Egypt’s moderate Islamic TV extends reach with new languages

June 6, 2010

azhar (Photo: Al Azhar mosque in Cairo, 10 March 2010/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Egypt’s al-Azhar’s satellite channel that seeks to promote moderate Islam launched four language services to extend its reach to millions of Muslims worldwide, its designers said on Sunday.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Killings of Ahmadis unleashes fresh soul-searching over Pakistan’s identity

June 2, 2010

ahmadiIn a country which has suffered many bombings, the killing of more than 80 people in two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore last week has unleashed a particularly anguished bout of soul-searching in Pakistan, going right to the heart of its identity as an Islamic nation.

Islamic finance seeks young scholars to lead growth, improve products

June 1, 2010

islamic bankWith Islamic finance a $1 trillion industry globally and expected by ratings agency Moody’s to reach $5 trillion in time, students of sharia have more opportunities than ever before to take their skills beyond the mosque doors and into the boardroom.

Pakistani law fuels hatred of Ahmadis, prompts attacks: UN experts

June 1, 2010

ahmadiOfficial discrimination in Pakistan against the Ahmadi Muslim sect fuels hatred of the community and prompts violent attacks against them, according to three U.N. human rights investigators.

Afghanistan to probe NGOs after “preaching” report

May 31, 2010

Afghanistan has launched an investigation into the activities of hundreds of aid groups after a local media report accused a Norwegian organisation of preaching Christianity, a crime punishable by death.

Skirts replace jeans as Indonesia’s Aceh enforces sharia

May 27, 2010
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A sharia police officer escorts women caught wearing tight pants during a street raid in Aceh province on May 26, 2010/Junaidi Hanafiah

Saudi liberals see hope as clerics argue over gender segregation

May 4, 2010
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Saudi women praying at Eid al-Adha in Riyadh on November 27, 2009/Stringer

Divisions among senior Saudi clerics over the legality of gender segregation could mark a new drive by reformers allied to King Abdullah to push social reforms in the puritanical Islamic state.  The divisions came to the open when the kingdom’s morals police, or the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, reversed a decision to sack Ahmad al-Ghamdi, its regional head for the Mecca region.

Film champions liberalism in conservative Egypt

April 28, 2010

The great Giza pyramids and the Sphinx on March 27, 2010/Amr Abdallah Dals

A new film exploring issues of sexual freedom, polygamy and individuality has drawn media praise in Egypt, but its liberal message remains on the margins in the country’s conservative society. The appearance of Rasayel El Bahr, or Messages from the Sea, in Egyptian theatres is the latest indication of an easing of censorship rules, which film critics say reflects government efforts to counter Islamism.

French Muslim rejects polygamist charge, says has wife and 3 lovers

April 26, 2010
Lies Hebbadj

Liès Hebbadj and his wife Anne after she was fined for wearing a niqab while driving, in Nantes on April 26, 2010/Stephane Mahe

In Indonesia, keeping the religious status quo

April 20, 2010
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Youths read the Koran in Indonesia's South Sulawesi province September 5, 2008/Yusuf Ahmad