American Muslims, from fear to pluralism.

by Safi Kaskas, The World Council of Muslim Communities When America woke up on the morning after 9/11/2001 it was more religiously and ethnically diverse than ever before. The wave of immigration in the first half of the twentieth century made the United States a microcosm of the world. This new diversity had important religious implications, as new communities of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, and others put down roots in America. Some Americans, saw this diversity as true strength. Others were, and continue to be, threatened by it and are arguing once again for immigration restrictions. The issues of immigration and identity have once again risen to the top of the American political and social agenda and it is very divisive. In 2005, more people from Muslim-ma...

Reflections And Lessons From The New Zealand Christchurch Mosque Attacks

by Yousuf Ali Those of us in the United States on the night of Thursday, March 14 went to bed with some very tragic news which only got worse when we woke up. Two mosques in New Zealand were attacked in an apparent Islamophobic and white supremacist attack on Friday prayers in New Zealand. By the next morning, 49 people were killed, and several days later we still haven’t verified the total number and all of their nationalities and identities. Needless to say, this was a very busy and trying time for Muslims worldwide with many including myself performing salat al janazah al-ghaib (the funeral prayer in absentia) after Friday Prayers. In response, there has been a considerable discussion amongst Muslims about how to defend themselves against such incidents in th...

The world’s largest Islamic group wants Muslims to stop saying ‘infidel’

By Patrick Winn, PRI's The World. The largest Islamic organization on the planet has a request for all Muslims. Quit calling people kafir, an Arabic word for infidels or nonbelievers. This proclamation was issued by Nahdlatul Ulama or NU, an Indonesian collective claiming more than 90 million adherents — from clerics and politicians to shopkeepers and farmers. One of the group’s core tenets is promoting a more tolerant brand of Sunni Islam. Its leaders aim to uphold a secular state. They preach coexistence with Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Shia Muslims. And the word kafir, NU says, undermines that mission with "theological violence." “When someone calls you a kafir, that means you’re considered someone who is godless,” said Alex Arifianto, an Indone...

Meet Sadaf Jaffer, America’s first female Muslim mayor

​by Simran Jeet Singh, Religion News Service Last month, Sadaf Jaffer was sworn in as mayor of Montgomery Township, N.J., a bucolic, if rapidly growing, municipality of about 25,000 just north of Princeton. In that moment, Jaffer became the country’s first female Muslim mayor, first female Pakistani-American mayor and first female South Asian-American mayor. She might also be the first American mayor with a doctorate from Harvard who specializes in Islam, gender studies and South Asian history. Mayor Jaffer also serves as a postdoctoral research associate in South Asian studies at Princeton University, where she teaches courses on South Asian, Islamic and Asian-American studies. I had the opportunity to speak with Jaffer about her journey, including what it ...

Muslim women win office but still loosing at mosques.

by Shireen Qudosi, Clarion Project. Even though Muslim women are winning political offices, they are still losing at mosques as they continue to face alienation in the theological sphere. They still face restrictions within their own community that limits their engagement, including entering mosques through side entrances and sitting behind a partitions or walls with unequal accommodations and access to speakers and the collective conversation. On Tuesday, November 6, 2018, Rashida Tlaib, Illhan Omar, Hodan Hassan and Safiya Wazir all won their bids for office during the 2018 U.S. midterms. However, despite their achievements they still face a stunning misogynistic patriarchal barrier at home. “Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar will be seated behind a wall, separated from the men in ...

On American Muslim Progressivism and Identity Politics

by Mobeen, Occasional Reflections The public square today is suffused with identity politics, and as it turns out, the American Muslim community is not immune to its allure. Recently, a number of commentators have commented on the midterm election as an indication of Muslim identity belonging. These commentators have argued that seeing Muslims successfully achieving electoral victories serves to facilitate social integration and affirm a belonging that political failure, alienation, and indifference would not. Although the intent of these arguments is laudable insofar as they attempt to shed light on American Muslim belonging, the language and underlying concepts invoked in this rendering of affairs bears significant implications for how Muslims conceive of themselves ...

After historic midterm election wins, Muslims struggle a little less with their American identity

by Imam Omar Suleiman, Opinion contributor, USA Today Muslims watched the midterm elections with a new sense of belonging. Finally, we don't have to choose between our American and Muslim identities. “Assalamu Alaikum”, meaning "peace be unto you”, is how I start my greetings and sermons. It’s also how Congresswoman-elect Ilhan Omar started her victory speech. The Quran is the sacred scripture that I recite in my prayer. It’s also the book that the first two Muslim women to ever be elected to the United States Congress will likely use to take the oath of office. Muhammad is the name of the prophet of Islam. It’s also the name of Mujtaba Mohammed, who was newly elected to the North Carolina State Senate. Palestine is where my parents came from before I wa...

Who gets to define American Muslim identity?

by Eboo Patel, Christian Century. The various groups that were drawn (or in some cases, dragged) to the United States have themselves been made up of a variety of smaller identity groups: Italian Catholics and Irish Catholics; Polish Jews and German Jews; Latinos from Guatemala and Latinos from Brazil. If, to paraphrase Walt Whitman, the poetical nature of the United States is determined by the dynamics of engagement between those identity communities, then there is also American poetry to be drawn from such dynamics within those communities. No nation has a Muslim community that is more ethnically, racially, or theologically diverse than the United States. For many years, these various Muslim groups created separate spaces, such as mosques, schools, and community ce...

​Impact of Islamic philosophers on western philosophy is ‘huge’ ​

​by Jalal Heirannia, Mehran News​ ​“As the various translation projects got underway in Spain and in Southern Europe, it became obvious that Christian as well as Jewish philosophy had much to gain and to question by the enormous sophistication of Islamic philosophy,” Taliaferro tells the Tehran Times. Following is the text of the interview with Professor Taliaferro: How much do western scholars know Islamic philosophy and philosophers? If answer is little, why? Western scholars of the history of ideas would have to be knowledgeable about some of the great Islamic philosophers, including Avicenna or, in Arabic, Ibn Sina, Averoes or Ibn Rushd, Al-Farabi, Al-Ghazali, and probably Al-Kindi and Suhrawardi. There were massive translation p...

African slaves were the first to celebrate Ramadan in America.

by Khaled A. Beydoun, Root. This past weekend marked the beginning of Ramadan. Nearly one-fourth of the world will observe the annual fast and 8 million Muslims in America will abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset during the holy month. A grueling task at any time of the year, Ramadan this year will be especially daunting during the long and hot summer days. Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the nation, and the second-most-practiced faith in 20 of these united states. And these demographic shifts prompted a prominent Los Angeles-based imam to comment recently that "Ramadan is a new American tradition." The cleric's forward-looking pronouncement marks Islam's recent arrival in the U.S. But this statement reveals a pathology afflic...

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