Saudi artist Maher al-Luqman is always nervous when he goes on stage to eat glass and fire or to walk on nails, for fear the country’s religious police will disrupt his show.
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.
How does a rabbi get involved in dialogue with Muslims? On this blog, we often write about interfaith dialogue, for which personal contact is crucial, without talking much about the background of the personalities involved.
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has come out with a new report that tries to measure, country by country on a global level, government and social restrictions on religion. You can see our coverage of the report here and here and can download the whole report here.
Around two million Muslim pilgrims stoned pillars symbolising the devil in a narrow valley in Saudi Arabia on Friday at what has traditionally been the most dangerous stage of the haj pilgrimage. The pillars stand at Mena, where Muslims believe the devil appeared to the Prophet Abraham.
The haj is supposed to be a spiritual highlight in a Muslim’s life, but everyday issues can sometimes intrude. In between prayers and visits to various sites, pilgrims often discuss all kinds of current issues. Among Algerians and Egyptians on the haj here this year, the buzz is about the public row sparked by a soccer game to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. Algeria won that match 1-0.
More than two million Muslims gather this week for the annual haj pilgrimage to Islam’s holy city of Mecca, where Saudi authorities hope to minimize spread of the H1N1 virus and prevent any political demonstration.