Two years ago, the heroic actions of some Kenyan Muslims brought their majority-Christian nation together. The Oscar-nominated film depiction of that heroism may do so again—if many people watch.
Watu Wote is a fictional retelling of real-life horror. In December 2015, al-Shabaab terrorists stormed a bus headed toward the border with Somalia and demanded Christian passengers separate for targeted execution. Muslim passengers responded, “If you want to kill us, then kill us. There are no Christians here.” The Christian women were given hijabs to wear, while the Christian men were hidden behind bags.
They knew the danger. One year earlier in a similar bus attack, Muslim militants killed 28 Christians who failed to correctly say the Islamic creed.
Filmed on location in Swahili and Somali, the 22-minute film was nominated for the Live Action Short Film category at the 90th Academy Awards.
“The film captures an issue close to Kenyan hearts, that apart from religious differences, we are all Kenyan,” said Timothy Ranji, bishop of the Anglican diocese of Mt. Kenya South. “The downside is that it will be watched by very few Kenyans.”
Access to film is limited in Kenya. The nation ranks 77th worldwide in terms of cinemas per capita, according to UN data. Radio is a far more effective means of communication in the East African nation, Ranji said.
FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIANITY TODAY
Orthodox Christians and Muslims in the Occupied West Bank have joined a march to remember those who were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza.
Palestinian Orthodox Christians have limited their celebrations on Palm Sunday, restricting the occasion to religious rituals to mourn the deaths of 17 Gazans killed in a protest on Friday.
Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Jamjoom reports from Ramallah.
FULL ARTICLE AND VIDEO FROM AL JAZEERA
I am your Muslim neighbour in London. As there are almost a million of us here (almost one in eight people), I would not think my presence here is strange at all. But it can be alienating to be a Muslim in London these days. While Muslims are a familiar sight, there are still some deep rifts between us and other Londoners. After the terrorist attack of 7/7 (nearly fifteen years ago!) and the recent spate of terrorist attacks, the deep suspicions towards us has increased tremendously. Added to that is the racist Tommy Robinson whose puerile approach to Islamic texts attracts the most intellectually bereft, the situation has actually become dangerous for us.
This is why I write this piece – as your Muslim neighbour. I would like you to know that we are human, just like you, with human failings. Of course, that is an obvious fact, biologically speaking, but I am speaking ideologically and from the angles of culture and civilisation. And being human means we do not express our identities in the exact same way either. There are a myriad of factors which influence our expression and you should know about this.
I will be completely honest with you – most of us know almost nothing about our faith. The reason for this is simple – we don’t have to know much about it. The Islamic priesthood – and make no mistake, that’s what they are: priests – scares with the idea that unless we are guided by a ‘qualified scholar’, we will be guided by the devil himself. This suits the ordinary Muslim just fine. He is content to remain focused on the performance of rituals. Let the ‘qualified scholars’ deal with the deep study.
FULL ARTICLE FROM PATHEOS
It turns out that (American) Islam is losing Muslims at a pretty high rate. About a quarter of adults raised Muslim deconvert.
The problem is, from a secularist’s point of view, is that just as many convert to the religion. It has a high conversion rate, especially when compared to Christianity. Islam is growing by about 100,000 per year.
Per Research recently released a report that said:
Like Americans in many other religious groups, a substantial share of adults who were raised Muslim no longer identify as members of the faith. But, unlike some other faiths, Islam gains about as many converts as it loses.
About a quarter of adults who were raised Muslim (23%) no longer identify as members of the faith, roughly on par with the share of Americans who were raised Christian and no longer identify with Christianity (22%), according to a new analysis of the 2014 Religious Landscape Study. But while the share of American Muslim adults who are converts to Islam also is about one-quarter (23%), a much smaller share of current Christians (6%) are converts. In other words, Christianity as a whole loses more people than it gains from religious switching (conversions in both directions) in the U.S., while the net effect on Islam in America is a wash.
FULL ARTICLE FROM PATHEOS
SAN DIEGO — Fayaz Nawabi has never met President Trump. But he credits the president with convincing him to run for office.
Nawabi, a 31-year-old candidate for San Diego City Council, supports almost everything that Trump opposes: He is pro-affordable housing, pro-environment, pro-immigrant and pro-refugee. That makes him part of the blue wave of new liberal candidates spurred to run by Trump’s election and policies.
But Nawabi is also part of a notable subset: the blue Muslim wave.
Although their number seems small, the candidacies mark an unprecedented rise for the nation’s diverse Muslim community that typically has been underrepresented in American politics.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST
The Italian newspaper La Repubblica got the world thinking about hell on Thursdayafter publishing an interview with Pope Francis in which he appeared to suggest that hell does not exist. The Vatican quickly walked back the statement, claiming that the paper’s editor had not published an accurate transcript of the conversation.
Nevertheless, the suggestion got people wondering what religion really says about hell. This is what the three largest religions in the U.S. say about the afterlife:
Death is a complicated subject in the Bible, and stories about what happens after we die are often contradictory. But according to the catechism of the Catholic Church, “the New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul—a destiny which can be different for some and for others.”
“Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven—through a purification or immediately—or immediate and everlasting damnation,” it continued.
FULL ARTICLE FROM NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE