islam

September 8, 2017

News this week focused on religion's role in public diplomacy.

With global oil prices flailing, Saudi Arabia is turning to another natural resource: billions of dollars gained from religious tourism as the kingdom hosts the annual hajj pilgrimage. “The money spent by pilgrims this year could be from 20 to 25 billion riyals (5.3 to 6.7 billion dollars),” said Maher Jamal, head of Makkah’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry - an estimated 70 percent increase from the previous year.

He stood by a sign that read: 'I am Muslim, I am not a terrorist. I share hugs of love and peace.' The words were written in Catalan, Spanish, English, Arabic and French. [...] The man's gesture echoes the reaction of other Muslims following previous Islamist terror attacks.

Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday that it is reopening its border with Qatar to allow Qataris to attend the hajj, despite a monthslong rift between Doha and four Arab countries led by Riyadh that prompted both sides to trade accusations of politicizing the pilgrimage.

Anti-Islamophobia Rally

"How can U.S. public diplomacy...maintain any credibility given what appears to be an openly Islamophobic administration?" asks Mieczysław P. Boduszyński.

For the Tamano Family, Eid is always a time for family and friends reunion. "As an expat Filipino family who belongs to the Muslim minority in the Philippines, living in the UAE for almost 12 years has been a huge blessing for us especially during the holy month of Ramadan," said Sahron Roy Tamano.

Inside the red-brick building that now houses the German capital’s newest and perhaps most unusual mosque, Seyran Ates is staging a feminist revolution of the Muslim faith. [...] The inaugural Friday prayers at Berlin’s Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque came to a close — offering a different vision of Islam on a continent that is locked in a bitter culture war over how and whether to welcome the faith. Toxic ills like radicalization, Ates and her supporters argue, have a potentially easy fix: the introduction of a more progressive, even feminist brand of the faith.

As Imam Omar Shaheed looked out at the 150 people who packed the Columbia Museum of Art’s auditorium Sunday night, he was struck by one thing. “We’re all different religions, but we have a humanity,” he said. “That’s really standing out.” Shaheed, imam at Masjid as-Salaam in Columbia, was part of the panel at “Dinner and Dialogue: Understanding Islam.” The discussion that was part of the event answered questions about the tenets of Islam, the most common misconceptions about the religion and the similarities between Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

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