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Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup (March–April 2016)

[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.]

Islam in the Americas

Muslim Student Association Hosts Islam Awareness Week

The MSA at San Francisco State University hosted an Islam Awareness Week on campus in order to increase the level of literacy around issues of Islamophobia and Muslim beliefs and practices. The event provided a safe environment for individuals to ask questions and express their opinions about issues related to Islam, Muslims, and Islamophobia.

Turkish Cultural Center to open in Lanham amid tensions over Islam

The Turkish state sponsored Diyanet Center of America has opened a mosque, cultural center, sports complex, and guest house in Lanham, Maryland this month. Turkey’s prime minister was present and used it as an opportunity to denounce terrorism and support Turkey’s current policy towards both ISIS and the Kurds. To see a video of the center click here.

Practicing Islam in Catholic Cuba

Photographer Joan Alvado traveled to take pictures of the small Muslim population of roughly one thousand living in Cuba. Many are recent converts to Islam and meet in houses together in small groups on Fridays to pray.

New peace group planning "Celebrate Islam Week" in Missoula

An interfaith group from Missoula called SALAM, an acronym for Standing Alongside America’s Muslims, has planned an event that celebrates the diverse traditions of Islam so as to combat the hateful rhetoric and terror attacks in the United States and abroad. There will be a documentary, comedy shows, and speakers to encourage dialogue between and within communities.

'Flying While Muslim': Profiling Fears After Arabic Speaker Removed From Plane

Earlier this month, Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, who came to the United States as an Iraqi refugee and is currently a student at the University of California, Berkeley, was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight because another passenger overheard him speaking on his cellphone in Arabic.

Transgender Muslims in America Fight Bigotry on Two Fronts

Mosques across the country are being threatened, vandalized, and burned down; Muslim children in schools are being beaten up, and women in hijabs are being spat on, yelled at, and stalked by armed men trying to intimidate America’s Muslim community into disappearing. For transgender Muslims, this discrimination is compounded by issues of gender identity. While cisgender Muslims find refuge from Islamophobia in mosques, for transgender Muslims, these spaces can often be just as unsafe as other places. 

Anti-Muslim speaking circuit runs through rural Minnesota

Ron Branstner’s radical message made up of broad anti-Muslim themes mixed with fears about immigration and the cost of helping refugees is increasingly finding a receptive audience, especially in places where new immigrants are changing the face of the community.

How should Muslim parents and teachers talk to children about Donald Trump?

Educators at Muslim private schools and at mosques across America say they strive to inform students about the election, not shield them from it, even when debate touches frequently on their own religion in a way that might be painful.

In the Aftermath of Brussels

Islam and the Radical West

Bret Stephens asks, in light of recent attacks, what, beyond “traditionalist” ideologies and religion, inspires the politics of terrorism. Stephens suggests that rather than “conservativism” writ-large, it might be Euro-American, leftist nihilism that bears some resemblance to the political rational behind terrorism.

A Brussels Mentor Who Taught ‘Gangster Islam’ to the Young and Angry

Khalid Zerkani was recently arrested and sentenced to twelve years in prison for his role in “radicalizing” disenfranchised Muslim youth in Belgium. This article shows that some Belgian youth who were in trouble with the law, struggling with a lack of jobs and an uncertain future, were drawn to Zerkani’s teaching. Sources say that Zerkani specifically targeted his message to young, marginalized North African youth.

FBI’s “Shared Responsibility Committees” To Identify “Radicalized” Muslims Raise Alarms

Murtaza Hussain and Jenna McLaughlin discuss the FBI’s controversial new plan to enlist Muslim community leaders to identify possible “radicalized” individuals. This new plan is a kind of expanded “informant program.” Some critics are raising concerns saying that the FBI ignores actual community concerns and only takes into consideration those who have grants and specific types of qualifications to put these programs into action.

Pope takes Muslim migrants in Greece back to Italy; Sanders meets pope

In an extraordinary gesture both political and personal, Pope Francis brought twelve Syrian Muslims to Italy aboard his plane Saturday after an emotional visit to the Greek island of Lesbos, which has faced the brunt of Europe's migration crisis.

Islam and the Arts

Two Projects Share a Goal: Challenge Stereotypes of Islam and Arabs

The exhibit “Wondrous Worlds: Art and Islam Through Time and Place” is at the Newark Museum and is screening a film, “A Thousand and One Journeys: The Arab Americans.” These exhibits seek to overcome stereotypes about what Islam is alongside the common misconception that all Arabs are Muslim and vice versa. The pieces exhibited include pottery, clothing, textiles, musical instruments, etc.

Art Sales: Islamic art to raise £25 million

London’s auction market will be having an Islamic week and expects to raise about twenty five million pounds from artifacts from diverse places such as Spain, Persia, and China dating back 1,400 years.

Middle East Artists Stand Together for Peace

Artists from multiple countries in the Middle East have gathered together in London to show solidarity and display their art in galleries. The meeting of artists has symbolic significance as the artists say it shows unity despite the international and civil wars being waged currently.



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