JERUSALEM — Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison went to Islam’s third-holiest site as part of his visit to Jerusalem Sunday. Ellison visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. He said he was there to learn and did not consider himself qualified to mediate in the Mideast conflict. Ellison is the first Muslim member of Congress. He said his religion is not an identity that separates him from people, but something that connects him to people.
Declan Walsh in Islamabad Thursday March 29, 2007 The Guardian Female Islamist students wearing burkas raided a brothel and were holding the alleged owner inside their fundamentalist madrasa last night in the latest assault by extremists on President Pervez Musharraf’s bruised authority. Women with bamboo staves stood guard on the roof of Jamia Hafsa madrasa, Islamabad, where they were holding alleged brothel madam “Auntie Shamim”, two other women and a six-month-old girl.
Just as it fought the spread of Communism during the Cold War, the United States must do more to develop and support networks of moderate Muslims who are too often silenced by violent radical Islamists, according to a RAND Corporation report issued today. “The struggle in much of the Muslim world today is a war of ideas,” said Angel Rabasa, a RAND senior policy analyst and the lead author of the report. “This is not a war of civilizations; it’s not Islam versus the West. It’s a struggle within Islam to define the character of Islam.”
A two-day conference on America, Islam and the Middle East will be held Friday and Saturday at Missouri State University. The conference, entitled: “America, Islam and the Middle East Conference: Building Bridges Between the Great Divide,” will address issues of critical nature pertaining to America’s foreign policy toward the Middle East and the Islamic world.
After the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, Islam was thrust to the media’s forefront. Negative stereotypes grew from al-Qaeda’s actions, even though the terrorist group did not represent the beliefs of the entire Muslim community. Author, scholar and media analyst Reza Aslan will help Western Illinois University students separate the facts from the fictions and the truths from the lies. He will present “No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 27 in Western Hall.
CHICAGO: Laleh Bakhtiar had already spent two years working on an English translation of the Koran when she came upon Chapter 4, Verse 34. She nearly dropped the project right then. The hotly debated verse states that a rebellious woman should first be admonished, then abandoned in bed, and ultimately “beaten” - the most common translation for the Arabic word “daraba” - unless her behavior improves. “I decided it either has to have a different meaning, or I can’t keep translating,” said Bakhtiar, an Iranian-American who adopted her father’s Islamic faith as an adult and had not dwelled on the verse before. “I couldn’t believe that God would sanction harming another human being except in war.”
By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press March 25, 2007 BALTIMORE - Majid Khan worked the cash register at his dad’s gas stations, listened to rap music and went to public high school like many recent American immigrants. Yet, at a red-brick mosque wedged between a busy highway and middle-class cul-de-sacs, the U.S. government says, he found his way to an extreme brand of Islam.
Obama’s childhood in Indonesia was not defined by Islam By Kim Barker Chicago Tribune (MCT) JAKARTA, Indonesia - When Barack Obama was a boy here, he studied for three years at a religious school and prayed four times a day. It was a Catholic school. There, Obama was registered as student No. 203, listed as a Muslim and as an Indonesian. “Yes, he prayed, because all the students here had to pray in the Catholic way - `in the name of the Father, (Son) and the Holy Spirit,’” recalled Obama’s 1st-grade teacher, Israella Pareira Darmawan.
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross converted to Islam and worked with a charity allegely linked to al-Qaida. Is his new book cashing in on the experience, or does he have something constructive to say? By Zahir Janmohamed, March 15, 2007