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Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup (January 23- March 5)

[No Muslim Ban march on the Capitol in Washington D.C. 4 February 2017. Image by Masha George via Flickr] [No Muslim Ban march on the Capitol in Washington D.C. 4 February 2017. Image by Masha George via Flickr]

[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.]

January 23 - 29

What Might Trump’s Muslim Immigration Order Do?: The Trump Administration prepares an executive order restricting entrance into the United States from multiple Muslim-majority countries and specifically targeting Muslims. 

The UK media too often misrepresents Muslims – with dangerous results: Miqdad Versi discusses sensationalist journalism in the UK that misrepresent facts about issues involving Muslims and Islam.

In the US, we need a Muslim-Jewish alliance: The authors of this Aljazeera opinion piece argue that Muslims and Jews in the United States can come together in ways that do not downplay the need for justice in Palestine.

How Trump changed Americans’ view of Islam – for the better: Polls show increased favorability towards Muslims since Trump’s election. This article suggests that Trump’s extreme, partisan rhetoric and actions might be part of the reason.

Mapping Islamophobia: Visualizing Islamophobia in the United States: Caleb Elfenbein, Associate Professor at Grinnell College, has put together a team of people to map incidents of Islamophobia across the United States over time.

Designating the Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist organization” puts academic researchers at risk: Designating the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) as a terrorist organization could be dangerous for researchers and NGO’s who work on or with MB materials and individuals. Ambiguous legal language about what counts as “material support” for terrorist organizations increases this risk.

Protests Erupt Nationwide Against Trump’s Muslim Ban for Second Day: Protests across the United States have taken place at airports and courthouses for the second day since Donald Trump signed an executive order barring individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Judge blocks deportation of detainees over Trump refugee order: US District Court Judge Ann Donnelly has temporarily blocked the Executive Order signed by Donald Trump on Friday restricting entrance to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries. The ban unfairly targets Muslims and has been applied indiscriminately, even affecting those with permanent resident status.

Sixteen state attorneys general vow to fight President Trump’s executive order for travel bans: Attorneys general in sixteen states have said they will fight Trump’s Executive Order unfairly targeting Muslims coming into the United States Many have claimed it is in violation of constitutional protections guaranteeing religious freedom.

Québec mosque shooting: five reportedly killed in gun attack: Breaking story--five killed during evening prayer in an attack carried out by three gunmen.

6 Rules Of Islamophobia In America: In light of recent attacks on Muslims, Huffington Post has launched a “Islamophobia Project” which tracks anti-Muslim violence, vandalism, discrimination, public policy, and political speech during 2016.

How Islam took root in one of South America’s most violent cities: In Buenaventura, one of Colombia’s most violent cities, Islam is becoming popular thanks to a small community of Afro-Colombian Muslims who brought Islam to Buenaventura in the 1960s.

‘I think Islam Hates Us: The New York Times examines President Trump’s plan to “eradicate radical Islamic terrorism” and how it differs from former President Obama’s strategy.

Christian Leaders Denounce Trump’s Plan to Favor Christian Immigrants: The travel ban signed by President Trump gives preference to refugees who belong to a religious minority in their country and have been persecuted for their religion, which essentially means Christian refugees will be more likely to gain entry into the United States over Muslim refugees.

Iranian Academics Scared and Stranded by Trump Travel Ban: Trump’s travel ban has left many Iranian nationals stranded outside the United States, unsure if they will be able to return. Mohsen Kadivar, a Duke professor and Iranian national, shares his experience of being in Berlin at the time the ban was enacted.

In the face of Trump’s Muslim ban, all academics have a responsibility to act: Sari Hanfi writes that scholars bear a responsibility to act through the specific mechanisms available to them such as providing informed public outreach as well as through their teaching and writing.

There Has Never Been an America without Muslims: Amir Hussain writes about the long history of American Muslims and Muslims in America arguing against misconceptions that there has ever been an America devoid of their presence.

Statement on January 27 US Executive Order “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States”: The Board of Directors of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) responds to President Trump’s executive order that bans citizens of certain Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

January 30 - February 5

The Myth of the Muslim Country: Elizabeth Shakman Hurd discusses the faulty logic behind the notion of the “Muslim country,” which further reinforces the notion of “good Christian/bad Muslim” driving discussions in the public sphere about the current situation.

Quebec Has a Long History of Anti-Muslim Violence and Political Rhetoric: Even before last week’s horrific killing of six men at a Quebec city Mosque, violence directed against Muslims has been an open, dirty secret in the province,” says Patrick Lejtenyi.

Islamophobia in Quebec wasn't created overnight: University of Toronto PhD student Sabrien Amrov says “this attack is inherently linked to the broader public debate that has taken place over the last decade in Quebec.”

Sudanese Stanford Ph.D. Student Speaks Out After Being Detained at JFK Under Trump Muslim Ban: Nisrin Elamin, Stanford University PhD student provides a first hand account of her experience with the Muslim ban at San Francisco Airport on her way back from Sudan.

How A Bible Belt Christian Found Herself Working For A Muslim Organization: Kate Chance, Interfaith Coordinator for Islamic Networks Group, shares how she came to work for a Muslim organization.

Suddenly, Muslims are America’s pariahs: Sudanese writer Nesrine Malik reflects on #Muslimban and its impact.

Trump's Travel Ban Is an Attack on Religious Liberty: Noted constitutional law expert Noah Feldman argues the #Muslimban runs contrary to first amendment and provides advice to challenge it.

Diplomats Decry Muslim Ban: More than one hundred State Department employees have said they will sign a memo against the Muslim ban.

MoMA Protests Trump Entry Ban by Rehanging Work by Artists from Muslim Nations: As a reaction to Trump’s entry ban, the Museum of Modern Art rehung works of art by artists from nations whose citizens are banned from coming to America.

Statement of North American scholars of Islam and the Muslim world regarding President Trump’s Executive Order on immigration and refugees: A group of scholars who study Islam and the Muslim world have produced a statement against the ban targeting Muslim-majority countries. The statement calls the ban “offensive” and “demeaning” while reiterating its likely illegal and discriminating nature.

Statement Issued by the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Religion on U.S. Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States": The Board of Directors at the American Academy of Religion (AAR) have stated that the Trump administration’s ban impedes the mission of the AAR, which includes “mutual respect” and “free inquiry” for all who are a part of its organization.

World’s Muslim population more widespread than you might think: Pew Research shows that while many associate the Middle East with Islam and Muslims, the majority of the world’s Muslims (sixty-two percent_ live in the “Asia-Pacific region.”

Trump Pushes Dark View of Islam to Center of US Policy-Making: At the center of the Trump administration lie a group of individuals who harbor discriminatory ideas about Islam and Muslims often reinforced by apocalyptic Christian views and notions of the “West” as a “Judeo-Christian” civilization.

Pointing to Trump, Groups Reject U.S. Aid to Fight Extremism: Groups in the United States who receive monetary support through the Countering Violent Extremism initiative (CVE) have declined funds given by the Department of Homeland Security due to the fact that they see Trump’s ban as “anti-Islamic” and counter-productive.

Cardinal O’Malley stands in solidarity with Muslims over travel ban: Some Boston Muslims gathered at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to meet with Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Massachusetts Governor, and the Boston Mayor to express support for immigrants and show solidarity with the Muslim community.

Muslim Cop Files Lawsuit Over Alleged Threats, Harassment from NYPD Colleagues: NYPD Officer, Daniel Alamrani was continually harassed and assaulted by her NYPD colleagues for wearing hijab and being Muslim. Her case is now before the courts.

Why do so many Americans believe that Islam is a political ideology, not a religion?: Michael Schulson investigates why many believe Islam to be a political ideology in the guise of a religion. The author argues that as pressure rises in the courts concerning Muslims and issues around religious freedom, this discussion will be at the forefront.

Queer Muslim women from the south: 'We exist and we’re fierce': As a part of her “Just Me and Allah: A Queer Muslim Photo Project,” Samra Habib talks to three women in Durham, NC about being queer and Muslim in America under the current administration.

Trump considers executive order to ban Muslim Brotherhood: The Trump administration might seek a follow-up order designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a “terrorist organization.” This is in addition to legislation before Congress seeking to do something similar.

U.S. Muslim school curriculum: English, math and political activism: Muslim students and teachers find way to address the current political climate and the rise of Islamophobia in civics courses in this Boston Muslim school.

February 6 - 12

United Nations reports 'horrors' inflicted on Rohingya in Myanmar's Rakhine state: The United States released a report this week detailing the “horrors” faced by the Rohingya people that are currently living in refugees camps in Bangladesh.

What Trump team has said about Islam: BBC examines what President Trump and his administration have said about Islam during the campaign cycle and since the start of his presidency.

In Italy, Islam doesn’t officially exist. Here’s what Muslims must accept to change that.: Despite being Italy’s second largest religion, Islam is not officially recognized by the state. However the “National Pact for an Italian Islam,” an agreement between Italy’s Interior Ministry and the country’s nine major Islamic associations that requires mosques create a registry of their imams and to require them to preach in Italian, is expecting to pave the way for Islam to be recognized as an official religion.

How Islam Is Gaining A Foothold In Micronesia: Micronesia, a country where United Church of Christ missionaries founded the Marshall Islands’ first Christian church in 1857, has experienced a growing Muslim community since the Baet-Ul-Ahad mosque was built in 2012.

Europe’s fear of Muslim immigration revealed in widespread survey: The Chatham House Royal Institute of International Affairs created a survey to see whether citizens from ten European countries agreed or disagreed with this statement: "all further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped." Out of the ten thousand people polled, an average of fifty-five percent agreed with the statement.

Don’t ‘detonate on patrol': A Muslim cop sues NYPD, claiming colleagues harassed her for years: Danielle Alamrani, a New York police officer, is suing the NYPD over harassment she experienced from coworkers as a Muslim woman.

White House Weighs Terrorist Designation for Muslim Brotherhood: President Trump and his advisors are currently debating on whether to declare the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Labeling the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization will directly affect American relations in the Middle East and North Africa.

This is how the Trump administration could freeze out Muslims in America: Laura Pitter, the senior national security counsel at Human Rights Watch, shares how labeling the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization could affect Muslims in America.

Pope Francis decries atrocities on Rohingya Muslims: Pope Francis spoke out against the atrocities on Rohingya Muslims. He believes they are being targeted “simply because they want to live their culture and their Muslim faith.”

The study of Islam in the US: now what?: Religion professors discuss how the Trump era has changed the way Islam is taught at a college level.

Most refugees who enter the U.S. as religious minorities are Christians: According to a PEW Research poll, thirty-seven percent of all refugees who were admitted into the United States in 2016 were religious minorities in their home countries. Of this group, sixty-one percent were Christians. This report comes as President Trump’s administration has said it will give priority to religious minorities who apply for refugee status in the United States.

Piety, Power, and Politics in Turkey: Foreign Affairs examines the history of the “The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts” exhibit that is currently on display in Washington D.C.

Politicizing Islam: An introduction: Politicizing Islam, a book written by Z. Fareen Parvez, is centered around years of observation of the Muslim communities in Lyon, France and Hyderabad, India.

February 13 - 19

Trump's Muslim Ban and the Challenge of the Left Today: Jamil Khader writes that the problem for the left today is how to link criticisms of political economy with resistance to policies like the Trump administrations “Muslim ban.”

Gender Issues Are a National Problem, Not Just a Muslim Problem: Hadeer Soliman responds to Baroness Cox’s attempt to pass an amendment to existing criminal legislation stating that religious marriages must comply with existing marriage laws in England and Wales.

How Islamic scholarship birthed modern astronomy: Shannon Stirone exams the rich historical landscape of Muslim scholars and scientists who studied and expounded upon Greek science, thus laying the foundation for modern scientific discoveries.

Indonesia's moderate Islam is slowly crumbling: The organization Nahdlatul Ulama in Indonesia is battling growing conservative, majoritarian tendencies amongst some of its followers who want to see the group go in a different direction.

In France, Some Muslims Seek To 'Adapt' Islam To Secular Culture: Tareq Oubrou, an imam in Bordeaux, and Hakim El Karoui, a Muslim writer and business consultant, share how a “French Islam” is possible in one of the most secular countries in the world.

Why Saying ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’ Isn’t Enough: Richard Stengel, former under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs under President Obama, discusses why simply labeling violent extremism “radical Islamic terrorism” will not solve anything.

Americans Express Increasingly Warm Feelings Toward Religious Groups: According to a new PEW Research poll, Americans “generally express more positive feelings toward various religious groups today than they did just a few years ago.”

I Told Steve Bannon: ‘We Are Not At War With Islam.’ He Disagreed.: Flemming Rose, a senior fellow at the CATO Institute, reflects on a conversation about Islam with Steve Bannon, a top political advisor for President Trump.

Studying Religion in the Era of Trump — Scholars’ Roundtable, part 1: Religion and Culture Forum at University of Chicago hosts scholars to discuss different aspect of studying religion during the Trump Administration. Part 1 is by Anthony Petro.

Why are some black Africans considered white Americans?: Activist/educator Hind Makki draws on her own Sudanese American background and experience and discusses the intersection of race and religion in the United States.

Brutal killing that made a Yemeni immigrant hero of US labor movement: Rua’a Alameri writes on a little known aspect of American history.

On Scholars, Politics and the Prophetic Imperative to Truly Spread Peace: Columbia University doctoral student Ebadur Rahman discusses the role and positions of scholars Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah and Hamza Yusuf regarding politics, political Islam, and geopolitics over the last couple of years.

Trump’s Dangerous Delusions About Islam: Christopher de Bellaigue says Trump and his advisers are wrong on Islam and Middle Eastern history.

The Little Syria of Deep Valley: Jia Tolentino explores the long history of Syrian-Americans for the New Yorker.

This group believes Islam threatens America: ‘It’s a spiritual battle of good and evil.’ : An examination of Islamophobic group ACT for the United States and their networks in the White House.

“Crying is an everyday thing”: life after Trump’s “Muslim ban” at a majority-immigrant school: Trump’s Muslim ban sends shockwaves through communities whose lives are at risk due to their visa status in the United States. Children and schools are dramatically affected.

An American Muslim Veteran Reflects on Resisting the Muslim Ban: Usmaan Z. Chaudhry served for four years in the US Air Force and reflects on patriotism, protests, and his sense of shock at what the America he served is becoming.

Why Do So Many Americans Fear Muslims? Decades of Denial About America’s Role in the World: Jon Schwarz offers a realist diagnosis of the contemporary problem with American exceptionalism. Schwarz suggests Americans take a long, hard look at their involvement in foreign countries before despairing about perceived threats of “radical Islam.”

The Mythology of the Sectarian Middle East: Ussama Makdisi discusses the different problems with talking about the Middle East through the lens of sectarianism as a self-evident explanation without recourse to its historical formation.

Egypt’s clerics are resisting the president’s call to renew Islam: Reforming Islam in Egypt: Egypt’s President Sisi has called on al-Azhar scholars to reform the school, but many are resisting despite the fact that they have accommodated Sisi in the past.

Facing harsh political climate, Muslim students seek more support from chaplain: Columbia University’s Muslim Students Association urges the university to join peers and hire a full-time chaplain.

February 20 - 26

Moonlight's Mahershala Ali: anti-Islam prejudice 'not a shock' if you have grown up black: Mahershala Ali discusses the intersections of race and religion in America after the attacks of 11 September 2001, where racism and Islamophobia are both on the rise.

Muslim-American activists raise more than $20,000 in 2 hours to repair vandalized Jewish cemetery: Linda Sarsour and Tarek el-Messidi started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a vandalized Jewish cemetery in St. Louis. The two activists desired to send a message of solidarity in the face of hate and discrimination.

‘Every person deserves to rest in peace': American Muslims raising money to repair vandalized Jewish cemetery: Tarek el-Messidi explains the sense of obligation he felt to help those who were affected by acts of anti-Semitism during the Trump administration.

Trump's revised immigration order expected to renew ban on 7 Muslim-majority countries: The Trump administration has begun drafting a new Executive Order (EO) designed to pick up where the previous EO left off. Despite the legal opposition, the administration continues to assert that these orders fall within powers given to the office of the President.

China orders drivers to fit GPS trackers to their cars so Muslims can be monitored using central computer: China's Xinjiang region has ordered every motorist to install a GPS in their car in an effort to increase surveillance on the Uighurs, a Muslim group the government says is being radicalized by foreign jihadists.

I am a Member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Not a Terrorist: Gehad el-Haddad, the official spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood, shares why the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t a terrorist group, but a “morally conservative, socially aware grass-roots movement that has dedicated its resources to public service for the past nine decades.”

I was a Muslim in Trump’s White House: Rumana Ahmed, former deputy National Security Advisor under President Barack Obama, shares her experience of working for the Trump administration and why she ultimately left.

Muslims Shouldn’t Have To Be ‘Good’ To Be Granted Human Rights: Sara Yasin, a writer for Buzzfeed shares her story of being Muslim in America and discusses the danger of grouping all Muslims together.

Views of Islam and extremism in the U.S. and abroad: According to a PEW Research poll, most Americans think there is little to no support for extremism among American Muslims.

Islamophobia grows louder in North Carolina: 'Can we not kill them all?': A far-right, racist group, Act for America, has met in Kernersville, NC to discuss ways to respond to an imagined threat of “shariah law” in the United States. The group was heard suggesting extermination as a solution among other hateful suggestions.

CAIR calls for FBI investigation of Kernersville talk about killing Muslims: The Council on American-Islamic Relations has urged federal and local officials to respond to the above mentioned Kernersville, NC meeting of Act for America, a group the Southern Poverty Law Center calls an “extremist group.

Will America’s Oldest Muslim Community Survive President Trump?: Muslims in Cedar Rapids, Iowa respond to the changing attitudes towards Islam and Muslims in an increasingly hostile environment in America. Cedar Rapids is one of the oldest Muslim communities in America.

New Atheism's Islam-obsessed rape and rescue fantasy: CJ Werleman diagnosis the attitude of the “New Atheists” and their pathological dislike of religion and Islam, a dislike that links them, much to their chagrin, with conservative, right-wing organizations.

Meet Frank Gaffney, the anti-Muslim gadfly reportedly advising Donald Trump’s transition team: Frank Gaffney, founder of the Center for Security Policy, is reportedly advising the Trump transition team. Gaffney is known for his spurious claims and use of unscientific, skewed data to denigrate Islam and Muslims. 

H.R. McMaster Breaks With Administration on Views of Islam: Trump’s new national security advisor, H.R. McMaster, breaks with his predecessors by insisting on a distinction between Islam and radicalism, eschewing the use of “radical Islamic terrorism” as a useful term. 

February 27 - March 5

‘I just feel blessed’: Mahershala Ali becomes first Muslim actor to win an Oscar: Mahershala Ali, the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar, discusses his spirituality and how he found Islam in his twenties after growing up in a Christian household.

‘Radical Islamic terrorism’: Three words that separate Trump from most of Washington: President Trump, unlike his predecessor, frequently uses the term “radical Islamic terrorism” despite his own national security adviser advising him to avoid using the term.

Middle East regimes are using ‘moderate’ Islam to stay in power: Annelle Sheline argues that many countries, such as UAE and Morocco, use “moderate Islam” to keep political opposition down by labeling anyone who disagrees with their “moderate Islam” as a terrorist.

Liberalising Islam: Indonesian Muslim scholar Ulil Abshar-Abdalla believes that Islam and liberalism can go hand in hand. He says “Islam, like other religions, is not monolithic. There is diversity within itself with many organizations, sects, denominations and groups. It is not a single entity. And there are many interpretations, understandings.”

The Muslims Who Aren’t Celebrating Mahershala Ali’s Oscar Win: Some Pakistanis consider Mahershala Ali’s Oscar win a first for the Ahmadiyya community, not for “Muslims” generally. The Ahmadiyya in Pakistan are considered outside the fold of Islam according to state law, despite their large presence.

Forum: Islam on Trial: Boston Review hosts a forum on the various ways Islam and Muslims have come under intense scrutiny. Responses address the legal procedures, cultural assumptions, and racial profiling that underpins Islamophobia.

When My Daughter Asked ‘Mummy, What’s A Terrorist?’ I Knew I Had To Work On Extremely British Muslims: Fozia Khan, a Muslim filmmaker, details her journey to make a genuine documentary about British Muslims. Her hope is that the film “contributes in some way to a healthier dialogue between non-Muslims and Muslims, and, just as importantly, within and amongst Muslim communities too.”

Tariq Ramadan: ‘Muslims need to reform their minds’: Muslim thinker and theologian, Tariq Ramadan, argues that Muslims must be consistent and recognize that Islam is a part of “secular, Western” society, therefore Muslims must hold themselves and their governments accountable.

Making way for pilgrims: The destruction of Mecca: Development in Mecca has come at the cost of its rich history. Systematic erasure of Mecca’s previous custodians has caused some to stop and wonder what can be done to preserve what is left. 


What exactly are American Muslims apologising for?: Ramzy Baroud writes that Democrats and Republicans have an equally bad record when it comes to dealing with American Muslim concerns. He encourages seeking redress for wrongs rather than validation through claims to “good citizenry.”

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