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Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup (16 June)

[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

Muslim group's concerns about 'Tyrant' addressed, FX and producers say A new television show is drawing concern from some American Muslims, and producers have responded by consulting with American Muslim groups.

Muslim Minorities and Minority Muslims

Visitors Say That the 9/11 Museum’s Depiction of Islam Could Use a Little Work Caroline Bankoff reports on perception of some 9/11 Museum visitors who say not enough is done to distinguish between Al Qaeda ideology and Islamic teachings. Many objected to its treatment of Islam only within the context of terrorism. Interviews of tourists leaving the museum confirmed this criticism.

Belfast pastor who criticized Islam denounces racist attack on Muslims A Belfast pastor known for making anti-Islam statements has condemned attacks on Muslims and offered compensation for repairs to the homes of those affected.

Supreme Court won't hear Murfreesboro mosque case The United States Supreme Court rejected to hear an appeal from a 2010 case over the whether county officials gave adequate public notice before approving the building of an Islamic Center in Tennessee.

"Islamic Jew-hatred" ads with Hitler adorn DC buses In Washington, DC, large bus ads will run in mid-June by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), featuring a picture of Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini and stating “Islamic Jew hatred: It’s in the Quran…”.

Swiss canton rejects proposal for first Islamic kindergarten An Islamic institution, Al Huda, had its proposed Islamic kindergarten in northern Switzerland rejected by the government because its ideology was too strong and contradicted local education standards.

Bowe Bergdahl and the Resurgence of Conservative Islamophobia Peter Beinart writes on how the discussion surrounding the US and Taliban prisoner-swap highlighted anti-Muslim sentiments on the right. He argues that hostility towards Muslims and Islam is on the rise, not declining despite the US withdrawing troops from Iraq and decreasing their presence in Afghanistan.

"A Piece Of Cloth Doesn't Turn Someone Into An Extremist;" Britain's Youths On May-Gove Trojan Horse Row British Muslim youth contend that they have been under increased pressure due to accusation by Michael Grove and Theresa May over Islamist extremist plots to overtake schools in Birmingham.

Spanish Muslims, or Moriscos, seek parity with Jews expelled from Spain Gil Shefler discusses Spain’s policy to offer Sephardic Jews a path to citizenship, which descendants of Moriscos, Muslims expelled from Spain in 1609, hope to gain as well. Moriscos are hoping to at least gain recognition for their Iberian heritage.


Leaving Islam for Atheism, and Finding a Much-Needed Place Among Peers Mark Oppenheimer writes on efforts by former Muslims to bridge the gap between those who advocate for reform from within Islam and those who harshly criticize Islam after leaving the faith like Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The group’s motto is “No Bigotry and No Apologism.”

Nigeria schools walk line between Islamic and Western traditions Will Ross reports on the lack of basic education for many Nigerian children beyond a religious one. He also discusses a new effort by some Nigerian schools in the north of the country that have been integrating the schools to offer both religious classes and secular math and reading classes. 

Muslim scholars issue fatwa condemning honor killings Rahat Husain writes on the numerous Muslim scholars and Islamic institutions issuing fatwas condemning honor killings.

Muslim Groups Call For Boycott Of Cadbury After Pork Is Found In Chocolate Malaysian Muslim retailers have called for a boycott of Cadbury and its parent Mondelez International Inc., after pig DNA was founded in its chocolates by Malaysian authorities during a random test. In response, Cadbury also recalled its Dairy Milk chocolate products from the country.

Halal butcher promises 'honest to God' burgers Ashley Mason discusses the opening and the appeal of a new halal butchery in Manhattan that feature halal meat that is also GMO and hormone free to both Muslim and non-Muslim customers.

Egypt president Mansour signs law jailing unauthorized Islamic preachers Egypt’s outgoing interim president signed a law allowing the jailing and fining of anyone preaching or giving Islamic lessons who is not hired or authorized by Al Azhar or the endowments minister.

Political Islam

The Mirage of Political Islam Mustapha Tlili writes about the US’s role in promoting real democracy in the Middle East. Tlili criticizes the Obama administration’s support for Islamist regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, which he argues was misguided and based on lack of understanding of political Islam. He concludes that the US must engage with the more secular groups in both countries and help the seculars reach out to the more pious illiterate and rural to effectively shut the door on all forms of political Islam.

Muslim Brotherhood responds to Al-Sisi: No reconciliation without fair punishment The Muslim Brotherhood responds to Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s presidential campaign’s promise that the group can participate in the political process if they recognize the constitution and its legitimacy and end violence. The group’s leadership stated that there will be no reconciliation between coup leaders and their group without Morsi and justice for those killed.

Report: Saudi Arabia bans books of pro-Muslim Brotherhood clerics It is reported that the Saudi government has ordered the removal of books by Saudi Salman al-Odah and Kuwaiti Tariq al-Suwaidan, who are sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi officials designated the group as a terrorist organization earlier this year.

Islamic Finance

Brazil Targeting Mideast Riches With First Islamic Fund The largest bank in Latin America, Banco do Brasil SA, is planning to launch its first Sharia compliant equity fund soon. It is an effort to reach a fast growing industry.

Virgin Mobile Expands Into Middle East Via Islamic Banking Kathleen Caulderwood reports on Virgin Mobile’s to secure $15 million in Sharia compliant financing to create a greater appeal in the expanding Middle East markets.

Projects, Papers and Books

Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty Stephen Schwartz reviews Mustafa Akyol’s Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty in light of events from the past three years including the faltering Arab Spring and Turkish democracy being challenged. Schwartz critiques the author’s lack of full disclosure regarding his own family’s Turkish history and involvement in politics. He also faults the author for not carefully laying out the facts surrounding Turkish democracy and rushing to conclusions about the country’s AKP political party that are not fully supported by the evidence.

How Muslim Americans Combat Online Hate Speech Anna Lekas Miller writes on a report about online bigotry and violent hate speech without consequence by Muslim Advocates. The group provides suggestions on how to respond effectively through counter speech, promoting positive portrayals and holding public officials responsible for their hate speech.

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