February 2009

79 per cent of Muslims say Christianity should have strong role in Britain

by Nick Allen, The Guardian, Feb 2009

Nearly 80 per cent of Muslims say life in Britain should be guided by Christianity, according to a poll.

People were asked to agree or disagree with the statement “Our laws should respect and be influenced by UK religious values”.

The proportion of Muslims who agreed (79 per cent) was higher than for Christians themselves (70 per cent).

The ComRes poll for the BBC appeared to contradict calls by some politicians to remove faith from the public arena.

Hindus (74 per cent) also gave more support than Christians to a strong role in public life for the UK’s traditional, Christian religious values. (more…)

American minds these days are occupied with the financial crisis. The increasingly distant Iraq War, ever expanding military muscle in Afghanistan and recent loss of life and massive destruction in Gaza have been knocked off the front page and main story of daily newscasts. Problematic as the economy worldwide is, we will survive. It is not wealth that has disappeared, nor the ability to make money, but confidence in a system that by its very nature rewards with one hand and takes away with the other. As in economics, so in politics, it seems. And “occupation” is the main problem. In a short interview on FORA TV, Dr. Abdul Mawgoud Dardery (Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies and Critical Discourse at South Valley University, Egypt) brings this point into focus. Of course occupation has been the rule of history with “to the victor go the spoils” a mantra of civilization’s domination of those not considered sufficiently civilized. But unless the occupier empties the land of those already occupying it, as all the American continents’ countries have attempted to do, problems necessarily remain. In fancy we think of getting along with others as a melting pot; for much of the Middle East it has been more of a smelting and pelting pot … and the beating goes on.

Daniel Martin Varisco

This is the third in a series on the illustrations in Rev. John George Wood’s Story of the Bible Animals. What do you get if you strain at a gnat? Read on…


It has already been stated that only one species of fly is mentioned by name in the Scriptures. this is the Gnat, the name of which occurs in the familiar passage, “Ye blind guides, which strain at a ghat and swallow a camel” (Matt. xxiii. 24).

I may again mention here that the words “strain at” ought to have been printed “strain out,” the substitution of one for the other being only a typographical error. The allusion is made to a certain custom which is explained by reference to the preceding article on the fly. In order to avoid taking flies and other insects into the mouth, while drinking, a piece of thin linen stuff was placed over the cup, so that if any insects, as was usually the case, had got into the liquid, they would be “strained out” by the linen. (more…)

Suspects detained in Cairo blast
BBC News, February 23, 2009

Egyptian police are questioning three suspects over the bombing of a Cairo market that killed one person and injured 20 others, officials say.

They were detained near the market shortly after the blast, police said.

It happened at an open-air hotel cafe packed with tourists in the Khan al-Khalili area – a major attraction and home to a prominent mosque.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has expressed “deep sorrow” at the death of a French teenager in the blast.

Police said they thought the device had been thrown from a balcony. It is not yet known who was responsible. (more…)

By Golnaz Esfandiari, Radio Liberty Website, February 18, 2009

A house of worship of the Gonabadi dervishes in Isfahan has reportedly been destroyed by the Iranian authorities.

The reason for the destruction — which reportedly took place shortly after midnight on February 18 — is not clear, but it comes amid growing pressure on dervishes, who practice the Sufi tradition of Islam, and other religious minorities in Iran.

The dervish house of worship, or hosseinieh, was located next to the tomb of the great poet and dervish Naser Ali at the historical Takht-e Foulad cemetery, where a number of respected Iranian figures are buried. (more…)

Saudi ARAMCO World has an online virtual walking tour of the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem. This is in its January/February, 2009 issue. To take the tour, click here.

American Muslims Call for Swift Action Against Domestic Violence

Murder of Buffalo resident Aasiya Zubair spurs American Muslims to forcefully address domestic abuse and violence against women; call on imams to address DV in Friday sermons

SAN FRANCISCO – A coalition of Muslim organizations, journalists, community leaders, imams, and other concerned citizens are calling for immediate action by American Muslim leaders and religious figures to address domestic abuse and violence in America, including that found in the American Muslim community, on Friday, February 20, 2009.

In response to the collective concern of the American Muslim community, imams and religious leaders across America have been asked to speak out against domestic violence to their congregations. They are asked to remind congregants of the Prophet Muhammad’s abhorrence of harshness, abuse and violence, and emphasize solutions that strengthen families and ensure all members are treated with fairness and respect, free of fear of abuse or violence.

Members of the coalition are contacting imams and religious leaders in major Islamic centers and mosques. They are encouraging sermons addressing domestic violence and are offering resources available through the Peaceful Families Project, a Muslim-run domestic violence prevention organization founded in 2000, to help educate the American Muslim community. This education addresses the extent to which domestic violence exists and strategies to stop it.

Several prominent imams have heeded the call to action by concerned American Muslims including Shaykh Hamza Yusuf of the Zaytuna Institute in Berkeley, Ca. and Imam Tahir Anwar of the South Bay Islamic Association in San Jose, Ca. These imams have committed their Friday sermons to addressing domestic violence and preaching that in the Islamic tradition and by the example of the Prophet Muhammad, family harmony can never be achieved by force and that emotional and physical abuse is never acceptable. (more…)

Acclaimed Sudanese novelist Al-Tayeb Saleh dies
The Associated Press, February 18, 2009

KHARTOUM, Sudan: Al-Tayeb Saleh, one of the Arab world’s top novelists who excelled at portraying characters torn between East and West, died Wednesday in London, Sudan’s official news agency said. He was 80.

Saleh was born in 1929 in the northern Sudanese town of Marawi to a poor family and was educated first in Islamic schools and then later British institutions. He left Sudan to pursue graduate studies in the U.K. and went on to live in various European and Arab capitals, rarely returning home.

His works reflected the Arab and African quest for identity, especially in the period of 1960s, which were marked by the end of colonialism and the rise of nationalism across the region.

His 1966 masterpiece, The Season of Migration to the North, can be described as one of the earlier writings about the idea of a clash of civilizations. (more…)

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