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Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup (May 12)

[In this 2010 photo, products made by American Halal Co., Inc., bottom row, join other frozen food products in a freezer case at a Whole Foods store in Darien, Conn. The company helped Whole Foods develop its first nationally distributed halal (Islamically permitted) food product called Saffron Road entrees that the food stores started selling in August. Image by Craig Ruttle via Associated Press] [In this 2010 photo, products made by American Halal Co., Inc., bottom row, join other frozen food products in a freezer case at a Whole Foods store in Darien, Conn. The company helped Whole Foods develop its first nationally distributed halal (Islamically permitted) food product called Saffron Road entrees that the food stores started selling in August. Image by Craig Ruttle 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.]

Art and Science

Fashion’s Missed Muslim Market Opportunity Robin Mellery-Pratt writes on the emerging Muslim consumer market for international fashion brands largely driven by the growing demographic.

Sharjah’s Islamic Park becoming popular Ahmed Shaaban reports on a unique leading tourist attraction in UAE’s Sharjah aimed at encouraging “meditation and contemplation of verses of the Holy Quran and Sunnah.”

Muslim Minorities and Minority Muslims

Death Stalks Muslims as Myanmar Cuts Off Aid The ongoing humanitarian crisis for Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has escalated with the government shutting down clinics by Doctors Without Borders.

Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents Adam Withnall writes on the introduction of new laws equating atheists with terrorists and further stifling dissent, according to Human Rights Watch. 

Prime Minister applauds 'so inspiring' Muslim Scout leader British Prime Minister commends a Muslim Scout leader for bringing together youth from various faiths and backgrounds as a way of building community cohesion.

Developer Scales Back Plans for Muslim Center Near Ground Zero Sharon Otterman reports that instead of building the controversial Muslim community center near the World Trade Center, the developer is planning a smaller museum on Islam, art, and culture with an area for prayer and community programs.

A Response to the Question: “Why Aren’t Muslims Condemning Boko Haram?” Princeton University Muslim Chaplain Sohaib Sultan pushes back against the idea that Muslims should spend all of their remaining days on earth condemning evil at the hand of other Muslims

The 9/11 Museum’s Muslim Problem Dean Obeidallah discusses the challenges the National September 11 Memorial Museum is facing from the interfaith leaders and the Muslim community over a controversial short film and a board member accused of being anti-Muslim.

Tory candidate quits over homophobic and anti-Islamic tweets A Conservative council candidate quit his campaign over several offensive tweets, which included homophobic and anti-Islam comments.

New Islamic fatwa: Foreign Muslims can visit Jerusalem's Temple Mount Yasser Okbi writes a new Islamic ruling announced in Jordan canceling an earlier fatwa that prohibited Muslims from visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, but tourists should use Palestinian housing, food, and transport services in east Jerusalem. The thirty-nine prominent scholar signatories include Sheikh Yusuf al-Karadawi.

In Washington, Muslims gather to get ‘Happy’ for the camera The Washington Post reports on the Muslim Public Affairs Council and Make Space filming a segment for an American version of the “Happy British Muslims” Youtube clip that went viral. The Post also discusses the controversies surrounding the British clip and the reasons given by American groups for filming their version.

English schools investigated for role in Islamist takeover plot Trevor Grundy writes on an inquiry by the British Office for Standards in Education over allegations that twenty one schools in Birmingham area are accused of being part of an Islamist plot to “take over.”

Lawsuit says FBI uses no-fly list in bid to recruit Muslim informants Adam Goldman reports on a lawsuit alleging that three men on separate occasions were kept on the no-fly list because they had refused to act as spies on their local Muslim communities in several states.

Halal meat: animals shouldn't suffer, but we mustn't ostracise minorities Jonathan Freeland writes on the outcry by many British over new halal food options at restaurant chains, contending that the protest over halal meat is anti-Muslim hysteria and not animal rights related.


Islam, scripted: Egypt reins in Friday sermons at mosque Christa Case Bryant discusses the state influence on Friday sermons in Egypt to stifle dissent and any preachers straying from state sanctioned themes are suspended.

Seeking greater equality, Indian women turn to unexpected source: Shariah courts Heather Mcilvaine reports on the Indian Muslim Women’s Movement, which seeks to bring gender-equal Sharia laws to the Indian Parliament thereby challenging “the legal concept of Shariah law and reclaim it.”

Political Islam

Sisi says Muslim Brotherhood will not exist under his reign Egypt’s former field marshal and leading presidential candidate, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stated in interviews on state television that “There will be nothing called the Muslim Brotherhood during my tenure.” This threat comes amid aggressive crackdowns on dissent and severe judicial penalties for Brotherhood supporters.

Egypt's Sisi turns Islam on the Islamists Tom Perry writes that as Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is preparing to run for President, he has appeared to place himself as a religious reformer who blames Egypt’s problems on antiquated “religious discourse.”

The Nour Party’s Precarious Future Egypt’s Salafi Nour Political Party are struggling to overcome anti-Islamist sentiment and hostility from fellow Islamist or appear as sell-outs for supporting the ouster of the president, Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammad Morsi. Despite this, the group hopes to take the Brotherhood’s place as the main Islamist party.

Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood Struggles to GrowMary Fitzgerald reports on the fate of the Islamist Justice and Construction Party (JCP) amid Libya’s turbulent political environment post-Qaddafi, where the group is conflated with radicals who denounce democracy and anti-Muslim Brotherhood sentiment is on the rise.

Brunei embraces strict Islamic laws On 1 May, the Southeast Asian country adopted harsh penalties derived from sharia criminal law that have been strongly criticized by international human rights groups.

Islamic Jihad Gains New Traction in Gaza Jodi Rudoren writes that while Islamic Jihad trails other groups in popularity, Gaza has seen a recent spike in support due to what they claim are better social services than Hamas and readiness to physically defend Gaza. 

Boko Haram: Not My Shariah Jerusha T. Lamptey explains that sharia is often described as violent, inhumane punishments, and oppressive towards women, it is not codified or static. He then places this explanation in connection with discourse on Boko Haram following their kidnapping of over two hundred girls Lamptey argues the group’s ideology is not an authoritative view on sharia, but rather “a bastardized ideology that references Islam and focuses on punishment.”

Islamic Finance

Muslim World Merchants’ Union meeting held in Iran On 4 May, Iran held the first Muslim World Merchants’ Union hoping to promote unity among Islamic countries and encourage economic cooperation between Muslim businessmen.

New Islamic credit card is launched CrediMax has announced a new plan to offer a sharia-compliant credit card called “Tayseer” in Bahrain, which can be used also worldwide as a Visa and Mastercard.

Projects, Papers, and Books

Hip-hop and worldwide Muslim youth culture: Musical ties and the reaction of governments Michael Muhammad Knight writes a critical review on Rebel Music by Hisham Aidi, arguing that the book does well by introducing an important conversation on “hip-hop internationalism, Muslim youth cultures and state interventions in religion,” but is weak on some facts and that the author “appoints himself referee in contests of Muslim authenticity.”

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