Muslim Nations Plan Stock Index to Spur Trade

The organization representing the world’s biggest grouping of Muslim majority nations is seeking to attract more overseas investment by offering the first Shariah compliant stock index from its 57 members.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference based in Jeddah hired Standard & Poor’s to start an index of about 50 of the most traded stocks in the first quarter of 2011, Huseyin Erkan, the Istanbul Stock Exchange’s chief executive officer and coordinator of the initiative, said on November 8.



Reno, Nevada observes Thanksgiving with Christian-Muslim-Hindu-Buddhist-Jewish-Baha’i prayers

In a remarkable interfaith gesture, Nevada (USA) celebrated its 25th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Service on November 24 evening at Trinity Episcopal Church in Reno with various religions/denominations coming together to pray.

Christian (various denominations), Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and Baha’i prayers and other readings were held on the occasion giving thanks to God. Participants included Episcopal rector Stefani Schatz, Buddhist priest William Bartlett, Jewish rabbi Myra Soifer, Roman Catholic readers Joe Bell and Rocio Grady, United Methodist pastor Judith Bitter, Muslim imam Abdulrahim Barghouthi, Hindu leader Rajan Zed, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints elder Nicholas Frey, Baha’i elder Roya Galata, Robert Petrovich of International Community of Christ.


The Struggle to Contain Home-grown Islamic Radicalism in the US

Jasmin Ullah sits on her bed in her room at home in northern Virginia and tucks her feet underneath her as she starts to describe what it is like to be a 17-year-old, headscarf-wearing Muslim in the United States.

“People expect me to be quiet because I wear the hijab,” she says, and then confesses with a loud laugh that she is anything but quiet.

Jasmin, one of five children in the Ullah family, was born in the US a few years after her parents emigrated from Bangladesh.

Articulate and vivacious, her tone becomes more serious as she describes being tripped up in the corridors at school or being called “towel head” by fellow students.


An American Face of Islam

By Jane O’Brien    BBC News, Washington

“We were expecting a backlash around the anniversary of 9/11 – but this year it’s been enormous,” says Sarah Thompson, communications director of the Indiana-based Islamic Society of North America.

“The proposed Koran burnings in Florida, the controversy over the planned Islamic Centre near Ground Zero and the arson attack on the mosque in Tennessee have made the situation critical. Creating a positive image of Islam has to become our priority.”

But finding a unified voice and a clear identity is hard because of the diversity within the Muslim community itself.


Christian teachers at Des Moines Muslim school gain insight into religion, themselve

Emily Miller, an energetic elementary schoolteacher in Des Moines, loves to sing. So one recent morning, after her first-graders put away their backpacks and sharpen their pencils, she sits them in a semicircle and sings a variation of a song she learned growing up Catholic in southwest Iowa.

“Allah told Noah, there’s gonna be a floodie, floodie!” the 22-year-old sings. The children join in. “Allah told Noah, there’s gonna be a floodie, floodie! Get those animals out of the muddie, muddie! Children of Allah.”

It’s a typical morning at New Horizons Academy, a private day care and school at the Islamic Center of Des Moines. But for Miller and Jennifer DeMuynck, classes here are like nothing they’ve experienced before.



Hajj Rituals Test Saudi Authorities

While more than a billion Muslims around the world celebrated Eid today, those gathered in the Al-Masha’er district of Saudi Arabia proceeded with their hajj rituals – throwing pebbles at vast pillars, shaving their heads and sacrificing animals.

Shaving the head, or halq, is a fundamental act for all male pilgrims during the pilgrimage: Muhammad is said to have prayed three times for men who removed all their hair and only once for those who trimmed it.

The slaughter of an animal – qurbani – marks Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at Allah’s command. The ministry of hajj proudly announced earlier this month that more than 100,000 Somali sheep were on hand to cover the high demand for sacrificial animals, adding to the 400,000 waiting in Jeddah and the extra million already being imported.


Another Wound for Muslims Who Lost Family on 9/11

(RNS) When the subject of the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero came up in Fahina Chowdhury’s government class recently, the high school freshman at Oklahoma City’s Classen School for Advanced Studies, spoke up.

“As a Muslim American, and as the daughter of someone who was killed on September 11, I knew I had to say something,” Chowdhury, 14, said.

Chowdhury told classmates that Muslims condemn terrorism, and that the 9/11 terrorists killed people of all faiths.

She didn’t reveal that her father, Mohammad S. Chowdhury, a waiter at Windows on the World restaurant on the top floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower, was a 9/11 victim. Dealing with school and trying to be “normal teenager” was pressure enough, and Chowdhury didn’t want the added attention and sympathy.



Reformed Churches in Manhattan Speak Out on Ground Zero Mosque

We are blessed to be part of a particular community called the Collegiate Church of New York with almost four hundred years of continuous ministry in this city. We gather not only as individuals, but as communities through which we can impact the world around us. We are drawn together by Jesus’ calling to love one another, and we share a common vocation of pursuing peace with all people (John 13.34 and Hebrews 12.14). It is from this basis that we, as a community of believers, offer the following comments on the controversy that has been generated by the proposal to develop a Muslim Community Center in lower Manhattan.


Muslim-Christian Tensions Rising in Egypt

CAIRO (Nov. 13) — The case of two Egyptian women who fled their priest husbands and supposedly converted to Islam before being forcibly returned to the Coptic Church has gripped the media and fanned the flames of sectarian tension in the Arab world’s most populous country.

Now, the domestic story appears to have spiraled into a regional flash point. Deadly bombings targeted Christians across Baghdad on Wednesday, killing five and injuring 20. The attacks came a little over a week after the killing of dozens of Christians in an assault on a church in Baghdad.


Iraq’s Disappearing Christians Are Bush and Blair Legacy

When George W Bush sent the US into Iraq in 2003, he believed he would be replacing Saddam Hussein with a peaceful, pro-American Arab democracy that would naturally look to the Christian west for support. In reality, seven years on, it appears that he has instead created a highly radicalised pro-Iranian sectarian killing field, where most of the Iraqi Christian minority has been forced to flee abroad.

This week saw new levels of violence directed at Iraq’s Christians. Eight days after the attack on Baghdad’s main Catholic church that left more than 50 worshippers dead, militants detonated more than 14 bombs in Christian suburbs, killing at least four and wounding about 30. Since then the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), an al-Qaida front, has warned of a new wave of attacks on Christians “wherever they can be reached … We will open upon them the doors of destruction and rivers of blood.”