It is important that we speak about Islam...Most of what we see and read about Islam is composed of horror stories that appall. What we don't receive is positive images of everyday people going about their everyday business who just happen to be Muslim. The "Holy Kitchens" films have it as their goal to foster a greater understanding and fellowship among followers of different faiths.

Muslim Americans are now more optimistic about their lives than any other major American faith group... Authors of the study said they attributed the change in outlook to improved economic conditions and a sense of more political enfranchisement since the election of President Barack Obama, a Christian with Muslim family roots who has reached out to Muslim communities worldwide.

A year after controversy engulfed plans to build a Muslim community center and mosque in Lower Manhattan, the project’s developers are quietly moving ahead: In recent months they have hired a paid staff, started fund-raising drives and continued holding prayers and cultural events in their existing building two blocks from ground zero.

Blair's further message is that the growing aggressive secularism in the West is the wrong response. It misreads and misconceives the nature of the 21st century and the best path to social harmony in a more globalised world... Blair is a champion of both hard and soft power.... Because the struggle is against an extremist ideology it must be met by a soft power strategy in terms of the battle of ideas.

By grabbing our attention with mass, incomprehensible murders, terrorists do much more than just try to silence these voices for a moment. They also hack away at the level of trust needed for reasoned discourse. The attacks make it easier for fearful people to believe extremists speak for whole societies and, that in turn, only advances the terrorists' own cause.

In Norway, to speak negatively about any aspect of the Muslim faith has always been a touchy matter, inviting charges of "Islamophobia" and racism. It will, I fear, be a great deal more difficult to broach these issues now that this murderous madman has become the poster boy for the criticism of Islam.

July 21, 2011

Nowadays, we call this phenomenon globalization: "the intensification of economic, political, social and cultural relations across borders,"... But make no mistake: the world that Ibn Battuta experienced in his travels nearly 700 years ago was as globalized as the world we live in today.

The British Museum is to stage a major exhibition dedicated to the hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca. Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam will bring together historic and contemporary objects – including manuscripts, textiles, archaeological items and photography – to explore the experience and importance of the pilgrimage. The museum's director said it would enable a global audience to deepen their understanding of the significance and history of the hajj.