The myth of the 1,400 year Sunni-Shia war

The ‘Sunni-Shia conflict’ narrative is misguided at best and disingenuous at worst, suggests author.by Murtaza Hussain 9 Jul 2013 During the period of European rule over Rwanda, the Belgian colonial administrators of the territory accomplished an extraordinary feat in their subjugation of the local population – the deliberate manufacture of new ethnic divisions. By formulating ethnic categorisations based on subjective judgments of Rwandans’ height and skin colour, the Belgians sought to keep the Rwandan people at odds with one another and subservient to them. Entirely fabricated histories and genealogies were concocted for the “Hutu” and “Tutsi” peoples, although these terms themselves … Continue reading The myth of the 1,400 year Sunni-Shia war

Diversity in Islam for Beginners

Roughly 1 in 5 of the world’s population is Muslim – that’s over 1.5 billion people. Yet for all the talk about a global society with the information technology revolution bringing knowledge to the masses, what most westerners from non-Muslim backgrounds know about Islam can be written on the back of a small postage stamp. So here then is a crash course. Fundamentalism? Islam, like Christianity is an expansionist religion rather than the traditionalist beliefs of a closed community. This is particularly true of the Caliphates established after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Conscious of itself as a new … Continue reading Diversity in Islam for Beginners

Study shows diversity of Muslims’ beliefs

Muslims worldwide are united in their belief in Allah and the Prophet Muhammad, but their views on other aspects of Islam vary widely, a study shows. Age plays a major role in determining a Muslim’s religious conviction. The cafes are empty, and the streets are remarkably quiet. People in Morocco’s capital Rabat are waiting for the sun to sink – only then are they allowed to eat and drink. It is Ramadan, a month in which many Muslims fast during the day as part of a holy ritual. There are hold-outs, including a group of young Moroccans who go by … Continue reading Study shows diversity of Muslims’ beliefs

Muslim diversity: Islam and local tradition in Java and Sulawesi, Indonesia

Muhammad Ali Abstract Based on some historical and anthropological accounts, this article examines a dynamic interplay between Islam and local tradition in Indonesia with special reference to Java and Sulawesi. It explains how local Muslims differed in their interpretation and application of Islam. It looks at processes of religious change as a world religion interacts with local forces. The “localization” of Islam was a constant feature in the expansion of Islam beyond the Arab homeland, including Southeast Asia. Based on the framework of ‘practical Islam’, rather than ‘normative Islam’, and on the framework of both accommodation and conflict between shari’ah … Continue reading Muslim diversity: Islam and local tradition in Java and Sulawesi, Indonesia

ARABIC COFFEE: UNDERSTANDING DIVERSITY IN ISLAM

The first people to observe the energizing power of coffee were probably the Oromo, an ethnic group indigenous to what is now Ethiopia. From there, coffee spread to Egypt and Yemen. The earliest credible evidence of coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee plant dates back to the mid-15th century, in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen. The fact that millions of people start their day with a nice cup of coffee can be traced back to one of the tariqas (orders) of Sufism, the mystical interpretation of Islam. This reflection, so out of place for a Monday morning, led my thoughts to … Continue reading ARABIC COFFEE: UNDERSTANDING DIVERSITY IN ISLAM

Divisions, divides and diversity in Islam in South Asia

Ali Usman Qasmi Aziz Ahmad was probably the first scholar to write a cultural history of Islam in India. His 1961 book, Studies in Islamic Culture in the Indian Environment, is a path-breaking survey of 1,200 years of Muslim presence in the Indian subcontinent. It explores how, throughout this time, there has been opposition as well as accommodation, even borrowing and assimilation, between Muslims and non-Muslims living in this part of the world. Ahmad wrote another pioneering work, Islamic Modernism in India and Pakistan, 1857-1964, that deals with the impacts of modernity and colonialism on Muslims living in the two countries. Even … Continue reading Divisions, divides and diversity in Islam in South Asia

The World’s Muslims: Unity and Diversity

The world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are united in their belief in God and the Prophet Muhammad and are bound together by such religious practices as fasting during the holy month of Ramadan and almsgiving to assist people in need. But they have widely differing views about many other aspects of their faith, including how important religion is to their lives, who counts as a Muslim and what practices are acceptable in Islam, according to a worldwide survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. The survey, which involved more than 38,000 face-to-face interviews in over 80 … Continue reading The World’s Muslims: Unity and Diversity

Ideological Roots of Faith based Violence & Terrorism – Interview by Caleb Maupin

Political Analyst & Journalist Caleb Maupin sits down with 3 of the 4 editors of “Faith Based Violence & Militancy in Pakistan” including: Professor Jawad Syed, ‎Professor at Suleman Dawood School of Business, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Professor Tahir Kamran, Dean of Arts & Social Science, Government College University. Lahore, Pakistan Professor Edwina Pio, University Director of Diversity, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. Continue reading Ideological Roots of Faith based Violence & Terrorism – Interview by Caleb Maupin

From Karachi to San Bernadino: In Quest of an Alternative Discourse on Terrorism

In the aftermath of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks, the world can no longer afford apologist and politically correct discourses on terrorism. Jawad Syed In the aftermath of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks, the world can no longer afford apologist and politically correct discourses on terrorism. During my recent trip to Pakistan to attend an international educational and cultural conference in Karachi, I had an interesting discussion on the Paris attacks. A warm and friendly American academic colleague suggested how terrorism could be attributed to U.S. foreign policy failure and mentioned Iraq as an example. He opined that … Continue reading From Karachi to San Bernadino: In Quest of an Alternative Discourse on Terrorism