Among the negative images of Islam is that apostasy is believed to be punishable by execution. The most recent example of this is in Iran where a pastor was convicted of apostasy and faces execution by hanging. Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was born to Muslim parents but did not practice Islam. He converted to Christianity when he was 19 and is now a pastor in the Protestant Evangelical Church of Iran. Nadrakhani was arrested in October 2009 when he protested that his son was forced to read from the Qur’an. Iranian state media, however, later reported that the real charges were rape, extortion, and security-related crimes. His case has received international attention and pressure has been put on the Iranian government to release him. Continue reading
In a country where women have been told their stories do not matter, and have been threatened for telling them, women still muster the courage to write about themselves, even at the risk of severe punishment. The Afghan Women Writers Project is a US based organization dedicated to bringing their stories to light.
In January 2009, several UW-Madison professors visited Senegal, where a Muslim majority and a Christian minority peacefully coexist. The group talked to Sara Erickson, a junior student from UW-Madison who was studying abroad in Senegal. In the video clip below, Sara reflects on her life-changing experience and shares her favorite phrase in the local Wolof language.