Islam y Mundo Árabe

A family prays on the first day of Ramadan in New York in 2017. (Reuters)

Are Muslim religious practices more intense than those of other religions and inherently dangerous to Western societies? Many people believe so. In recent surveys of 15 European countries, the Pew Research Center found that between 23 and 41 percent of respondents agreed that “Muslims want to impose their religious law on everyone else.” A similar survey in the United States revealed that 35 percent of respondents believe that American Muslims are prone to extremism, and 41 percent feel that Islam encourages violence more than other faiths — expressed in former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon’s comment that Islam is “the most radical” religion in the world.…  Seguir leyendo »

El mundo árabe tiene una larga tradición de comercio y empresa. Sin embargo, desde que alcanzaron la independencia, muchos países árabes han adoptado modelos de desarrollo liderados por el Estado que han hecho que sus economías se volvieran excesivamente dependientes del gobierno. Esto es insostenible.

El modelo económico del mundo árabe ha perdurado, a pesar de importantes contratiempos en los años 1990, en gran medida porque el Estado emplea un alto porcentaje de trabajadores y ofrece subsidios universales. Esto elimina el riesgo de las vidas económicas de los ciudadanos, afianzando su dependencia del gobierno y sofocando el espíritu emprendedor y la innovación.…  Seguir leyendo »

A mosque in Washington. In recent years, state lawmakers and others have been arguing that Muslims are not protected by the First Amendment.CreditCreditYasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency, via Getty Images

Religious liberty has become a particularly politicized topic in recent years, and recent months were no different. In a long-awaited June decision, the Supreme Court decided in favor of a Christian baker who refused to make a custom wedding cake for a gay couple. In July, Attorney General Jeff Sessions introduced a “religious liberty task force” that critics saw as a mere cover for anti-gay discrimination. And Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s record has been scoured for evidence of what his appointment to the Supreme Court would mean for future decisions in which Christian beliefs clash with law and policy.

But when it comes to religious liberty for Americans, there’s a disturbing trend that has drawn much less attention.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le sexe est-il l’ennemi d’Allah ou de Jéhovah ou de Dieu ? Dans le monde musulman, aujourd’hui, l’opposition entre les deux est violente quoiqu’on cherche à le nier sous prétexte de « culture différente », par refus de « l’essentialisme », comme il est à la mode de le formuler aujourd’hui, ou par narcissisme, toujours exacerbé chez le post-colonisé.

Il est pourtant au cœur des discours du prêcheur dans les mosquées, du cheikh qui occupe les télés religieuses, ou des thématiques qui ont les faveurs des médias islamistes ou conservateurs, de la harangue des foules ou des excès des réseaux sociaux.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Monday, Muslim pilgrims, carrying umbrellas to block the sun, gathered on Mount Arafat in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and took part in the main rituals of the annual hajj in order to become pilgrims on the eve of Eid al-Adha.CreditMustafa Ciftci/Anadolu Agency, via Getty Images

This week, the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha, a four-day feast that usually includes communal prayer, presents for children and visits to family members and cemeteries. But the key ritual will be what gives the holiday its name: “Adha” means “sacrifice” in Arabic. Most families who can afford to do so will slaughter an animal — perhaps a sheep, goat, cow or camel. The animal will be blindfolded, gently put down and then slaughtered while the name of God is praised. The meat is consumed by the family and also distributed to neighbors and to the needy.

For some non-Muslims, it may seem puzzling that Muslims engage in such a bloody ritual.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hessah al-Ajaji drives her car on the capital’s busy Tahlia Street after midnight for the first time in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on June 24. (Nariman El-Mofty/AP)

Saudi Arabia, under the initiative of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, gave women in the kingdom the right to drive.

Saudi Arabia has been the only country in the world to ban women from driving — an internationally recognized symbol of unequal status. Along with the ability to drive has come new rights and freedoms: the ability to join the military, work in intelligence services and attend sporting events and concerts. A senior cleric even commented that women should not be required to wear the abaya.

Saudi Arabia is in good company. Across the Middle East and North Africa, countries have been upgrading women’s rights.…  Seguir leyendo »

How to Be a Hoejabi

A couple of years ago, Nadia Ali made international news for being a Muslim porn star. She was banned in Pakistan and began to receive death threats. (How many porn stars can say that they have graced ISIS’s personal hit list?) So I don’t think the conservative Muslim world liked her.

The Western world, on the other hand, had a field day.

One of the films that Ms. Ali stars in, “Women of the Middle East,” flaunts the following tagline: “They may look suppressed, but given an opportunity to express themselves freely, their wild, untamable natural sexuality is released.”

Unsurprisingly, outlets like Refinery 29 and The Daily Beast made Ms.…  Seguir leyendo »

A member of a family that fled war in Syria and relocated to Michigan.CreditAndrew Renneisen/Getty Images

Dearborn, Mich., is the capital of Muslim America, and it is never more vibrant than during the holy month of Ramadan, which comes to an end this week. Authentic Yemeni cafes are packed with customers into the early-morning hours, colorful rows of desserts are displayed in Lebanese and Palestinian sweet shops, and the tables at private iftars — the traditional dinners where Muslims end their daily fast — overflow each evening with an abundance of food.

Here, as in many communities where Muslim Americans have climbed from the economic perils that can accompany immigrant status to the relative comforts of the ranks of the working class, the bounty of the evening and early morning provide a welcome juxtaposition to Ramadan’s daily fasts.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cuatro hijos asesinados por sus propios padres para contribuir a la causa del islam inspirados por la letra del Corán. ¿Cabe mayor barbarie?, como ha dicho el presidente de Indonesia ante los hechos producidos el pasado 13 de mayo en la localidad de Surabaya, segunda ciudad de Indonesia, esa nación de más de 17.000 islas, con más de 250 millones de habitantes, de los que un 85 % profesan la religión musulmana.

Esta atrocidad recuerda tantos y tantos hechos similares que la humanidad parece desesperanzada en lograr parar estos crímenes. En esta ocasión, al menos trece personas fallecidas y cuarenta y una heridas, han sido una vez más cristianos que asistían a los actos religiosos en tres iglesias, que fueron atacadas por los componentes de la familia suicida, organizados en tres grupos, con un coche bomba (padre), dos motocicletas (dos hijos adolescentes) y cinturones explosivos (madre y dos hijas menores).…  Seguir leyendo »

Ramadan decorations on display at a store in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn.CreditMohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency, via Getty Images

Ramadan is here. By now, many Americans know the basics. It’s the holy month during which healthy and able Muslims are commanded to abstain from food, drink (Not even water? Nope, not even water) and sex from sunrise to sunset and invest in intense prayer, charity and spiritual discipline.

In recent years, Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, has become part of mainstream American society. It is frequently cited in hip-hop and even made an appearance in Eminem’s epic freestyle takedown of President Trump at the BET Awards. In keeping with the tradition started by Thomas Jefferson, Presidents George W.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Reykjavík Mosque, in Iceland. During Ramadan, the sun will set at midnight there, only to come back in about two hours.CreditEgill Bjarnason/Associated Press

This year, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins on Tuesday. That means a big portion of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, my coreligionists, will be fasting for 30 days, which is really no easy task. Every day, from dawn till dusk, they will neither eat any food nor drink a drop of water. They will be hungry and thirsty but will wait patiently between the pre-dawn sahur meal and the iftar dinner at night — just for the sake of God. It is a great experience of self-discipline, devotion and piety. It is also a good opportunity, Islamic scholars often say, for reflecting about and developing empathy with those who starve because they are destitute.…  Seguir leyendo »

Demonstrating for women’s rights under religious law last month in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia.CreditFethi Belaid/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Last month, Asma Lamrabet, a well-known Moroccan feminist, resigned from her position at the Mohammedan League of Scholars, where she headed a center of women’s studies in Islam. She was pushed to resign, she explained in a statement, by the backlash over her support for a demand that remains controversial in the Arab and Muslim world: an equal share for women.

In Muslim countries, laws governing inheritance are derived from verses in the Quran; men generally receive larger, sometimes double, the shares that women get. Distant male relatives can supersede wives, sisters and daughters, leaving women not just bereaved but also destitute.…  Seguir leyendo »

A young Pakistani woman named Sabica Khan wrote a Facebook post this month about her harrowing experience at Islam’s holy site in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. She wrote about being sexually harassed while performing the tawwaf — the circling of the Ka’aba, the cubical structure toward which Muslims pray five times a day. In response, hundreds of Muslim women shared similar experiences on her wall. Her post was shared at least 2,000 times. To support her, I started #MosqueMeToo and tweeted about my own experience of sexual assault during the Muslim pilgrimage, the hajj. In two days, my Twitter thread had been retweeted or liked thousands of times.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Lingering Dream of an Islamic State

It was inevitable, a young lawyer in Tunisia told me, that the first attempts at a modern Islamic state would flounder. Young Muslims had grown up under the paradigms of nationalism, European racism and harsh police states, he said. They carried these inherited behaviors into the caliphate formed by the Islamic State, a place that was supposed to be just and colorblind but instead reveled in violence and was studded with mini neocolonial enclaves, where British Pakistanis lorded over local Syrians, and Saudis lorded over everyone. It would take one or two generations to unlearn these tendencies and deconstruct what had gone so wrong, he said.…  Seguir leyendo »

In this photo, by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, students attend an anti-government protest Saturday inside Tehran University. (AP)

The protests that have broken out across Iran in recent days have generated remarkable excitement about the possibility of revolutionary change. The demonstrations, the largest since the crushing of the 2009 Green Movement, have surprised virtually all observers. They erupted in peripheral areas rather than in Tehran, and have been dominated by working- and lower-class Iranians rather than by the urban, educated middle class that drove the 2009 demonstrations. The slogans in these protests have notably featured revolutionary rather than reformist slogans.

Seasoned observers of Iran have been stunned by the ferocity, speed and scope of these protests. It is important to recognize that much remains uncertain about them, including their real size, endurance, leadership and political aspirations.…  Seguir leyendo »

«Féminisme musulman ?». L’expression, en France, fait figure d’oxymore. Peut-on revendiquer de suivre le Coran, et parler d’émancipation des femmes ? Choisir de porter le voile et lutter contre le patriarcat ? Si ces termes semblent si contradictoires, c’est parce qu’on ne compte plus, ces dernières années, les virulents débats sur l’islam et le sort qu’il réserverait aux femmes : voile, burkini, agressions sexuelles lors du réveillon de Cologne… C’est presque toujours au nom des femmes que les critiques les plus radicales de l’islam se construisent. Même le phénomène #Balancetonporc a muté, pendant quelques jours, en affrontement «islamogauchiste» versus «laïcards» (ou Plenel versus Charlie Hebdo) après la révélation des viols présumés de l’islamologue Tariq Ramadan.…  Seguir leyendo »

In Myanmar, one of the world’s most diverse, multiethnic nations, there is a rare consensus — the much-persecuted Rohingya Muslims are outsiders and not part of the country. A military operation to flush out Rohingya militants waging a hit-and-run campaign has led to an exodus of Rohingya residents from Rakhine state, creating a refugee crisis for Bangladesh and, to a smaller extent, India.

India, over the years, has generously admitted asylum seekers or refugees from a host of places, including Tibet, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and China. But the illegal entry of tens of thousands of Rohingya is seen in India as an internal security challenge, in part because of the threat the Indian government perceives from Rohingya jihadist activities.…  Seguir leyendo »

Una serie de acontecimientos inesperados sucedidos en noviembre reveló la gravedad del estado de cosas actual en el mundo árabe. El primer ministro libanés anunció desde el extranjero su renuncia (pero más tarde se desdijo). Un misil lanzado desde Yemen impactó en Riad, la capital de Arabia Saudita. El gobierno saudita desplegó una masiva campaña anticorrupción en la que cayeron numerosas personalidades de alto perfil. Egipto, en tanto, sufrió el peor atentado terrorista del que se tenga memoria, con más de 300 civiles muertos o lesionados. Filmaciones de presuntas subastas de esclavos en Libia pusieron de manifiesto el caos en el que se debate el país tras la total desintegración del estado libio.…  Seguir leyendo »

Her name is Henda Ayari. She is forty years old and a Muslim; she was a Salafist, meaning that she adhered to a pietistic form of Islam. She says she’s still a Muslim, but she has abandoned the headscarf she wore for a long time. In 2016, she became a cause célèbre when she published a memoir, J’ai choisi d’être libre (I Chose to Be Free), in which she described her experience of brutalization at the hands of a violent husband. She also alleged that she was sexually assaulted by a Muslim preacher, whom she called Zoubeyr.

In October 2017, she became a cause célèbre all over again—this time in the wake of the Weinstein Affair, the ever-widening wave of revelations about sexual harassment and sexual assaults carried out by famous and powerful men.…  Seguir leyendo »

The unending tide of accounts of sexual harassment and assault by powerful men that women are suddenly allowing themselves to share is a reminder of the ubiquity of sexual violence that women worldwide have long known too well — and that men in a few places are finally, albeit reluctantly, acknowledging.

It is a watershed moment finally to recognize the global reach and power of patriarchy, be it in entertainment, media, business or politics, whether in Hollywood, Washington, Paris or elsewhere.

In this month alone, terminations, resignations and accusations have starkly highlighted the prevalence of patriarchy’s crimes, for too long enabled by institutions that knew but failed to act.…  Seguir leyendo »