News and Analysis (3/22/15)

“The Islamic Tribunal, a panel of Dallas-area imams, offers to mediate disputes between Muslims for a fee. Catholic dioceses and Jewish synagogues have run similar tribunals for centuries. But the Muslim version is portrayed on websites as the country’s first ‘Shariah court'” …

… while a prisoner “alleges that prison officials denied all 11 of his requests, in accordance with his religious beliefs, to have his meals provided after sundown and before sunrise during last year’s Ramadan” violating not only the Constitution, but the jail’s contract for federal prisoners:

“The sun is not worshipped by us and how can anyone force us to do it? Ever since Modi came to power, Hindutva forces have become powerful. Ghar wapasi is being held and the right wing forces are spewing venom against Muslims and Christians” —  Mohammed Abdul Rahim Qureshi:

The Syriac Catholic “patriarch derided what he described as the ‘machiavellian’ strategy, hypocrisy and lies of the coalition fighting Isis, saying western states must block the group’s provisions of arms and financing” and accused the West of complicity in ISIS’s seizure of Nineveh” …

… while in Yemen, “Abdel-Malek al-Houthi said his decision to mobilize fighters amid accelerating violence in recent days was aimed against Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for bombings that killed more than 130 in the capital Sanaa on Friday, and against al Qaeda”:

A better, albeit less frequent, response to terrorism than counter-violence, crackdowns on civil liberty, or mere profession of Islamic peacefulness “is to put into practice the values of individual liberty and dignity through pluralistic democracy, with state tolerance for all types of faith” …

… but “[u]nfortunately, Shariah experts today remain greatly divided and many of them are intolerant and ultraconservative. There is a dire need for a more tolerant approach to our Islamic teachings”:

Notwithstanding the official affirmation that she did not burn the Qur’an, “[m]obile phone footage circulating on social media shows police at the scene did not save the 27-year-old woman, Farkhunda, who was beaten with sticks and set on fire by a crowd of men in central Kabul”:

“Even by Afghanistan’s standards of often-shifting alliances, a recent meeting between ethnic Hazara elders and local commanders of the Taliban insurgents who have persecuted them for years was extraordinary”:

The founder of the new “digital TV channel that has been compared to Netflix aims to show Islamic culture at its best,” as “an online platform that would fill what he saw as a gap in the market for high quality, engaging content about Islamic culture that would not be overtly religious or sectarian”:

Hofstra religion professor Hussein Rashid thinks America, with its freedom of religion is the natural venue for “a new flourishing of Muslim devotionals” and for Riyaaz Qawwali … to go back to that very exciting, innovative space that qawwali was”, restoring its “ecstatic and devotional” essence:

Conceding many women “wear hijabs and jilbabs to articulate their faith and identity” or to make a political statement, a writer worries about ones who “do so without delving fully into its implications, significance or history. Their choice, even if independently made, may not be fully examined”:

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