[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.]
Biden ended travel ban on Muslim-majority nations. But separated families remain in limbo(10 February 2021)
Although Biden’s move of ending the travel ban on Muslim-majority nations provided a sense of relief to many separated by the policy, experts say that it did not automatically open the gates to new immigrants or visitors hoping for visas, leaving many families anxious and “in limbo”.
French National Assembly Backs Law to Combat Islamist Extremism (16 February 2021)
The bill faced hundreds of amendments but passed comfortably, despite opposition from left and right. It now goes to the Senate for final approval.
Why a Muslim reporter in India has spent nearly 150 days in jail (2 March 2021)
As police probe Siddique Kappan’s alleged link with controversial Muslim group, family and colleagues say arrest part of a larger media crackdown.
India: BJP’s rise in former communist bastion has Muslims worried (26 February 2021)
India’s West Bengal state has seen rising Hindu nationalism, prompting concerns among Muslims.
Countering ‘love jihad’ by celebrating India’s interfaith couples (10 February 2021)
Last week marked the 100th day of a campaign called India Love Project, started by former journalists, that celebrates interfaith love or marriages.
Is Indonesia’s alcohol bill an appropriate public health measure? (3 March 2021)
The Indonesian House of Representatives plans to draft a bill that will criminalise the activities of producing, selling and buying, distributing, drinking and storing alcoholic beverages.
How did NASA’s Martian rover come to land in a crater named after a tiny Balkan village? (23 February 2021)
Dean of Arts at the University of Auckland, Robert Greenberg, asks if it was politically advisable for one village in the Serb-dominated entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina to be singled out. He discusses how, for many, this part of the country is still associated with the nationalism and ethnic cleansing of the Bosnian war in the 1990s, and further questions how the members of other communities in the country — Bosniaks (the country’s Muslim population) and Croats — would respond?
America’s Forever Wars Have Come Back Home (3 March 2021)
Professor of International Relations at Harvard University, Stephen M. Walt writes about how he believes it’s no coincidence that, after years of fighting abroad, the United States is beset with paranoia, loss of trust, and increasingly bitter divisions.
Women, Gender & Sexuality
They Built Libraries to Honor Loved Ones, Women Felled by Bombings (21 February 2021)
As negotiations push forward, it is unclear whether Afghanistan can achieve peace with the Taliban while preserving gains made on women’s rights and education.
Faith, culture and mental health: Meet the young Muslim women raising each other up through the art of conversation (11 February 2021)
Hanaa was 20 years old, and studying Medicine at university, when her anxiety became unbearable. In a one-off documentary for BBC One, Nadiya: Anxiety and Me, Nadiya Hussain met with Hanaa to learn all about it and to share her own experiences of anxiety.
LGBT + History Month with BBC Radio Manchester (22 February 2021)
Mike chats to Richard, a gay Muslim man who explains how he came out to his parents and finds out about the new Netflix series, Behind Her Eyes, from author Sarah Pinborough.
Silver savings: of bracelets, banks and ladies who mean business (24 February 2021)
Sigrid van Roode, a jewellery historian and archaeologist specialising in personal adornment from North Africa and Southwest Asia, writes about the significant role jewellery has played for women in these regions, besides simply adornment.
LGBTQ+ spaces face a new threat from the pandemic – here’s how they can adapt (24 February 2021)
The pandemic has demanded further adaptations to LGBTQ+ spaces. Thousands have come together for queer online parties as well as more intimate digital gatherings for people who live under multiple identities (such as LGBTQ+ people who are Muslim).
Why we did it: the Kenyan women and girls who joined Al-Shabaab (21 February 2021)
The direct involvement of women and girls in terrorism has attracted increased interest as the nature of recruitment tactics has evolved. In Kenya, their involvement in terrorist networks, such as the Al-Shabaab, is an emerging trend.
BBC to 'reflect on' controversial Woman's Hour interview with Muslim leader(19 February 2021)
The BBC has promised to "reflect on" the concerns raised after Women’s Hour host Emma Barnett's interview with the first woman to lead the Muslim Council of Britain, though the organisation added that Barnett had asked about “legitimate issues”.
Chinese study reveals Uighur 'assimilation' goal (3 March 2021)
A Chinese report accidentally posted online has revealed policies in the western region of Xinjiang designed to assimilate Muslim Uighurs and other minorities.
China’s Crackdown on Muslims Extends to a Resort Island (14 February 2021)
The Utsuls of Hainan island were once celebrated by the government for their links to the larger Muslim world. Not anymore.
India is now only 'partly free' under Modi, says report (3 March 2021)
India's status as a free country has changed to "partly free", according to an annual report on global political rights and liberties. The report says that since 2014, increased pressure on human rights organisations, journalists and activists, and a spate of attacks, especially those against Muslims, had led to a deterioration of political and civil liberties in the country.
Financial Times investigating complaint over Macron's claims about French Muslims (3 March 2021)
The FT is examining the accuracy of Macron's published letter, in which he said young girls were wearing the veil and being separated from boys.
Austria: Outrage after authorities target academic as part of 'terrorism' crackdown (2 March 2021)
Farid Hafez's house was raided at gunpoint in wake of the Vienna terror attack as he was also accused of supporting the removal of Egypt's Sisi.
France: 'Islamo-leftism' debate shows just how low Macron's regime can go (22 February 2021)
French-Egyptian author and statistician, Marwan Muhammad, writes about Frederique Vidal, the minister of higher education, faces backlash after claiming that 'Islamo-leftism' has become a scourge on society.
BBC vs Zara Mohammed: An exercise in Islamophobia (10 February 2021)
Dr. Fatima Rajina writes an opinion piece on the Muslim Council of Britain’s recently elected first female secretary general and the BBC's “aggressive line of questioning reinforceing Islamophobic stereotypes”.
How the Netherlands is curbing the civil liberties of its Muslim population (9 February 2021)
Activist and former president of the National Union of Students in the UK, Malia Bouattia, writes an opinion piece on the Dutch parliament’s decision that mosques will face further monitoring over 'foreign influence', as political parties jostle for the far-right vote.
‘It’s so unfair’: life on the streets of the French town branded as ‘lost to Islam’(21 February 2021)
Ali Rabeh, the mayor of a Paris suburb which was labelled an extremist centre says stoking division will not help his town.
Swiss Muslims denounce ‘burqa ban’ proposal as referendum nears (2 March 2021)
Only a few women are understood to wear facial coverings in Switzerland, where a controversial vote will take place on March 7.
Religious Thought & Practice
Pakistani court grants bail to Christian in blasphemy case(2 March 2021)
A Pakistani court has granted bail to a Christian man convicted in 2018 while still a teenager of insulting Islam by posting a picture of Islam’s holiest site on social media.
Cape Town: Pictures of how Muslim worship helps quell South African ganglands (2 March 2021)
A team of Islamic scholars in South Africa has been on a mission for the past three years to bring peace to Manenberg and other areas of Cape Town with gang and drug problems.
Leicestershire Police test New Zealand hijab in 'country first' (27 February 2021)
An operational hijab introduced by New Zealand Police to encourage more Muslim women to join is being trialled in England for the first time. The head covering, which can be worn with police headgear and equipment, was created after 16 months of research.
Covid-19: Saudi Arabia says vaccine is a must for Hajj(2 March 2021)
It is still unclear if Riyadh will allow people to travel to the kingdom for the annual pilgrimage this July.
Indonesia bans mandatory religious attire in state schools (5 February 2021)
Activists lauded the Indonesian government’s decision after outcry over non-Muslim students being forced to wear a hijab.
A critical look at what’s missing from Muslim education in South Africa (22 February 2021)
This article states that there’s a concern among scholars that Muslim schooling and education in South Africa has remained unchanged in its ideas and the way it’s taught. The worry is that Muslim schools and communities may be too isolated and may not adequately prepare its learners or its teachers for the demands of a pluralist and diverse society.
Muslims in America: A forgotten history (10 February 2021)
For more than 300 years, Muslims have influenced the story of the US – from the ‘founding fathers’ to blues music today.
Covid-19: Sri Lanka reverses 'anti-Muslim' cremation order (28 February 2021)
Sri Lanka has reversed a controversial mandatory order to cremate the bodies of all those who died of Covid-19. Critics had said the order was intended to target minorities and did not respect religions. The cremation of bodies is forbidden in Islam.
In Naples, Muslim families struggle to bury coronavirus victims (17 February 2021)
Naples does not have a Muslim cemetery, and with lockdown travel restrictions, transporting bodies has become even more challenging.
Culture & Art
A Pakistani-American Tale Upends Expectations Onscreen and in Life (16 February 2021)
Iram Parveen Bilal’s “I’ll Meet You There” depicts a parent who supports his daughter’s dream. The filmmaker’s own parents weren’t as sure about her passion.
Four Debut Novels Follow Strivers and Survivors (2 March 2021)
‘The Bad Muslim Discount’ features in this New York Times shortlist. Syed Masood’s novel presents a stereoscopic, three-dimensional view of contemporary Muslim America: the way historical conflict in the Middle East lingers in individual lives, the way gossip travels in a close-knit immigrant community.
The horror of Srebrenica: How Quo Vadis, Aida? bears witness to genocide (3 March 2021)
Joseph Fahim reviews Jasmila Zbanic's Oscar-nominated film, describing it as a deeply moving and articulate plea for recognition of the mass murder of Bosnian Muslims by Serb forces in 1995
What the mythical figure of Şahmeran in Turkey represents and why activists use it (1 March 2021)
The figure of Şahmeran goes back to pre-Islamic times. Depicted with the face of a beautiful woman wearing a crown in the upper half of her body and the form of a serpent from the waist down, she is at the heart of numerous folk tales. In more recent years, mythical figures such as Şahmeran have been used by activists in the Middle East to raise their voices on several issues.
6 Artworks being auctioned at Christie’s Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds sale(2 March 2021)
Take a look at the bowls, carpets and more up for auction at Christie’s next sale of the Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds, set to take place on April 1.
Jordanian podcast firm’s new show covers ‘lost’ story of African Muslim slave (23 February 2021)
The second season one of Sowt Podcast’s latest shows, ‘Manbet’, was released in February. It tells the story of enslaved African Muslim Omar ibn Said over four episodes, and is based on his autobiographical manuscript written in Arabic in 1831, but lost until the 1990s.
Bestselling new book tells story of Europe’s forgotten Muslims (19 February 2021)
Christopher Hamill-Stewart writes about the book “Minarets in the Mountains”, and how it traces the roots of Europe’s little-known native Muslim populations, and in telling their story cuts to the heart of what it means to be a European and a Muslim in the 21st century.
How Was Latin American Architecture Inspired by Islam? (25 February 2021)
Back in 2018, an exhibition in Jordan titled ‘Alhambras: Neo-Arabic Architecture in Latin America’ highlighted how Latin American architecture was inspired by the Alhambra Palace in Granada and other Andalusian styles in various buildings that were erected during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This piece discusses the fascinating connection between Islamic architectural influence and Latin America.
Watch: Things you’ll know if you’re a Muslim wrestler (16 February 2021)
Muslim wrestlers get real about how their faith plays a role in their love of Olympic and professional wrestling.
Puck dreams: Iran's women hockey stars plan to make their mark on ice (11 February 2021)
The national inline hockey squad defied expectations with a bronze medal at the 2018 Asian Roller Sports Championship in South Korea. Now they want to replicate that success in ice hockey.