The Great Debate UK

from FaithWorld:

World’s top Muslims list appears with Erdogan only #3. Who should be #1?

(King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (R) and Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (L) pose for pictures before a meeting in Ankara August 8, 2006. REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

An annual list of the world's 500 most influential Muslims has appeared and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, the man who made Turkey's "Muslim democracy" a model for many Arab Spring protesters, did not win the top spot. Not #2 either. Erdogan came in at #3, a notch down from his 2010 ranking as number two.

The Muslim 500: The 500 Most Influential Muslims 2011, the third list in this series started in 2009 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, named Saudi Arabian King Abdullah as the #1 Muslim in the world and Morocco's King Mohammed VI as #2. It said the Arab Spring had had no impact on Abdullah's influence, had boosted Mohammed's and had no effect on Erdogan's. Fourth and fifth places in the list went to Jordan's King Abdullah and Iran's Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei.

The list is available here as a PDF download or a hard copy to order. Give us your view on the  “most influential Muslim of 2011” in the poll at the bottom of this post.

from FaithWorld:

Was it ethical to show gruesome images of the dying dictator Gaddafi?

(ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE SCENES DEATH OR INJURY The body of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is displayed at a house in Misrata October 20, 2011/Thaier al-Sudani)

The threshold for publishing gruesome images like those of Muammar Gaddafi's death is falling as the internet and social media make many of the editorial decisions that used to be left to a small group of professional journalists. The shaky video footage of Gaddafi's last moments was such a dramatic end to Libya's months-long struggle against its former dictator that many television stations around the world rushed to broadcast much of what they received.

from FaithWorld:

Luther rehabilitated? Catholics and Protestants disagree

(Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach the Elder, painted in 1529)

Among Catholic-Protestant splits on display during Pope Benedict's visit to Germany is a disagreement over whether Martin Luther, the 16th century reformer who launched the split in western Christianity, has now been rehabilitated.

Pope Leo X cast Luther out of the Roman Catholic Church in 1521 with a vociferous decree branding him "the slave of a depraved mind" and calling his followers a "pernicious and heretical sect." But his present-day successor, Benedict, spoke so positively of Luther's deep faith during a visit to the monk's old monastery in Erfurt on Friday that Germany's top Protestant bishop announced Luther had effectively been rehabilitated.

from FaithWorld:

September 11 highlighted radical faith; Can it be defused?

(The World Trade Center burns after being hit by a plane in New York on September 11, 2001/Sara K. Schwittek)

When Henry Kissinger published "Diplomacy," his study of international relations, in 1994, it had no index entries for Islam or religion. Ten years later, another secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, wrote her own study on world affairs: "The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God and World Affairs." Almost half the book dealt with Muslims and Islam.

from FaithWorld:

Pakistan’s patchy fight against Islamist violence sows confusion

(A man takes a nap next to a poster of Osama bin Laden at the Chauburji monument in Lahore May 13, 2011. The message written on the posters read: "The prayer absentia for martyr of Islamic nation is a duty and a debt"/Mani Rana)

At the rehabilitation center for former militants in Pakistan's Swat valley, the psychiatrist speaks for the young man sitting opposite him in silence. "It was terrible. He was unable to escape. The fear is so strong. Still the fear is so strong." Hundreds of miles away in Lahore, capital of Punjab province, a retired army officer recalls another young man who attacked him while he prayed - his "absolutely expressionless face" as he crouched down robot-like to reload his gun.

from FaithWorld:

Pope slams selfish food speculators, urges curbs on world commodity markets

(Traders in the Corn options pit at the CME Group signal orders shortly before the closing bell in Chicago, February 11, 2011/Frank Polich )

Pope Benedict said on Friday financial trading based on "selfish attitudes" is spreading poverty and hunger and called for more regulation of food commodity markets to guarantee everyone's right to life. "Poverty, underdevelopment and hunger are often the result of selfish attitudes which, coming from the heart of man, show themselves in social behaviour and economic exchange," the pope told a U.N. food agency conference.

from FaithWorld:

“If I were Pope Benedict, this is what I’d tell them in Berlin …”

(The Reichstag building, seat of the German Bundestag in Berlin, where Pope Benedict will deliver a speech on September 22. Picture taken on November 22, 2010/Pawel Kopczynski )

Have you ever wanted to write a major speech for Pope Benedict to deliver? What would you say? How much leeway would you have if you were chosen to be the papal ghostwriter?

from FaithWorld:

Vague agenda fuels doubts over real aims of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

(The Sphinx at the great pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo, February 25, 2011/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Few things better sum up Egypt's uncharted future than the vague policy platform of the Muslim Brotherhood, a long-repressed Islamist movement poised to become a decisive force in mainstream politics. With the country's military rulers reluctant to push through major reforms without a popular mandate, all eyes are on the emerging political class set free by the overthrow in February of veteran leader Hosni Mubarak.

from FaithWorld:

Will the Arab Spring bring U.S.-style “culture wars” to the Middle East?

(From left: Olivier Roy, Cardinal Angelo Scola and Martino Diez of the Oasis Foundation at the conference on San Servolo island, Venice, June 20, 2011/Giorgia Dalle Ore/Oasis)

Where is the Arab Spring leading the Middle East? What will be the longer-term outcome of the popular protests that have shaken the region since the beginning of this year? Of course, it’s still too early to say with any certainty, even in countries such as Tunisia and Egypt that succeeded in toppling their authoritarian regimes. Some trends have emerged, however, and they’re on the agenda at a conference in Venice I’m attending entitled “Medio Oriente verso dove?” (Where is the Middle East heading?). The host is the Oasis Foundation, a group chaired by Cardinal Angelo Scola, the Roman Catholic patriarch of this historic city, and guests include Christian and Muslim religious leaders and academics from the Middle East and Europe.

from FaithWorld:

Pakistan’s booming female madrassas feed rising intolerance

(Covered Pakistani female madrassa students take part in an anti-government demonstration in Islamabad August 27, 2004 after a government raid in their mosque and Islamic seminary/Mian Khursheed)

Varda is an accountancy student who dreams of working abroad. Dainty and soft-spoken, the 22-year-old aspires to broaden her horizons, but when it comes to Islam, she refuses to question the fundamentalist interpretations offered by clerics and lecturers nationwide.

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