On the face of it, it’s a little unlikely. But not long ago, what may be the oldest copy of part of the Qur’an was discovered in the Cadbury Library at Birmingham University.
The two parchment leaves had been bound together with leaves of a similar Qur’an manuscript, which is datable to the late seventh century. These, however, are earlier. Radiocarbon analysis has dated the parchment – prepared animal skin – on which the text is written to the period between AD 568 and 645. Mohammad himself is generally thought to have lived between AD 570 and 632, raising the intriguing possibility that it could have been written in his own lifetime.
The fragment contains parts of suras (chapters) 18-20, written with ink in an early form of Arabic script known as Hijazi. So far, so fascinating: it’s like finding a copy of one of Paul’s letters from 40 AD, or a Matthew’s Gospel from 80AD. From a historical point of view, it sends goose-bumps up the spine – and for a Muslim, even more so. The chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque is reported to have said: “When I saw these pages I was very moved. There were tears of joy and emotion in my eyes. And I’m sure people from all over the UK will come to Birmingham to have a glimpse of these pages.”
FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIAN TODAY
The Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is drawing criticism over the bigoted comments he has been making recently about Muslims. It is well deserved, and is not a matter of “P.C. culture,” as Mr. Carson has claimed. Nor does Mr. Carson represent some minor fringe element in the Republican Party.
This latest sordid mess to arise from the G.O.P. nomination contest touches on bedrock American values, constitutional principles and American history. It reflects a pernicious habit among the leaders of the Republican Party to play with fire by pandering to an angry, disaffected and heavily white base by demonizing selected minorities. Muslims are just the current target.
Mr. Carson declared Sunday on ”Meet the Press” that Muslims are unfit to run for president because a president’s faith should be “consistent with the Constitution.” Later, he told the newspaper The Hill that Islamic Shariah law isn’t consistent with the Constitution because “Muslims feel that their religion is very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official, and that’s inconsistent with our principles and our Constitution.”
Leave aside for a moment the unintentionally funny spectacle of a member of the current Republican Party declaring that religion should be kept out of public life, and that Mr. Carson, as an African-American, is a member of a much belittled minority. The freedom of religion embedded in the First Amendment rules out the very idea of a religious test for public office, as John F. Kennedy so eloquently argued and then proved by becoming the first Catholic president.
As for Shariah law, Catholicism has canon law and Judaism has the Halakha and nobody is painting them as threats to the republic — at least not this year.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES
Muslims mark Eid al-Adha or the Festival of Sacrifice in commemoration of Prophet Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son to show obedience to Allah.
17 more pictures from NBC News
There’s no Muslim figure comparable to Pope Francis, and certainly none with the kind of platform he enjoys. We Sunni Muslims used to have a Caliph, but not since 1924. Of course, we do have leaders who aspire to similar authority, including Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz, whose official titles include that of “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.”
Sounds nice, right? Virtuous, humble, devotional: He leads by serving. And leads who? Pope Francis is leader of 1.2 billion Catholics, Christianity’s largest denomination. Saudi Arabia claims to be, and is often described as, the principal Sunni Muslim power, leading the world’s more than 1 billion Sunnis, though its government isn’t even chosen by its own citizens.
But lets take a step back from Saudi Arabia for a moment, and look at what has been going on in its backyard and beyond.
Amid calls from a national Muslim civil liberties group that Ben Carson should withdraw from the race after his comments on Islam in America, a top campaign official said Carson will likely reach out to members of the Muslim community.
The campaign official said Carson’s interview on “Meet the Press,” in which the Republican said he would not support a Muslim as president, should be “watched or read carefully.”
“He did not say that a Muslim should be prevented from running, or barred from running in any way,” Carson campaign spokesman Doug Watts said.
Watts said the people would ultimately decide. “He [Carson] just doesn’t believe the American people are ready for that,” Watts said.
Responding to a question in the interview that aired Sunday, Carson said, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”
Asked if a candidate’s faith should matter to voters, Carson said, “I guess it depends on what that faith is. If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter.” Asked if he thought Islam is consistent with the Constitution, Carson, “No, I do not.”
FULL ARTICLE FROM NBC NEWS
BRAVO, MR. PRESIDENT!
HOUSTON — Ahmed Mohamed’s homemade alarm clock got him suspended from his suburban Dallas high school and detained and handcuffed by police officers on Monday after school officials accused him of making a fake bomb. By Wednesday, it had brought him an invitation to the White House, support from Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mark Zuckerberg, and a moment of head-spinning attention as questions arose whether he had been targeted because of his name and his religion.
As a result, a 14-year-old freshman at MacArthur High School in Irving, Tex., who is partial to tinkering, technology and NASA T-shirts and wants to go to M.I.T., found himself in a social media whirlwind that reflected the nation’s charged debates on Islam, immigration and ethnicity.
“Cool clock, Ahmed,” President Obama said on Twitter. “Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.” Mr. Obama’s staff invited Ahmed to the White House for Astronomy Night on Oct. 19, an event bringing together scientists, engineers, astronauts, teachers and students to spend a night stargazing from the South Lawn.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES
NIAMEY: Eight months after Muslims rioted in Niger at a cost of 10 lives and many burned churches, efforts are afoot to mend ties with the Christian minority in the west African country.
The rampage was triggered in January when radical Muslims angered by caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)in French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo killed 12 people in an assault on the magazine’s Paris offices.
In Niger, hundreds of Muslims took to the streets, clashing with police and razing 45 churches, five hotels, as well as bars and schools run by Christians. The French cultural centre in the second city, Zinder, was also set alight.
Read: Nigeria shuts down churches over noisy worship
Muslims make up about 98 percent of the 17 million population in the deeply poor, landlocked nation south of the Sahara. Until the riots, they lived in peace with the small Christian minority.
However, the threat of armed militant activity is present both in the north, where Niger is prey to al Qaeda-linked groups in the desert, and the south, which has been attacked by Boko Haram fundamentalists from neighbouring Nigeria.
Leaders of both faiths have been striving to restore strong community bonds by means of an inter-religious dialogue backed by a plan to “renew the value of living together” (REVE) funded by the European Union.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE
I had the rare opportunity recently to interact separately with two fundamentalist men; one Muslim, one Christian. Each feared the other.
The Muslim man is a successful professional living in a state out West. He believes Islam and Muslims are under siege because of a worldwide conspiracy by Christians and Jews to defame, malign, and undermine their faith.
Otherwise a worldly man, he sees everything through the prism of historic injustices the West has done to Muslims going back many centuries, including the subjugation of Muslim lands by white European colonists. He thought the talk of pluralism and interfaith engagement was another ploy by the West to suppress Muslims.
The other man was a long-distance trucker from Manitoba, Canada. I ran into him at a truck stop in Monroe. A relatively recent immigrant to Canada from the Netherlands, he said he believes that Muslims are trying to take over the world and that Islamic State is just the tip of a monolithic Islamic iceberg. He said he believes that all Muslims, 1.6 billion, are part of a conspiracy to undermine Christianity and impose a barbaric religion on the world.
He blamed Muslims for the current global unrest. To him, the Qur’an encourages the killing of non-Muslims. He also said he believes that all Muslims are suspect and that Muslims put up a front of friendliness to deceive Christians.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE TOLEDO BLADE