Islam y Mundo Árabe

Eight years ago, the Arab Spring uprisings led to the overthrow of longtime dictators Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia. Many have attributed these unexpectedly quick ousters to the countries’ militaries defecting from the regime and siding with the opposition. But these depictions are not only inaccurate, they also have serious implications for theory and policy.

In a recent article, we argue that such interpretation of these events represent “Myths of Military Defection.” These myths have led scholars to inaccurately compare two very different armed forces and equate defection from the regime with support of the opposition.…  Seguir leyendo »

Newspaper coverage of Muslims is negative. And it’s not because of terrorism

Last week, an Islamist attacked the Strasbourg Christmas market in France and, once again, news outlets were filled with stories about Muslims and violence. Many observers believe that’s typical. Researchers have found again and again that coverage of Muslims in the American and global media is predominantly negative.

But are the media overly negative about Muslims? Given the prominence of violent Islamist terrorism and extremism since September 2001, negative stories about Muslims may simply be a result of journalists reporting the news.

We examined this and found that U.S. newspapers associate Muslims with far more negativity than terrorism or extremism would explain.…  Seguir leyendo »

A poster in Pakistan depicting Asia Bibi, a Christian whose blasphemy conviction was recently overturned, setting off protests.CreditCreditShahzaib Akber/EPA-EFE, via Rex

The agony of Asia Bibi, a 54-year-old Roman Catholic and mother of five, shows there is something rotten in her country, Pakistan — and in the broader world of Islam.

She was arrested for blasphemy in 2009 after Muslim co-workers on a destitute farm denounced her for merely drinking from the same cup and, during the subsequent quarrel, for “insulting Prophet Muhammad” — a charge Ms. Bibi always denied. Yet she was convicted in 2010 and spent the next eight years in solitary confinement, on death row.

Luckily, Pakistan’s Supreme Court last month saved her from execution, clearing her of the charges and also setting her free.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Memon Mosque at night in Karachi, Pakistan. CreditCreditShahzaib Akber/EPA, via Shutterstock

Tuesday is the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. It’s the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal, the day most Muslims believe he came into the world some 1,400 years ago.

I first met Muhammad in August 1998. I was fresh out of high school in Somers, Conn., and my brother and I made the road trip from Jidda, where he was working for the summer, to Medina to pay our respects at Muhammad’s tomb.

I must have looked ridiculous. I was drowning in elephantine JNCO jeans and carried a backpack with a Pearl Jam patch ironed on. I was probably wearing the boisterous baseball cap of some snowboard manufacturer; I hope I left the wallet chains at home.…  Seguir leyendo »

The rulers of Saudi Arabia derive much of their legitimacy and prestige in the Muslim world from their control and upkeep of the Grand Mosque and the Kaaba in Mecca and the mosque of Prophet Muhammad in Medina. King Salman, like the rulers before him, wears the title of the “Khadim al-Ḥaramayn al-Sharifayn,” which is translated as the “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” or, more precisely, “The Servant of the Two Noble Sanctuaries.”

Despite the humility of the royal title, the Saudi monarchy has a long history of exploiting the podium of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by using its imams to praise, sanctify and defend the rulers and their actions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Television screens in Turkey show President Recep Tayyip Erdogan briefing Parliament on Tuesday on the case of Jamal Khashoggi.CreditCreditErdem Sahin/EPA-EFE, via Rex

Jamal Khashoggi’s murder by Saudi agents in Istanbul doesn’t just cast a harsh light on the authoritarian and reckless behavior of Prince Mohamad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia; it also highlights the rivalry between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which represent competing forms of Islam.

Saudi Arabia is a monarchy that allows Islam to define all social relations as long as it makes no political claims. Turkey, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party, is a republic whose government was brought to power by the votes of many conservative Muslims.

Despite being an influential Saudi voice, Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Arabian journalist who was killed by Saudi agents inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, was the keynote speaker at a conference in April organized by the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver and the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy in Washington. Excerpts from his speech, edited for clarity and length, are below.

I am from Saudi Arabia, where the issues of democracy and Islam are very much relevant. When a Saudi official wanted to brush away the question of democracy, in the past, he would always raise the question of whether democracy is compatible with Islam.…  Seguir leyendo »

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 »