In Kabul’s only synagogue, Afghan merchants open up shop

June 1, 2011

(An Afghan woman clad in burqa and her daughter walks past a restaurant built inside part of the only synagogue building in Kabul, June 1, 2011/Omar Sobhani)

Oy Gevalt! Yiddish cell phone launches in Israel

By Reuters Staff
May 10, 2011

("Kosher" cellular phones, imported and distributed by Israeli Accel Telecom, are displayed at the company's offices in Tel Aviv May 2, 2011/Nir Elias)

International investors fear anti-market regime in Egypt

By Reuters Staff
February 7, 2011
cairo bank

(People queue to make withdrawals outside Cairo Bank in downtown Cairo February 6, 2011/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Russian firm plans halal reindeer meat exports to Qatar

By Reuters Staff
December 22, 2010

reindeer (Photo: A Nenets tribesman and his  herd of reindeers on the Yamal peninsula, north of the polar circle, August 4, 2009/Denis Sinyakov)

When rival energy producers Russia and Qatar talk business, it’s no longer only about natural gas — they’re talking reindeer meat, which Russia has promised to export and butcher according to Muslim dietary law. The prospect of Russia exporting halal reindeer meat products to the desert kingdom first came up last month when the governor of Russia’s Arctic Yamal Nenets region, where most of Russia’s gas is produced, was in Qatar for investment talks.

Mecca hopes to revive pilgrim tourism during haj

November 3, 2010

mecca (Photo: Muslims shop outside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, September 15, 2009/Fahad Shadeed)

Rashed Abdullah displays Oriental perfumes on a glass table to late-night shoppers in his small shop in Mecca ready for what he hopes will be a sales bonanza during this month’s haj pilgrimage. He is confident of attracting customers after fears of a swine flu outbreak kept many away last year.

Short of talent, Islamic finance taps women scholars

By Reuters Staff
November 3, 2010

malaysia islamic finance (Photo: Islamic Financial Centre booth at Malaysia’s Central Bank – High Level Conference 2009 in Kuala Lumpur February 10, 2009/Zainal Abd Halim)

When Malaysian Aida Othman signed up for the new law programme at the International Islamic University in Kuala Lumpur, she did not expect to become one the few women with their hands on the levers of the world’s $1 trillion Islamic finance sector.

Mideast banks, funds seek to tap Muslim women’s wealth

By Reuters Staff
October 27, 2010

women banking (Photos: One of Dubai Islamic Bank’s women-only branches in Deira, October 26, 2010./Jumana El-Heloueh)

Emirati housewife Sarah Alzarouni brushed past a group of women clad in floor-length black robes, some with only their eyes showing, to enter through the frosted doors of one of Dubai Islamic Bank’s women-only branches. Clutching a Louis Vuitton bag to match her designer head scarf, Alzarouni greeted the female tellers and bank manager with three kisses on the cheek and sat down to do business.

Islamic finance relies on too few of its scholars

By Reuters Staff
October 6, 2010

saudi traderThe Islamic finance industry is not short of qualified sharia scholars to meet growing demand, but it relies too heavily on a handful of them, limiting growth potential and raising regulatory concerns, experts say.

Taiwan Buddhist charity Tzu Chi sets up shop in atheist China

August 20, 2010

charity 1China’s ruling Communist Party has a testy and often bitter relationship with religion.  During the chaos of the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, temples and churches were shut, statues smashed, scriptures burned, and monks and nuns forced to return to secular life, often after receiving a good beating or even jail.

In Islamic Iran, unofficial prayer sellers’ trade is booming

By Reuters Staff
June 29, 2010

prayerIn Islamic Iran where clerics rule, unofficial “prayer sellers,” who promise to intercede with the divine to solve all manner of life’s problems, are seeing their business boom.  Backstreet spiritual guides like YaAli are tolerated by the authorities and increasingly sought after by Iranians seeking help from on high.