A man was charged with hate crimes for attacks on Muslims in New York City

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES – 2021/07/09: Queens County District Attorney Melinda Katz speaks during media briefing on Saturday Night Lights program at Boys Club of New York. The Saturday Night Lights program kicks off on July 10 and will continue all year long. The city invested $5 million to fund this program. Each Saturday, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., children from 11- to 18-years-of-age will be able to enjoy an array of indoor sports, including basketball, soccer, volleyball, dance, martial arts and more. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

(CNN)A man accused of anti-Muslim attacks in New York City was charged Wednesday with hate crimes by the Queens District Attorney’s Office.Naved Durrni, 30, faces charges of assault as a hate crime, menacing as a hate crime, aggravated harassment and criminal possession of a weapon in the recent physical and verbal attacks on Muslims in Queens, New York, according to a news release from the district attorney’s office.

Authorities said Durrni turned himself in on Tuesday after seeing himself on newscasts about the investigation.

It’s not clear whether he entered a plea during his arraignment Wednesday. CNN reached out to his attorney Ammar Chatha, but he did not comment.

He remains in custody and is due back in court August 17.The alleged hate crimes happened over the course of about five weeks, the New York City Police Department said. Durrni is accused of following Muslims in Queens, yelling anti-Muslim statements at them, hitting them and then fleeing.”As alleged, the defendant attacked and intimidated individuals because of their beliefs. That type of hate will not be tolerated in Queens County, where our diversity is our greatest strength,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in the news release.


Stop Trashing Relations Between Nigeria’s Christians and Muslims

It is too easy to pin a religious tag on a conflict in a developing country, and for outsiders to rush to the cause of one or the other. But you only have to visit another area in Nigeria without conflict, and its complex causes, to find its refutation.

We are two faith leaders—a Christian pastor and a Muslim imam—from Nigeria, one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world.

In our country of more than 200 million, and where religion is important to the daily lives of almost all, it is unexceptional to find those of both faiths living in harmony in the same ethnic groups, the same local communities, and even praying in the same family homes.

So, it is hard to be told by some from beyond our borders that this is in fact an exception; that Nigeria Is a land of extreme tensions between the Abrahamic faiths, the two great religions on the brink of war and cannot live side by side. Some claim that Christians are persecuting Muslims; others that Muslims are persecuting Christians. But from foreign NGOs and pressure groups—the leaders of which have doubtless never visited our country—we mostly learn we possess a government biased towards Islam, and that Christians in our lands are treated as second-class citizens.

This is not how we see it or experience it. And because it is not, we are obliged to speak out.

The state of religious dialogue is far from perfect in Nigeria. But it is far from being so anywhere: attacks against synagogues in the United States and teachers in France, unfortunately, attest to this. Yet to suggest that Nigeria represents the extremity of tensions is untrue. In many regards, it is where there is equilibrium between faiths.           

That is most obvious in governance: a conservative Muslim president and an evangelical Christian pastor vice president oversee a cabinet whose members are equally weighted between Christianity and Islam.

But this doesn’t stop the accusations from outside onlookers. It would seem preposterous to suggest the government is indifferent to Boko Haram’s menace. Instead, they fixate on so-called herder-farmer clashes to argue there is a directed campaign of persecution against the nation’s Christians.


Olympics Muslim Olympians celebrate Eid far from home in Tokyo

TOKYO, July 23 (Reuters) – Muslim athletes in Tokyo for the Olympics marked a pared-down Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, thousands of miles from their loved ones with shared prayers and cheery online messages.

One of the most important holidays on the Islamic calendar, Eid al-Adha is typically celebrated with families coming together in fine clothes to partake of large feasts, slaughtering livestock for the occasion and giving presents to children.

The Tokyo Olympics are being held under tight coronavirus restrictions with athletes, officials and journalists from around the globe all but cut off from the rest of the city and subject to mask-wearing and social distancing.

After years of training to make it this far, some Muslim athletes and officials from Muslim countries, gathered together for a shared prayer in masks.Report ad

“The delegations of Islamic countries conduct the prayer for the blessed Eid al-Adha holiday in the athletes’ village,” Jordan’s Olympic Committee posted on Twitter alongside pictures of athletes and officials praying amid sports shoes and clothes.

Some officials wearing Saudi-branded tracksuits appeared to be praying on a stone floor without the usual prayer mats. Their masks hiding smiles, Moroccan and Jordanian representatives shared sweets from small tins for the occasion.

Much of the celebrations were confined to online messages.


Indonesian Muslims mark grim Eid amid devastating virus wave

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Muslims across Indonesia marked a grim Eid al-Adha festival for a second year Tuesday as the country struggles to cope with a devastating new wave of coronavirus cases and the government has banned large gatherings and toughened travel restrictions.

Indonesia is now Asia’s COVID-19 hot spot with the most confirmed daily cases, as infections and deaths have surged over the past three weeks and India’s massive outbreak has waned.

Most of Indonesia’s cases are on the densely populated island of Java, where more than half of the country’s 270 million people live. Authorities in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation have banned many of the crowd-attracting activities that are usually part of Eid al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice that marks the end of the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.

Authorities allowed prayers at local mosques in low-risk areas, but elsewhere houses of worship had no congregations, including Jakarta’s Istiqlal Grand Mosque, the largest in Southeast

Officials also banned the huge crowds that usually fill the yards of mosques to participate in ritual animal slaughter for the festival. Religious leaders urged the faithful to pray inside their homes and children were told to not go out to meet friends.

Indonesia’s health ministry reported 34,257 new coronavirus cases and 1,338 deaths on Monday, making it the country’s deadliest day since the start of the pandemic.

COVID-19 infections in Indonesia are at their peak last week with the highest daily average reported at more than 50,000 new infections each day. Until mid-June, daily cases had been running at about 8,000.

Overall, Indonesia has reported more than 2.9 million cases and 74,920 fatalities. Those figures are widely believed to be a vast undercount due to low testing and poor tracing measures.

The government put emergency restrictions in place on July 3 across Java island and the tourist island of Bali, limiting all nonessential travel and gatherings and shutting malls, places of worship and entertainment centers. They were set to end on Tuesday in time for the country to celebrate Eid al-Adha.


Christian and Muslim Leaders Agree on Legitimacy of Evangelism

The world’s largest Muslim organization accepts that Christians will try to convert its members. A new partnership with evangelicals seeks to ensure this does not lead to conflict.

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Last week, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) signed a statement of cooperation with Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), an Indonesian association with an estimated 30 million to 50 million members. Established in 1926 to counter Wahhabi trends issuing from the Arabian Peninsula, its name means “Revival of the Religious Scholars.”

“Evangelicals very much aspire to proselytism, and so does Islam. So naturally there will be competition,” said NU secretary general Yahya Cholil Staquf. “But we need to have this competition conducted in a peaceful and harmonious environment.”

Staquf spoke from the stage of the 2021 International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit in Washington. On its opening day, he and WEA secretary general Thomas Schirrmacher signed “The Nation’s Mosque Statement,” along with Taleb Shareef, imam of Masjid Muhammad, the first American mosque built by the descendants of slaves.

Calling for “the emergence of a truly just and harmonious world order,” the statement seeks a global alliance to prevent the political weaponization of identity and the spread of communal hatred.

Schirrmacher called the WEA’s cooperation with NU the product of deep theological dialogue, counter to the academic tendency to downplay truth claims. And as evangelicals, evangelism is at the heart of their effort.

“We are working together for the right to convert each other,” the German theologian said.

“Religious freedom does not mean that we agree, but that we live in peace with our deep differences.”


Your guide to Eid al-Adha and other major Islamic, Jewish and Christian holidays

Although the majority of people in Ohio are Christian, there is plenty of religious diversity in Columbus. 

Maybe you’re wondering how to navigate different religious traditions and are interested in learning more about the holidays that your friends and coworkers celebrate, such as Eid al-Adha, an annual Muslim holiday that began the evening of July 19 and ends the evening of July 23.

Or maybe you just want to know more about different ways central Ohioans have commemorated their religious holidays throughout the past few years. This guide is here to help with information about numerous holidays in Judaism, Islam and Christianity. 

Islamic holidays

• Ramadan: Islamic holidays are determined by the moon, so the month of fasting that is Ramadan rotates, though in recent years it has been marked in the spring months. Muslims do not eat or drink during daylight hours during Ramadan and they practice self-sacrifice, work toward being morally good and focus only on God. The month commemorates when the first part of the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book, was revealed by God. 

Coronavirus in Ohio:Muslims focus on service, not gatherings this Ramadan

COVID-19:Columbus Muslims still working to connect with those of other faiths on Ramadan

‘The culture of Ramadan’: Iftar meals bring spirit of Ramadan to needy refugees


New Jersey Muslims mark Eid al-Adha, but Hajj pilgrimage remains out of reach due to COVID

With COVID restrictions eased, Muslims flocked to mosques and parks across New Jersey on Tuesday to mark Eid al-Adha, a holy day that observes Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son at God’s command.

Unlike last year, some worshippers were maskless and embraced one another as they celebrated with prayer, festivals and family gatherings.

But while the crowds had returned, Eid al-Adhawas still not the same. For the second year, Muslim Americans were unable to join the annual Hajj pilgrimage, in which the faithful across the world travel to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to worship in the Ka’bah, the most sacred site in Islam. 

In a typical year, thousands of Americans would join the 2.5 million Muslims who make the annual pilgrimage. But this year, COVID restrictions limited attendance to 60,000 vaccinated Saudi residents, up from just 1,000 in 2020.


Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha

Muslims celebrate the Eid al-Adha religious festival, which marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage.

Muslims around the world are celebrating the Eid al-Adha religious holiday, which, in Arabic, means the “festival of the sacrifice” and marks the end of Hajj, the five-day pilgrimage Muslims undertake to cleanse the soul of sins and instil a sense of equality and brotherhood.

Eid al-Adha commemorates the story of the Muslim Prophet Ibrahim’s test of faith when he was commanded by God to sacrifice his son, Ismail.

The belief holds that God stayed his hand, sparing the boy and placing a ram in his place.

The day is marked with the sacrifice of an animal, usually a goat, sheep or cow, and the distribution of the meat among neighbours, family members and the poor.

This year, the holiday – which starts on Tuesday – comes as many countries battle the Delta COVID variant first identified in India, prompting some to impose new restrictions or issue appeals for people to avoid congregating and follow safety protocols.


Pew: What India’s Christians, Hindus, Muslims and More Think About Religion

(UPDATED) Pew surveys 30,000 Indians across 6 faiths and 17 languages and finds support for tolerance yet also segregation.

A third of Hindus in India would not be willing to accept a Christian as a neighbor. Neither would a quarter of Indian Muslims or Sikhs.

Only a third of Indian Christians are very concerned about stopping inter-religious marriage, vs. two-thirds or more of Hindus, Muslims, and the general Indian population.

A quarter of Christians say religious diversity harms India, while about half say it benefits the country.

A third of Indian Christians identify as Catholics and half identify with Protestant denominations. A third of Christians identify as members of Scheduled Castes, often called Dalits (and formerly the pejorative untouchables).

Almost all Indian Christians are very proud to be Indian, and three-quarters agree that Indian culture is superior to others.

These are among the findings of “Religion in India: Tolerance and Segregation,” a significant new report released today by the Pew Research Center. Its conclusion, in a sentence: “Indians say it is important to respect all religions, but major religious groups see little in common and want to live separately.”


Muslim leaders and activists tackle opposition to COVID-19 vaccines

Outreach programs to dispel COVID-19 vaccine disinformation are having an impact on vaccination rates within some Muslim communities.

Shaikh Rahman, a business systems analyst in Chicago, was not a proponent of COVID-19 vaccines because he did not feel that credible information about them was being disseminated effectively and the distribution seemed rushed.

“Our faith says to investigate a matter before passing it off as truth,” he says.

But Rahman’s sentiment changed after his local imam, Shaykh Jamal Said of the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, Illinois, began to suggest that those who were not vaccinated may be prohibited entry to the mosque.

Rahman was concerned about this potential restriction for prayer services and he considered getting vaccinated. He had tested positive for the virus prior to this potential restriction. So he decided to get the shot to build up his immunity after the Mosque Foundation held a Pfizer vaccination drive.

“With the country reopening, I don’t want my family or my loved ones to be at risk of exposure through me,” Rahman says.

While vaccine hesitancy trends continue to evolve across the United States, a shift also is underway within some Muslim communities. Vaccine rates among Muslims had been among the lowest in the nation in the early months of the pandemic.  But outreach programs from mosques, community organizations, and cultural centers that work with immigrant communities are helping to dispel disinformation and promote vaccination.

As they hear from trusted figures, such as imams, some Muslims are now opting to get the shot.