Muslim scholars recast jihadists’ favourite fatwa

March 31, 2010
magnifying koran

An Indonesian Muslim uses magnifying glass to read Koran verses printed on lamb parchment, Jakarta, July 27, 2005/Beawiharta

Obama’s boyhood Jakarta home district sees shift to stricter Islam

March 18, 2010
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Indonesian Muslims pray at the Istiqlal Grand Mosque in Jakarta 9 March/Supri

Some things in the central Jakarta district of Matraman have barely changed since the late 1960s, when United States President Barack Obama lived and played there.  Old men train their racing pigeons on the badminton court and screaming children chase each other through the winding, grimy alleyways. But if Obama does decide to drop by his old neighborhood when he visits Indonesia next week, he may notice change around the community’s mosque.

U.S. Muslim group calls textbooks discriminatory

By Reuters Staff
March 17, 2010

world of islamU.S. Muslim activists launched a campaign on Wednesday against a series of educational books that they say promote anti-Islamic sentiment among American school children.  “The World of Islam,” a 10-book series, encourages young readers to believe Muslims are terrorists and seek to undermine U.S. society, said the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy organization.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Defining Pakistan

March 15, 2010

binoria girlsHistorian Manan Ahmed has a must-read column up at The National on a strengthening grassroots conservative Islamist ideology in Pakistani society, encouraged, he says, by the political thinking of the likes of TV host Zaid Hamid.

“No to Islamism” campaign boosts France’s National Front in poll

March 15, 2010
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Jean-Marie Le Pen at a rally in Marseille on March 7, 2010. The placard reads "No to Islamism. Youth with Le Pen" and shows a map of France covered by an Algerian flag and minarets/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Sharia boards face scrutiny amid financial crisis

By Reuters Staff
March 11, 2010
bank sharia

A teller at Bank Syariah Mandiri in Jakarta February 17, 2010/Supri

Sharia boards face increased scrutiny and criticism as high-profile corporate defaults and cautionary comments from respected scholars cast a harsh light on the fast growth of financial products touted as Islamic.

Al-Azhar leader Sheikh Tantawi dies in Saudi Arabia

By Reuters Staff
March 10, 2010
tantawi

Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi in Cairo September 16, 2006/Nasser Nuri

Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi, who as the head of Egypt’s most prestigious seat of Islamic learning al-Azhar was Sunni Islam’s top authority, died of a heart attack on Wednesday on a visit to Saudi Arabia, religious officials at al-Azhar said. He was 81.

Dutch concerns over Islam, globalisation drive Wilders’ support

By Reuters Staff
March 6, 2010
wilders

Geert Wilders,5 March 2010/Suzanne Plunkett

After scoring gains in local elections, Dutch anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders is now primed to make waves in a national poll in June by tapping into discontent over Islam and globalisation.

Tahir ul-Qadri and the difficulty of reporting on fatwas

March 2, 2010
ul-qadri

Muhammed Tahir ul-Qadri at a youth camp in Coventry, central England, August 9, 2009/Kieran Doherty

Malaysia getting bruised over caning women

February 25, 2010
MALAYSIA-ALLAH/

A Malaysian demonstrator in Kuala Lumpur during a protest in January against Christan use of the word Allah for God, 8 Jan 2010/Bazuki Muhammad)