[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.]
“Placing Palestine back at the Center of Muslim Discourse in the West” Middle East Eye (1 May 2020)
This article sheds light on the systematic and centralised attempts at breaking down American Muslim society post 9/11. The author argues that the various consequences of 9/11 have emasculated Muslim discourse in Western countries, especially in the United States.
“Taliban reaches out to Shias” The Hindu (9 May 2020)
The Taliban seems to be attempting to gain all the legitimacy it can in Afghanistan ahead of intra-Afghan peace talks. Now, it is asking shias to join the fight against ‘the invaders’.
“After coronavirus, black and brown people must be at the heart of Britain's story” The Guardian (7 May 2020)
An opinion piece covering the key role of Britain's ethnic minority communities in the fight against COVID-19, as countless doctors and nurses have given their lives working to protect the country’s vulnerable population.
“A Place for Marxism in Traditionalist Fiqh: Engaging the Indonesian Thinker Muhammad Al-Fayyadl” The Maydan (19 May 2020)
Analysing the popular writings of Muammad Al-Fayyadl, a leading contemporary intellectual of the Islamic Left in Indonesia, this article focuses on Al-Fayyadl’s project of “progressive” Marxist analysis from within the discursive framework of Indonesia’s tradition of Shafi’i fiqh.
“Conversation with Dr. Basma Abdelgafar” Algoritam (15 May 2020)
This interview with Dr. Basma Abdelgafar expounds upon her work on public policy in Islam. Focusing on her recently published book, “Public Policy: Beyond Traditional Jurisprudence: A Maqasid Approach,” the interview focuses on Dr. Abdelgafar’s research methodology, maqasid al-shariah.
“China is spying on Uighur Muslims in the UK” Vice (15 May 2020)
Uighur Muslims in China face widespread persecution across the country and have done for quite some time now. But recently even those living in the UK have said they are being spied on by the Chinese authorities.
“Outside Egypt, Critics Speak Freely. Inside, Families Pay the Price” The New York Times (14 May 2020)
Egyptian officials have jailed the relatives of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s loudest critics in exile. This article covers his latest attempt at silencing all opposition.
“Arabs boycott Facebook after Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer Tawakkol Karman joins content board” Arab News (12 May 2020)
Many have began to question Facebook’s judgement as it brings Tawakkol Karman on to its content Oversight Board, claiming that Muslim Brotherhood ideas may be bought over into the heart of the biggest social networking platform in the world.
“US puts up $3 million bounty for IS propagandist” Al Monitor (28 May 2020)
The United States has said it will offer up to $3 million for the arrest of a senior leader of the Islamic State movement who has overseen the extremists' brutal execution videos.
“Is Hamas becoming a second power in ruling Palestinians?” Al Monitor (29 May 2020)
Hamas is destroying houses in the Gaza Strip, as it considers them illegally built on government territories, while its understandings with Israel are ongoing despite Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ announcement about halting all agreements with Israel.
“أبو حامد: عناصر الإخوان نجحت فى تغلغل إدارة مواقع التواصل بالخارج” Youm7 (29 May 2020)
Mohamad Abu Hamed, a senior official from the House of Representatives in Egypt recently claimed people connected to or part of the Muslim Brotherhood have taken up position in management of certain social media sites outside of Egypt. Abu Hamed also suggested those ‘Brotherhood affiliates’ are using these sites to promote content favourable to the Muslim Brotherhood.
“FBI phone probe links al Qaeda to Saudi who killed 3 at Florida base, Barr says” Reuters (18 May 2020)
The FBI have supposedly cracked the phone encryption of the Royal Saudi Air Force trainee who killed three American sailors in an attack in Florida, and found evidence linking him to al Qaeda.
“U.S. envoy to press Taliban, Afghan officials on peace talks” Reuters (18 May 2020)
A senior U.S. envoy went to Qatar and Afghanistan to press Taliban and Afghan government officials to open peace talks that the U.S. hopes will allow it to withdraw from Afghanistan.
“U.S. says Islamic State conducted attack on Kabul hospital” Reuters (15 May 2020)
The United States blamed Islamic State militants — not the Taliban —for a gruesome hospital attack in Afghanistan earlier this month.
“Islamic scholars, NGOs call for Makkah, Madinah to be placed under international control” Middle East Monitor (28 May 2020)
The International Commission to Monitor Saudi Administration of the Two Holy Mosques, a non-governmental organization (NGO), has launched a campaign and petition to establish an international administration to manage the affairs of the two holy mosques of Mecca and Madina. According to this NGO, the Saudi kingdom has failed to protect the unequivocal rights of Muslims’ access to the holy sites.
(VIDEO) “Will there ever be direct talks between Afghan gov't and Taliban?” Al Jazeera (13 May 2020)
An episode of Inside Story with Popal Habibi, Sultan Barakat and Kate Clark discussing whether the prospect of direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban has been dampened in the wake of deadly attacks in Kabul.
“COVID-19 restricts Africa's Ramadan routine” DW (8 May 2020)
How Muslims across Africa have been restricted to their homes and forced by Covid-19 to change their routines during the holy month of Ramadan, amid country-wide lockdowns and curfews.
“To Halt COVID Spread, Senegal Launches Bread Delivery During Ramadan” VOA News (9 May 2020)
To reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading across the country, Senegal’s authorities decided to take new measures. It is launching a bread delivery programme for its people - many of whom are Muslims who would usually rush to the bakeries in the holy month of Ramadan.
“In Jerusalem, Ramadan Restrictions Last Seen During the Crusades Return” The New York Times (15 May 2020)
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, restricted entry into the Aqsa Mosque compound has radically transformed the way in which Muslims in Palestine experience Ramadan. Such restrictions placed on the compound are similar to those during the 12th century when Jerusalem was under the control of the crusaders.
“Long before face masks, Islamic healers tried to ward off disease with their version of PPE” The Conversation (20 May 2020)
Detailing several items of medieval Islamic PPEs, such as talismanic shirts,scrolls and healing water, this article elaborates upon how medieval Muslims utilised such objects to ward off the diseases and plague.
“COVID-19 changed everything': Ramadan for IDPs in Burkina Faso” Al Jazeera (3 May 2020)
As the global coronavirus pandemic disrupts supply chains, thousands who have been displaced by war find themselves struggling with lack of food during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Arts and Culture
“Ramadan as a subject: How the Islamic holy month has been reflected in arts and literature” Daily Sabah (5 May 2020)
Through a series of European travel accounts, paintings and poetry, this article focuses on how the month of Ramadan has been portrayed as both a subject and source of art.
“Muslim Food Culture” Oxford Research Encyclopedias (April 2020)
The anthropology of Muslim food offers an alternative lens to explore the ways in which religion, economy, technology and everyday life intersect. Focusing on the rise of the hala certification industry and the increasing spectacles of food consumption during Ramadan, this article offers new insights into the linkages between food and religion amidst varying economic, social and political contexts.
“Halal Food Rising in Popularity amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Reports Indicate” The Jakarta Post (8 May 2020)
This article reports that halal food is rising in popularity in Indonesia as people are turning to religious practices for comfort during the present global pandemic.
“How a 10th-century Muslim surgeon revolutionised surgical procedures” TRT World (5 May 2020)
A profile of the life and times of the father of operative surgery - Abu al Qasim al Zahrawi - including his origins, achievements and great contributions to the world of science.
“The Uyghur Diaspora: ‘Anything We Do to Keep Our Culture Alive Is a Form of Resistance…’” Amaliah.com (7 May 2020)
A moving profile of four people fighting to keep Uyghur culture alive through food, fashion and discussions, while also working to raise awareness of the situation that thousands of Uyghurs find themselves in, stuck in concentration camps in China.
“Her Voice Wasn’t ‘Awrah: Meet Sheikha Mounira Abdou, Egypt’s First Radio Quran Reciter” Scene Arabia (11 May 2020)
This article traces the rise and fall of Sheikah Munira Abdou, Egypt’s first radio Qur’an reciter. Through the profile of the most famous female Qur’an reciter, this article touches upon gender inequality in 20th-century Egypt.
“Ramadan TV: Seven things we learned from the 2020 shows” Middle East Eye (26 May 2020)
An insightful review into the range of TV series showcased over the past Islamic holy month, Ramadan, the disguised government propaganda and budding industry gems.
Religious Thought and Practice
“‘The simplest things opened my eyes to Islam’: Writer shares experience of being Spanish Muslim woman” Arab News (9 May 2020)
A recent Muslim convert, Spanish writer Amanda Figueras recounts her journey towards embracing Islam.
“A global look inside a Ramadan dampened by Coronavirus” National Geographic (Published 8 May 2020)
This photo-essay explores how COVID-19 has altered the usual Ramadan festivities.
“The Tensions Underlying Pakistan’s Ramadan Decision” The Atlantic (7 May 2020)
Pakistan’s decision to exempt Ramadan congregations from its nation-wide lockdown is potentially disastrous for the country’s overburdened healthcare system. At its core, such a governmental decision exposes a fundamental tension that many people, regardless of faith are feeling.
“How to Observe Fasting in Arctic North” Daily Sabah (6 May 2020)
The burgeoning Islamic community in Northern Europe and countries close to the Arctic line such as Norway, Finland and Iceland face a unique challenge regarding fasting: the fact that the sun does not set.
“Shia clerics insist on bringing out processions” Dawn (9 May 2020)
Several Shia groups have announced that they will be bringing out processions to commemorate the martyrdom of Ali, despite the coronavirus situation persisting across the country.
“Amid the coronavirus, bailing out mosques is essential” Al Jazeera (10 May 2020)
A piece discussing the important role mosques play in providing key community services, which some need now more than ever.
“In Pictures: Eid al-Fitr in the time of coronavirus” Al Jazeera (24 May 2020)
A colourful photo gallery covering Eid celebrations from Muslim communities from Australia to the Ivory Coast and beyond, as millions around the world mark the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan under lockdown.
Gender and Sexuality
“Coronavirus restrictions on mosques bring women to the fore” Religion News (18 May 2020)
As services have increasingly gone virtual, mosques are regularly inviting women to offer religious lectures to mixed-gender congregations. This article posits that Shelter-in-Place may be giving American Muslims a chance to reshape community spaces.
“Saints, scholars and queens: The Women who Helped Forge Islam” Middle East Eye (20 May 2020)
In Hossein Kamaly’s new book A History of Islam in 21 Women, profiles of powerful female figures from Central Asia to the Middle East, India and Indonesia resurrect a history of female leadership within the narrative of Islam.
“How Indonesia Can Address the Growing Number of Female Extremists” The Diplomat (28 May 2020)
This article notes that there is a relationship between the rise of female participation in terrorist activities in Indonesia and the weak application of gender-based local Preventing and Countering Violence Extremism (PCVE) policies and initiatives.
“It's a man's world: carnal spectatorship and dissonant masculinities in Islamic State videos” Chatham House (7 May 2020)
Examining a few Islamic State videos in depth, the article suggests that the invisibilityof women in tandem with the ostentatious visibility of male bodies enable genderedand embodied spectators to indulge in homoerotic as well as heterosexual imaginaries.
“Saudi propaganda is demonising Islam and the Palestinian cause” Middle East Eye (29 May 2020)
An opinion piece discussing how the Saudi government’s efforts to control the narrative may have destroyed the state's legitimacy, both politically and morally.
“Islamophobia heard loud and clear in Canada's adhan controversy” Middle East Eye (8 May 2020)
Despite the Islamaphobic backlash regarding the exemption of mosques from noise bylaws during Ramadan, several Canadian cities have admonished such hatred and have agreed to exempt mosques from noise bylaws.
“Sri Lanka: Muslims Face Extra Threat as Coronavirus Stirs Hate” Al-Jazeera (11 May 2020)
Sri Lanka’s recent ban on burials and compulsory cremation for COVID-19 victims is believed to be a part of the government’s agenda to discriminate against its Muslim minority.
“Why Arabs are Speaking out Against Islamophobia in India” Al-Jazeera (30th May 2020)
The rising tide of Islamophobia from within India and amongst right-wing Hindus working in Gulf countries has led to escalating diplomatic tensions between India and the Gulf.
“From celebration to crisis: The Austrian chancellor of exclusion” Daily Sabah (Published 6 May 2020)
An op-ed covering Austria’s Sebastian Kurz, once the country’s secretary of integration affairs then chancellor, and how he has addressed Austria’s Muslim population over the years and throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“His Dictionaries Taught Chinese To The Uyghur World. Then He Was Taken Away” SupChina (6 May 2020)
Hüsenjan was a leading translator employed by the Chinese state — and member of the Chinese Communist Party — tasked with creating dictionaries for the Uyghur language. His work couldn’t save him in the face of China’s harsh treatment of its Uyghur population.
“New USAID adviser sparks furor over past anti-Islam comments” ABC News (29 May 2020)
Several American Muslim groups are calling for the dismissal of Mark Kevin Lloyd, the newly appointed religious advisor for the U.S Agency for International Development because of his past online posts that disparage Islam.
“Factsheet: No-Go Zone Conspiracy Theory” The Bridge Initiative (22 May 2020)
The “no-go zone” is an anti-Muslim conspiracy theory which claims that certain areas in the United States and Europe are densely populated with Muslims and governed by Sharia law. This factsheet, compiled by The Bridge Initiative, debunks several “examples” of this conspiracy theory.