This past Saturday, February 4th, Muslims around the world celebrated the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday or as it’s known in Arabic, Mawlid al-Nabi. While the exact day is not known with certainty, the Prophet’s birthday is usually celebrated on the 12th day of Rabi Al-Awwal, the third month of the Islamic calendar. Even though this day is a holiday in many Muslim majority countries, Muslims do not agree on whether this day should be celebrated at all. Continue reading
In her memoir, The Bread of Angels, Stephanie Saldana wrote about an Italian Jesuit who restored a tenth century monastery near Damascus, and then dedicated it to Muslim/Christian dialogue. Father Paulo was recently forced into exile by the Assad regime, but he’s back. Stephanie joins us with an update.
With strong ties to the historical Turkish-Ottoman Empire, the Balkan countries of Southeastern Europe contain several Muslim-majority states. Islam is the dominant religion in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo. Other Balkan countries with significant Muslim minority populations include Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, and Montenegro. Religious worship was generally prohibited in these countries until the collapse of the Soviet government in the 1990’s. Religion and ethnicity remain closely linked in these countries and discrimination and tensions continue to be reported. Continue reading