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Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup (18 March)

[This comic book image released by Marvel Comics shows character Kamala Khan , second left, with her family Aamir, father Yusuf, mother Disha and friend Bruno, from the [This comic book image released by Marvel Comics shows character Kamala Khan , second left, with her family Aamir, father Yusuf, mother Disha and friend Bruno, from the "Ms. Marvel" issue. The new monthly Ms. Marvel is debuting as part of the Company’s popular All-New Marvel NOW! initiative. Image by Marvel Comics via Associated Press]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating about Islam and reflects a wide variety of opinions and approaches. It does not reflect the views of the Critical Currents in Islam page or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to by Saturday night of every week.]

Muslim Minorities and Minority Muslims

Germany Adds Lessons in Islam to Better Blend Its Melting Pot Alison Smale reports that for the first time, German public schools are offering classes in Islam to primary school students using state-trained teachers and specially written textbooks.

Inclusion and Representation in Comic Books: A Pakistani-American Teenage Hero Fareeha Molvi discusses the entrance of Kamala Khan into the Marvel comic book world, a character who she finds to be the most “relatable” amongst the recent string of Muslim comic book characters.

In Iowa, a Lasting Symbol of American Islam Through 85 years and a devastating flood, Cedar Rapids' Mother Mosque of America endures

Anti-Muslim Sentiment Rising in the U.S: What Is Happening to Religious Tolerance? Charles Kurzman analyzes the growing negative views of American Muslims in US opinion polls.

Racists Vandalized a Stockholm Mosque and the Community Responded Beautifully After a mosque’s doors in Stockholm were defaced with swastikas, a week later, anonymously flowers and a kind note were discovered.

Spotlight on City People: Oral histories pay tribute to Muslim women Filmmaker Nsenga Knight has created a show that tells the life stories of African-American Muslim women.

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Islam Gaining Popularity in Brazilian Culture and TV Rahat Husain writes that Islam has become so popular in Brazil largely through its convert community that it has found its way into a popular telenovela called “O Clone”. The show features a main character who wears an Islamic headscarf and has introduced common Arabic Islamic phrases to its Brazilian audiences.

Fraternity Life, Islamic Style Kyle Spencer reports on the first Muslim fraternity, Alpha Lambda Mu, which was founded at the University of Texas, Dallas and now has a chapter at the University of California, San Diego and several others in the works across the United States reflecting an increase in the percentage of Muslim college freshmen according to a Higher Education Research Institute survey.

Wielding Whip and a Hard New Law, Nigeria Tries to ‘Sanitize’ Itself of Gays Adam Nossiter reports on new harsher restrictions on same-sex marriage and penalties and punishments for gay sex. Although gay sex has been banned since British rule, it had rarely been punished except in the mostly Muslim north, where Islamic moral police and Shariah law are more prevalent.

Central African Republic: Muslims Flee Sectarian conflict between Christian militias and Muslim rebels has led to the exodus of thousands of Muslims from the Central African Republic to neighboring Chad and Cameroon.

Supporters of Gay Marriage in France Include Some Muslims Rajia Aboulkheir writes that a petition signed by thousands of French, including many Muslims, in support of gay marriage in France was begun by two Arab activists. Supporters of this petition, according to Aboulkheir argue that this is part of a larger struggle defending equal rights for all citizens.

New York City Wins Dismissal of Muslim Surveillance Suit A US Federal judge found that New York City law enforcement did not violate the civil rights of Muslims involved in mosques, Muslim-owned businesses and Muslim run organizations in New Jersey.

As Hate Crimes Rise, British Muslims Say They’re Becoming More Insular Steven Erlanger writes that with the rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes, British Muslims say they are becoming increasingly isolated and more hesitant to venture in areas that are not frequented by other Muslims and South Asians.

Should Schools Close for Eid Holidays? Muslims are Divided In the past few months several online petitions have circulated urging US public schools to close for Muslim holidays; however, not all in the Muslim community have supported these petitions. Those arguing against these petitions call for civically minded local efforts to gain recognition of Muslim holidays, as there are already for some cities and counties in the US.

Bill Legally Distinguishing between Christian and Muslim Arabs Advances Ariel Ben Solomon writes that proposed legislation in Israel seeks to differentiate legally between Arab Christians and Muslims. Supporters of the bill argue that this differentiation will allow more representation to the minority Christians among the Arab population, while opponents say this is a tactic to divide and assert more control.

Political Islam

Kurdistan’s “Islamic” Parties Seek to Downplay Islam Mohamed Zangeneh writes that two main Kurdish Islamist parties are seeking to drop the term “Islamic” from their official name in an effort to gain wider support. This comes in light of political uncertainty in Kurdistan following the 2013 parliamentary elections and several years of stagnate growth in the number of supporters of the Islamist parties.

On Constitutions, Sharia, and Muslim Political Thought Hatem Bazian writes that in the aftermath of the Arab Spring many Muslim majority countries are debating the the role of Islamic Law in politics and the state. Questions of how to define citizenship inclusively and the ‘conceptualisation of a nation-state’ are put to the test, according to Bazian. He argues that Islam in a modern state should be based on principles of ethics and morals such as freedom, justice, fair economics, ect., but not in seeking to establish Muslims as holding ‘permanent power’.

Tony Blair Backs Egypt's Government and Criticises Brotherhood Patrick Kingsley reports that the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has given his support to Egypt’s military leader Abdel Fatah al-Sisi for removing Egypt’s democratically elected Mohamed Morsi and setting Egypt back on the road to democracy. Blair goes on to further criticise the Muslim Brotherhood for stealing Egypt’s revolution.

Piety and Practice

Study Dispels Stereotypes about Ontario Women Who Wear Niqabs A study by Concordia University professors and the Canadian Council of Muslim Women found that the majority of Muslim women who wear the niqab in Ontario do so after immigrating to Canada and without family support. The study comes at a time of significant public debate and controversies on the issue.

Muslim Women Challenge American Mosques: 'Now Is The Time' A recent study co-sponsored by the Islamic Society of North America finds that a majority of American mosques are not providing adequate space, programs, and leadership roles for women. Responding to the lack of space for women in mosques, an online campaign (Side Entrance) where women from around the world post photos showcasing their prayer places has sparked a conversation.

Projects, Papers, and Books

The Canonization of Islamic Law: A Social and Intellectual History  Sherali Tareen interviews University of Chicago professor Ahmad El Shamsy on his new book, which explores the question of how the discursive tradition of Islamic law was canonized during the eighth and ninth centuries CE.

Turkey Publishes Islamic Encyclopedia on the Internet

New Documentary Recounts Story of Heroic Muslim Spy Description of the upcoming documentary, Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story, about the Indian-American Muslim woman who worked as a British spy in Nazi-occupied Paris.


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