We should wear hijabs for Donald Trump’s inauguration in support of ‘Muslim sisters’, says US actress

kathy-najimyAn American actress is encouraging women to wear head scarves on Donald Trump‘s inauguration day in a show of solidarity with Muslim women who wear the hijab.

 Kathy Najimy, best known for starring in Sister Act and Disney’s Hocus Pocus, recommended women attending an anti-inauguration march in Washington on Friday wear a scarf around their heads, “hijab style”, as a way of standing with their “about-to-be-disenfranchised Muslim Sisters”.

In a statement posted on Facebook, 59-year-old Ms Najimy wrote: “We wanted to create an action, visible and easy, to proclaim our commitment to freedom of religion and to the constitution — religion or no religion.

The actress insisted that such an act would not mean endorsing any religious doctrine, but “standing for freedom”, adding: “We support every woman’s right to worship as they wish and live in security and peace.

“We are by no means endorsing or aligning with any religious doctrine, but simply standing for freedom.”

Ms Najimy is leading a campaign group called Sisterhood of the Travelling Scarves in the nationwide call ahead of a women’s march on Friday, which is expected to see more than 100,000 people in Washington to protest against Mr Trump’s presidency, viewing it specifically as a “feminist issue”.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE INDEPENDENT 

How the Prophet Muhammad Consistently Rose Above Enmity and Insult

moralityYaqeen Institute for Islamic Research is a research institute which aims to instill conviction and inspire contribution based on mainstream Islamic texts.

 

To Islamophobes, he was a violent man who overcame his foes with terror, and ruled them with cruelty. To over a billion Muslims, he represents the epitome of mercy, and never allowed persecution or oppression to tarnish his exalted character. So which image is more accurate?

Descriptions of Muhammad’s life, military career, and traditions form the foundation for most judgments about his mission. Islam as a whole, through these depictions, is seen as either a religion of peace or a religion of war, depending on which interpretation of the messenger and message is followed. Modern critiques of some of the Prophet’s undertakings are meant to question the civility of Islam in the ongoing manufactured clash of civilizations that fuels both Islamophobes and extremists. Michael Bonner notes, “Many of these modern arguments over historiography, and over the rise of Islam and the origins of jihad more generally, began in the nineteenth and the earlier twentieth centuries among European academic specialists in the study of the East, often referred to as the orientalists.” [1] He goes on to note that the motivation of these arguments cannot be disconnected from “their involvement in the colonial project.”[2] By portraying the Prophet himself as a barbarian, surely his followers cannot but be treated as an inherently violent political body that will employ any means necessary to achieve global domination.

What is uncontroversial is that Muhammad succeeded at wielding unprecedented power after decades of persecution. Michael Hart, who famously considered him the most influential man in history, wrote, “My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular level.” [3] The question of whether or not he sacrificed his principles in the pursuit of that success is one that requires an in depth look at his consistency, or lack thereof, in varied political contexts.

For the first time in any language, researchers at the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research have compiled seventy incidents in which the Prophet Muhammad rose above enmity and insult. The primary goal is to form a foundation for understanding how Muhammad consistently chose mercy when insulted and attacked.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST 

Muslim Man Sends Powerful Message to Persecuted Christians

crosswoodtableas_siWhile stories of Islamic State terrorists destroying lives and cities dominates the headlines, there are a number of Muslims offering hope to their persecuted Christian neighbors.

One of those peaceful Muslims is Marwan, a man from Mosul who decided to build a cross for his Christian neighbors after ISIS pummeled their church to dust.

Jeremy Courtney from Preemptive Love Coalition, an organization that provides humanitarian aid to communities in Iraq, posted a video on Facebook explaining why Marwan did this.

“When Marwan came into this church, he couldn’t accept the fact that these other guys who claimed to be Muslims were rampaging through this place, destroying the signs and icons of his Christian friends, his Christian compatriots, his Christian neighbors. And so, our Muslim friend Marwan helps fashion this cross together,” Courtney says in the video.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CBN

More than 200 at interfaith forum hear update on Islamic Center blaze (Texas)

newsengin-17440728_dyc-islamic-center-03Investigators offered new details Sunday about the investigation of the blaze that leveled the partially constructed Islamic Center of Lake Travis in Hudson Bend last weekend. The fire harmed no one but has left the area’s Muslim community on edge.

The update on the investigation, which authorities described as an around-the-clock affair, came during an afternoon interfaith forum hosted by a nearby church. The event sought to promote greater understanding and dialogue between Christians, Muslims and Jews.

“We’re truly after the truth at the end of the day, regardless of what that truth is; that’s what we owe to you in the community,” Travis County Fire Marshal Tony Callaway said.

The investigation is ongoing, Callaway frequently noted, limiting what he could tell the crowd of more than 200 people at the forum. The official cause of the blaze remains undetermined.

RELATED: Fire destroys partly built Islamic center near Lake Travis

However, Callaway told the audience that his office has sent nearly a dozen pieces of evidence to the lab for testing, is reviewing security tape footage and is interviewing potential witnesses.

FULL ARTICLE FROM MY STATESMAN (AUSTIN, TEXAS) 

What’s Missing in Western Classes About Islam

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There has been much misinformation about Islam. Reports in Western media tend to perpetuate stereotypes that Islam is a violent religion and Muslim women are oppressed.

Popular films like American Sniper reduce places like Iraq to dusty war zones, devoid of any culture or history. Fears and anxiety manifest themselves in Islamophobic actions such as burning mosques or even attacking people physically.

At the heart of such fear is ignorance. A December 2015 poll found that a majority of Americans (52 percent) do not understand Islam. In this same poll, 36 percent also said that they wanted to know more about the religion. Interestingly, those under 30 years were 46 percent more likely to have a favorable view of Islam.

These statistics highlight an opportunity for educators. As a scholar of Islamic art and architecture, I am aware that, for the past 20 years, educators have been trying to improve the teaching of Islam – both in high school and college history courses.

The problem, however, is that the teaching of Islam has been limited to its religious practice. Its impact on the arts and culture, particularly in the United States, is seldom discussed.

What teaching of Islam misses

In high school history books, there is little mention of the intertwined histories of Europe, Asia, and Africa in the middle ages and the Renaissance. There is even less mention of the flowering of art, literature, and architecture during this time.

The biggest divide between African Muslims and Christians isn’t their religion

rtx143iw-e1483956070345In many countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Muslim and Christian communities coexist side by side. But a huge gap exists between them when it comes to educational attainment, with African Christians more than twice as likely to have formal schooling than their Muslim counterparts, a Pew Research Center study shows.

The study, which looked at the number of years of schooling both groups received based on age and gender, showed that 65% of Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa had no formal education—the highest anywhere in the world. By contrast, 30% of Christians in the region had not enrolled or completed any form or level of schooling.

The Pew findings drew on census and survey data from 151 countries—36 from sub-Saharan Africa—and analyzed educational levels among believers of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and the religiously unaffiliated. In 18 out of 27 countries with substantial Christian and Muslim populations in the region, Muslims trailed Christians by at least 10 percentage points. Nine countries had education data on Muslims only (Comoros, Gambia, Niger and Somalia) or Christians only (Cape Verde, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe).

Christianity and Islam are the two dominant religions in sub-Saharan Africa, together accounting for more than 93% of the population. Given the dropping child mortality and high fertility rates in the region, much of the worldwide growth of Islam and Christianity is expected to take place there in the coming decades. By 2050, for instance, four out of every 10 Christians in the world will live in sub-Saharan Africa.

FULL ARTICLE FROM QUARTZ 

Meeting Islam in Interfaith Friendships

amazon-christmas-1024x768In 1993 my husband George Dardess began visiting our local Islamic Center: first to learn Arabic so that he could read the Qur’an, then cementing friendships with his teacher there and with the imam. So when the events of September 11, 2001 hit, George was in a position to join with members of the Center in presenting programs on Islam to the public.

Our Islamic Center’s brave response to 9/11 was to open itself to the larger community—to invite Christians and others to learn about Islam, to observe the communal prayers, to ask questions. At the programs George, as a Christian, would dialogue with a Muslim on a topic like Jesus in the Qur’an, or Mary in the Qur’an, or the real meaning of jihad.

I accompanied George to the programs, which were often preceded by a potluck dinner, and it’s there that I met my first Muslim friend, Yasmin.

Yasmin would sit with me to introduce her friends. In the mosque’s small dining area (exactly like a church basement where dinners are held), the men and women sat at different tables. Though I’m a feminist, I actually enjoyed this segregation. We women could talk about juggling jobs and kids, or about the best public schools, or where to buy shoes.

Yasmin, an immigrant from Bangladesh, was then teaching chemistry at our local university. Her husband, also Bangladeshi, was an engineer. I was struck by Yasmin’s beautiful flowing clothes, her hijab always matching them. Later I learned that she made all her clothes.

Soon Yasmin left teaching to open a dress shop selling clothes she had made—in both Western and Muslim styles. Of course I went there one day to shop. What a surprise when she opened the door—and there she was hijab-less, her long hair lovely on her shoulders! That’s how I learned that Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab don’t wear it at home with their own family or when they’re just with other women.

Yasmin told me that she’d only recently decided to wear a hijab in public. “It’s for modesty,” she said, “and also to celebrate my Muslim identity.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM PATHEOS.COM