Muslim Americans encouraged, hopeful with Obama at the helm

By Wendell Marsh
July 13, 2009

alqaisiIraqi Americans Wasan Alqaisi and Sumer Majid made a Fourth of July family picnic of kebab — served on hamburger buns with slices of American cheese.

Religion crowded out in “cloud” of Ayatollah Khamenei’s sermon

June 19, 2009

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivered a major address today on the election there. It was in the form of a khutbah, an Islamic Friday sermon that is often the platform for the most important public pronouncements in the Islamic Republic. So one might assume it would be couched in Islamic terminology and religious themes.

Religion and politics in “bewilderingly diverse” India

April 27, 2009

asghar-ali-engineer“Bewildingerly diverse” is the way Asghar Ali Engineer describes his native country, India. This 70-year-old Muslim scholar has written dozens of books about Indian politics and society, Islamic reform and interreligious dialogue. As head of the Centre for the Study of Society and Secularism in Mumbai, he works to promote peace and understanding among religious and ethnic communities through seminars, workshops, youth camps, research and publications. The centre even organises street plays in the slums of Mumbai to teach the poor about the dangers of communalism.

Holding back the “religion card” in India’s election campaign

April 24, 2009

india-election-ayodhyaHindu nationalism, Muslim “vote banks”, anti-Christian violence, caste rivalry — Indian politics has more than enough interfaith tension to offer populist orators all kinds of “religion cards” to play. Coming only months after Islamist militants killed 166 people in a three-day rampage in Mumbai, the campaign for the general election now being held in stages between April 16 and May 13 could have been over- shadowed by communal demagoguery.

from India Insight:

Lalu Prasad’s roller: courting the Muslim vote in Bihar

April 17, 2009

Muslims are seen as a crucial vote bank in several possible swing states in India's general election and many politicians are making the right noises to court the community.

Indonesian ulema tell Muslims to vote or go to hell

February 16, 2009

Parliamentary and presidential elections in Indonesia this year may hinge on how the public reacts to a directive from the country’s top Islamic council –all Muslims must vote or risk going to hell.

Austria debates democratic credentials of its Islam teachers

February 5, 2009

Austrian politicians and media are in uproar over a recent survey that said a fifth of all Islamic religious education teachers here hold anti-democratic views.

African Americans top U.S. religious measures-Pew

January 30, 2009

An analysis by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life suggests that blacks are considerably more religious than the overall U.S. population. You can see the whole report here.

Russian Othodox Church picks Kirill, better Vatican ties expected

January 27, 2009

The Russian Orthodox Church elected Metropolitan Kirill, 62, as its new leader on Tuesday, succeeding Alexiy II who died last month. The new leader of the 165 million-strong Church, the largest in the Orthodox world,  is seen as a moderniser who may thaw long icy ties with the Roman Catholic Church.

Religion or vote? Iraq Shi’ites wrestle with choice

January 27, 2009

Thousands of Shi’ite Muslims in southern Iraq are wrestling with a choice of religion or democracy before a pilgrimage which may prevent them from voting in elections to provincial councils on Saturday.