. As for the Prophet, he is the exemplar. As to magic, yes that is in his commentary.

General Discussion

Michot: It is now known that Ibn Arabi had the same teacher as the author of the Bible of Magic.

The definition of magic is not clear.

The Sufi notion of the perfect man differs from Iqbal’s. Is there a contradiction between qadr and working towards perfection.

The Qur’an too has been used magically. The degrees of yaqîn comes from the Quran.

Ahmad: The definition of magic involves a congruence of microcosm and macrocosm.

This is not magic but occult sciences. Martin Lings wrote a good article on the Qur’anic origins of Sufism.

Honerkamp: This is a complex issue. There is an annotated bibliography in my book. Get Al-Ghazali’s Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
www.minaret.org

Re-engaging the State: The Muslim Brotherhood, the Sadat Regime, and the Quest for Islamic Government in 1970s Egypt

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

NOTES FROM THE IIIT CONFERENCE ON GOOD GOVERNANCE IN ISLAM: CLASSICAL AND CONTEMPORARY APPROACHES #6

[This is the sixh in a series of my notes on the International Institute of Islamic Thought conference on Good Governance in Islam: Classical and Contemporary Approaches held in Herndon, VA. These notes have only been lightly edited and represent my perception of the discussion. The proceedings will be published by IIIT at a later time. Responsibility for any errors in the notes is mine alone. Names of participants (other than mine) in the general discussion have been omitted by request of the organizers.]

“Re-engaging the State:
The Muslim Brotherhood, the Sadat Regime, and the Quest for Islamic Government in 1970s Egypt”

Dr. Abdallah Al Arian, Assistant Professor, Dept of History, Wayne State University

What only a few years ago would have been a theoretical discussion has become a practical question about enacting Islamic modes of government as we stand at the cusp of a new era. My purpose is to provide a historical context. I argue the Islamic movement in the seventies is the root of what is happening today. Hasan Al-Banna formed his activist movement on the heels of the intellectual movement of Jamal-ad-Din al-Afghani, Muhammad Abduh, and Rashid Riddah. We need to fill in the gap between a movement that rejected party politics in the 1940s and today has the most powerful party organization. Most of the studies of the seventies ignore this dynamic link to focus on Sayid Qutb and the jihadists instead, but the generation in the forefront today came of age in that period.

The Muslim Brotherhood had been imprisoned or removed from the scene for decades. At one time it had a million followers, but when Sadat took power there were only a few dozen people released from prison. In rebuilding the movement, should they revive the old model or restrict their scope. Some argued to disband the organization and become a loose movement while others argued that an even more hierarchical structure was required. This internal debate took focus away from substantive questions of good governance, except that debate involves to what degree they wish to address questions of politics.

The influx of a new generation into the movement drives a taking up of the questions of Islamic governance. Following the collapse of the secular nationalist project, high school and university students entering the movement have a natural curiosity about the relevance of Islam beyond the traditional vision of the MB. The summer camps of the university religious movements of Gamaa Islamiyya would invite Ghazali, Sharawi, and a wide array of the various schools. No one ever felt they had to make a choice among these schools, but that they could attempt to reconcile the differing views. This was a strength, although some see it as a weakness.

There are also institutional developments that are a leap forward. The 70s youth movement for the first time was not only intellectually involved but engaged in seeking leadership positions in the universities’ student unions, etc. Here we see the rise of many leaders we recognize in recent developments. They were not elected to institute some kind of Islamic student environment, but rather to serve their fellow students in a manner informed by their Islamic perspective. They carried this forward after their university experience, even to the Egyptian parliament for which they ran as independents.  The MB needed to incorporate or co-opt at a least a part of this movement and the old guard recruited many university students into the MB which, for many students, was a way to keep their movement going after they left the university system to go into the professional syndicates and even to the parliament. MB leadership saw this as essential to the future of the MB, favoring continuing the ban of the MB in political parties, but conceding that there could be circumstances under which running for office as independents or forming a political party might be possible. By the late 70s the earlier hostility or at best ambivalence towards political action was receding before an interest in engaging the state on policy matters.

The other side of the story is the posture of the state. Sadat was not sitting back quietly watching these developments. He adopted the posture of being the “believer president,” making the state a competitor with the MB for the first time in history. Out of this emerges the debate over whether Islam is a source or the source of legislation even as Sadat in practice moves away from Islamic influence, such as the Jahan’s laws (named for his wife) on family law.  This divergence of state rhetoric from state action draws the movement into the state arena. Being the electoral powerhouse, it is inevitable that they would accept democratic legitimacy.

Discussant: Muhammad Faghfoory

Many opposition groups cannot transform themselves into a political group capable of ruling (like Fatah). What are the prospects for the MB. What kind of transformation has the leadership gone through? What are specifics of continuity and change? How does the Ikhwan define itself at this point and where does it want to go from here. Because MB was formed by non-clerics, how does it see the clerical class and what is the attitude of the clerical class towards it? Have they learned anything form the experiences in the Muslim world like Iran, Iraq, and Bahrain? What challenges do they face now and in the future and are they prepared to meet them? Democracy is a home grown phenomenon that cannot be important. Does the Ikhwan have any understanding of an efficient, workable, native, and Islamic democracy?

Discussant: Yahya Michot

I lived in Egypt during 4 years during this period and I is true that the extremists are the best allies of the Orientalists. What of Shaikh Kushk?

Al-Arian: All the questions deal with the current period rather than my period of study. I don’t think there was a plan because the events of last year were unpredicted. They are asked to be revolutionary when they were as surprised by the revolution as anyone else. They have no vision of a parallel government. They will only try to reform the existing institutions. Even ideology has been subordinated to pragmatism in recent years. No major ideologues have arisen within the organizational hierarchies in recent years. You have Islamic technocrats who try to use Islamic principles to meet the needs of the time. We continue to see an intellectual diversity. There is a crossover. People look at ash-Shattir who is at the heart of the Ikhwan yet he has some salafi outlooks. The questions of bai`a and the role of the murshid remain, all of which demonstrates that there is no comprehensive program. Shaikh Kishk was one of the most popular preaches of the time and a bridge between official Islam and the movement, and Sadat was aware of that. No one knows how things will play out in the future.

General Discussion

You seem sympathetic to the Ikhwan—not that there’s anything wrong with that—but they have not produced any coherent ideas. They have no scholars, nor even ideologues. Half their articles published ten years ago were reprints of al-Banna. I see more ideas among the Salafis than the Ikhwan. I think the notion of governance is very weak and even what you call self-governance is more like self-discipline. To me yakîn is really what the Qur’an calls imân. We need to see how the concepts of irfân, imân and burhân. I think we must acknowledge that magic was instrumental to Sufism at the highest level.

Do MB leaders still talk about khilâfah? Mursi recognized Egypt as a nation-state not just in his oath but in his speech. How do they bridge the two notions? Darûrah (necessity)? One of the names of Allah is al-Qawiy. How will this inform him when he meets with Obama (or Tantawi).

It is amazing someone not here in the seventies could see something so clearly. The division between the generations of the sixties and the seventies remain important. People who became international have a different focus than those who remained local (even if they obtained a degree elsewhere). The seeds between the revolutionaries and the reformers were also planted then. It was in the eighties that the decision that it is permitted to run for parliament was made and to have a women’s organization.  The nineties wee important for the figures who appeared afterwards. People who were imprisoned took a different path than those who went to the masjids and into television.

Can you relate salafi tendencies to al-Albani, Qaradawy, etc.?

We cannot make a clear comparison between Iran and Ikhwan because of differences in the religious establishment of both parties.  Hizb-ad-da`wa attempted to combine Sunni and Shia approaches but it went nowhere. Why are we hooked on democracy? I am not looking for democracy; I am looking for justice and respect for human life.

What are the major intellectual influences from the period? How were they were influenced by salafism and the Gamaa Islamiyya? What makes that generation more likely to break away.

To what extent are the governed ready for the governance?

Ahmad: We need to make a distinction between personal, social, and political transformation in Sufism, in the MB, and in the Qur’an.

A social movement is a different animal from a political movement and needs no ideology.

The intense struggle between jama`at al nidhâm and jama`at al-siyâsi played a role. That debate influenced Ikhwan to get into politics and learning how to do so. I think you should also go into what is going to happen to the MB in 5-7 years after things settle down especially as they may be affected by the salafis and visa vis the military. They have been put into a trench where they cannot benefit from the experience of Turkey. I thought what happened to Erdogan in his recent visit was a shame. The book by Mitchell was aided by meetings put on MSA. It is a shame we could not have bought his library.

A good question on ideology was raised. What is wrong with a movement like Ikhwan that as soon as people mature they are kicked out of the movement? I think it I resistance to criticism within the movement. This is why thought developed outside the movement. Hopefully in the new era they would learn to get past that.

I’m the last person to compare Iran to Egypt. As the religious establishment was a dangerous bridge between the old and new regimes in Iran, the military or perhaps some other group could be a dangerous bridge in Egypt.

Al-Arian: I think the MB deserves a lot of criticism, but they have been criticized for the wrong reasons. They are hierarchical, secretive, inward looking, suspicious of external society and enslaved to al-Banna’s sometimes outdated focus. But the question of the commitment to democracy is not justified. I don’t think are committed to the khilafah in the way of hizb-at-tahrir. The people who did these things in the 1980s and 90s came of age in the 1970s. Abou-Fattouh’s time as a student leader was a campaign issue. The summer camps was a youth-led initiative, There was no overriding trend because of the suppression of the Ikhwan and the collapse of Nassarism they wanted to hear from everyone. I do not say there are three trends within the MB, but that they have absorbed many different influences. There was no major ideological influence, only ideas like maqasid ash-sharia. It could benefit a lot from the Turkish model, which also consists of Muslims trying to engage in good governance. In Egypt a leader in his 80s tried to pass power onto a son in his 40s by-passing a generation of people in their fifties and sixties whose exclusion would be unnatural in any society.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
www.minaret.org

Holder’s Answer to Rand Paul Is Not Good Enough

Monday, March 11th, 2013

All Americans owe Rand Paul a debt of thanks for his recent filibuster to force the Obama administration to clarify its position on the constitutionality of drone strikes on American soil.  Unfortunately,  the Attorney General’s answer was not only slow in coming, it fell short.

Mr. Holder said that it would not be constitutional to kill a noncombatant American on American soil without due process of law. This sounds good until we remember that the Obama administration used a drone to kill two noncombatant American citizens in Yemen. One of these, Anwar al-Awlaki, was a propagandist for combatants fighting against the American soldiers abroad. Such propagandists are arguably part of the enemy force, and a case can be made for targeting them as an act of war, whether by drones or otherwise. But was Mr. Holder claiming that an American on American soil who is suspected of propagandizing for the enemy may be killed without charge or trial? This question needs to be answered, and quickly.

It must also be noted that Mr. Awlaki’s son was also killed, for no worse crime than having made a poor choice of fathers. Collateral damage is an unfortunate part of war, but must we now expect it to be a fact of life of drone strikes in America? I want an answer, Mr. Holder. If Rand Paul won’t ask you, I do so now.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
www.minaret.org

News and Analysis (3/11/13)

Monday, March 11th, 2013

“For more than ten years [Mohammed Fahd] Qahtani, an economics professor, has been one of the most outspoken human rights activists in the deeply conservative country. Qahtani believes Saudis must demand their rights, and that speaking up and demanding a stronger rule of law is a moral responsibility”:

“More than 600 attacks on Muslims were reported since March 2012, from a five-year-old child who was hit by a car to an 89-year-old pensioner…. The majority of those physically attacked on the street, harassed or intimidated were Muslim women, 58% of incidents”:

“The protests come a day after hundreds of Muslims rampaged inside a Lahore neighborhood of at least 50 Christian homes… ‘This current government … did not touch the blasphemy law, even though everyone in the parliament was on board …,” says … a lawyer in Lahore who defends those facing a possible death sentence under the law:

Buddhist extremists argued that because stores found it “impractical” to offer both halal certified and non-certified product lines, Buddhists were being “forced” to buy the halaal products:

Karzai and Hagel give conflicting narratives of America’s longest war:

“Ten years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, the consequences are legion: a country divided along sectarian lines, a new authoritarian leadership, a region destabilised, western armies licking their wounds and international diplomacy discredited like never before.” Not to mention the “bodies, … displaced people, and hundreds of millions of dollars”:

Protesters charge that “the investigation was not serious…” The “Tunisian authorities say they have arrested four hardline Salafi Islamists in connection with the killing, but that the gunman who fired the fatal bullets is still on the run”:

Ask the Afghani immigrant in the “proud to be a Muslim T-shirt;” living in the “world capital of gambling, fornication, adultery, prostitution, immodesty, licentiousness, drinking, gluttony, vanity, … and not a little taking God’s name in vain when visitors’ luck runs out in the gambling halls” is no impediment to practicing Islam thanks to “freedom of religion”:

News and Analysis (3/9/13)

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

“The new cabinet will be led by the Islamist Ennahda party, backed by two secular parties and some independents. Ennahda has ceded control of key ministries, including foreign affairs, defence and the interior”:

Harlem Shake versus Halal Shlake: “Harlem shakers claim to represent life by setting their dancing and colourful costumes against a culture they see as preaching death and darkness – a reference to black niqabs and gowns worn by followers of Salafis”:

The MB elders’ “preference for back-room dealings with the still-powerful institutions of Egypt’s “deep state” … have alienated many of [their] younger members. Former Brothers now rank among the Ikhwan’s most bitter and effective critics” and those ready “to ally with secularists, pose an increasingly potent threat to the Brothers’ electoral base”:

The gist of the prosecution’s case is that he praised those who fought America:

On the heels of the expose of the Iraqi development debacle, USAID unveils its ambitious project for Afghani women; an Afghani legislator reviewing the USAID document detailing the project says, “I hope there is going to be very strong monitoring”:

A “retired resident of the city, told the al-Ahram newspaper: ‘The verdict is politicised… only two of the police officers were convicted.’ He accused President Mohammed Morsi of trying to placate fans of al-Ahly, who are known as the Ultras”:

Even though the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 prohibited wartime rape, no court ever raised charges until Sivac and Cigelj presented their overwhelming evidence. The effort finally paid off in June 1995″ when their “collected evidence exposed the magnitude of rape, which courts could no longer ignore” was presented at the Hague:

“[T]he collective has wrapped itself in the rhetoric of anti-imperialism. However, the goals of the organization are now limited to removing “Innocence of Muslims” from YouTube”:

“[One sign in the crowd … read ‘Beitar Will Always Remain Pure’. You will forgive me if my mind is blown. If there are people of any country on Earth who should know how toxic and destructive a sign like that is, shouldn’t it be Israel?”:

News and Analysis (3/7/13)

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

The decision adds uncertainty to Egypt’s struggling democracy when it least needs it, and the Mursi administration is sending mixed signals as to whether it will appeal, but insists it will uphold “the value of the rule of law and the constitution and implementing the principle of the separation of powers“:

“Stuart Bowen put the ‘limited positive effects’ down to corruption, poor security and insufficient consultation with Iraqi authorities. The eight-year war in Iraq cost the US about $800bn and nearly 5,000 lives”:

The meeting of “leading Muslim scholars from across the world … in a modestly sized hotel conference room to hammer out the rights and wrongs of the conflict in Afghanistan” is “the brainchild … of a professor of conflict resolution” who started “as a mujahid fighting the Soviets in his native Afghanistan” and “to stop Afghans from fighting Afghans”:

“Families of four of the hostages issued a statement Monday calling on Hollande to suspend attacks temporarily to allow time for negotiations with the Islamist guerrillas … but French officials made it clear that their combat operations would continue despite the families’ fears. ‘We are going to finish the job,’ said a senior official” …

… but in Malysia, a cease-fire offer by hostage takers is rejected:

The suspected leader of the Boko Haram, continues to insist that the group “would not enter dialogue with the government so long as its members were being arrested and detained.” Nigeria’s top Muslim leader insists that a general amnesty would be embraced by “many of those young men who have been tired of running and hiding”:

“Arafat had been beaten with repeated blows against his chest and body, and had a total of six broken bones in the spine, arms and legs, his lips were lacerated and his face severely injured. The class of injuries sustained by Arafat before he died at the hands of the Israeli Shin Bet is common to many Palestinians who pass through Israeli prisons” …

… among the 4800 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel are 15 members of parliament, a football player, a political cartoonist, hundreds of stone-throwing youths and a handful of what Amnesty International calls human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience”:

Employing an old-fashioned filibuster, in which he actually talked for 13 hours straight, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) complained “how difficult it had been to get President Barack Obama’s administration to clearly define what qualifies as a legitimate target of a drone strike. ‘No president has the right to say he is judge, jury and executioner’:

The kidnapping of peacekeeping forces further erodes the image of the rebels, already under investigation by human rights advocates for alleged extra-legal executions:

Some see the pre-election turmoil as a symptom of Khamenei’s attempt to keep an firm grip on power by keeping out not only the would-be reformers, but potential Ahmadinejad allies as well:

News and Analysis (3/5/13)

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Separate bus lines? For Israeli settlers, Arabs on the bus is “a problem” and more rigorous apartheid is the solution:

“Human rights organisations have revealed that Israel has breached its ceasefire agreement with the Palestinians on more than 800 occasions since it was signed last November. In stark contrast, the Palestinians have broken the truce just twice”:

Ahmed Shaheed insists he verifies reports by requiring “at least two independent sources” and seeking responses from the government, but that the latter “is either reticent” t0 respond or else “does not address the specific questions listed”:

“Left out in the cold, the first lady of Islamophobia blames CPAC’s decision to serve its conservatism straight, without a side-order of bigotry, on the movement’s most effective coalition-builder, Grover Norquist:

A group of veterans of the Soviet adventure in Afghaistan resumed its search for MIAs after the US invasion has found that at least one of them was neither dead nor captured, but went native to live under the name of Shaikh Abdullah after “local residents rescued [him] from the battlefield and [successfully] treated his wounds with herbs”:

Has it already begun?

“Several of the deceased were said to bear signs of torture after their corpses were handed back to their families by British personnel at Camp Abu Naji, while the Iraqi death certificates recorded that one man’s penis had been removed and two bodies were missing eyes”:

In the face of “recordings in which Khan appeared to back the overthrow of Pakistan’s government in favor of strict Islamic law, praised the killing of American military personnel, and lauded the failed 2010 attempt to detonate a bomb in New York’s Times Square”:

“In previous years, Hamas has supported the race and provided security[,]” but with this year’s ban on allowing men and women to run together, the UN would rather cancel the race than require men and women to run consecutively or limit the race to women:

News and Analysis (3/2/13)

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

Ignoring Hagel’s warning against the dangers of American pushiness, the new Secretary State, already facing charges that America has taken sides in Egyptian and Syrian internal affairs, urges Turkey’s PM to stop equating the Zionist project of expropriation, persecution, and demonization against the Palestinians with anti-Semitism:

“Both sides visit London, Belfast and Dublin to learn methodology and psychology that led to negotiations breakthrough …. [both] Turks and Kurds also went to the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh to gain insights into how to devolve power from the centre, an issue that is likely to loom large … if things get that far”:

The author describes herself as “firmly agnostic” but sees the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as an extraordinarily sensitive advocate of the 99% who “earned such a lot of respect by that stance for so long … [a period] of non-violent resistance to violence against him”:

A “Hamas leader warned that Obama’s visit to al-Aqsa Mosque — Islam’s third holiest site — if accompanied by Israeli security forces will have ‘catastrophic ramifications on the current political situation”L

“Abdullah, who grew up as a Southern Baptist and converted to Islam, is the religious leader of Light of Reform Mosque in Washington, D.C.” ,,, said that the antigay views among some Muslims and others are rooted in what he believes is misguided “cultural interpretations” rather than the truth of “God’s message to all of humankind:

NATO says it mistook the boys, both under age under seven, for insurgents:

The violence was parked by conflicting rumors, “Some residents believe the woman, who is a teacher, converted to Christianity and is hiding inside the church. Others suspect she was forced into conversion and is being held against her will inside the church. Egypt’s Coptic Christians … have long complained of discrimination by the state”:

As Rumi’s populariyt continuesw t skyrocket thank to the Internet, Omid Safi warns, “Reading the Masnavi without the Qur’an is as foolish as reading Milton without the Bible”:

The satiric group intends “to stage a new innovative protest in front of the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters every week. The group will then post the videos of their protests on their Arabic Facebook page[,]” saying, ‘It’s a change from violence to sarcasm and it’s peaceful. There has been enough blood, enough arrests, enough trials’”:

The inventor “leaves behind a market of grateful customers: Muslim women, who have flocked to his invention of a “breathable” polish that allows air and moisture to reach the nail bed. Some scholars say the cosmetic is uniquely permissible under Islamic law”: