A Different Hate

Neil Padukone recently completed a visiting fellowship at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi. He is currently writing a book on the future of conflict in South Asia.

Image by RIDZDESIGN

A number of recent posts on the Inside Islam blog have highlighted the rise in xenophobic attitudes towards Muslims. The latest Inside Islam Radio Show spoke with Robert Wright, who discussed the latest wave of Islamophobia in the US and the parallels it may have with the history of homophobia.

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Muslim American Consumer Market Emerging

Lisa Mabe is the Founder and Principal of Hewar Social Communications, a consultancy focusing on Muslim and Middle Eastern consumer markets. Follow Lisa on Twitter @LisofArabia or go to www.hewarcommunications.com.

As we’re about to enter America’s largest annual shopping season, Muslim Americans just finished one of their biggest gift-giving seasons themselves – Eid al Adha. Most Americans are accustomed to seeing “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukah” in store windows during this time of year, but what would they think if they saw “Eid Mubarak” in their favorite store? It’s not that far off, and some companies are already reaching out to Muslim consumers around Islamic holidays where gift-giving is prevalent.

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Muslim Group Concerned about TSA Procedures

With so many people traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, the focus in the news has been the new TSA security procedures. At some airports, full body scanners are being required for everyone and if someone opts out of the scan they are subject to an “enhanced pat down.” Muslim groups are among the many who oppose these new procedures, especially the full body scanners.

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Using Islam to Fight for Animal Rights

November 19th marked the last day of the Eid Al-Adha celebrations. During this holiday, thousands of animals are slaughtered and their meat distributed to the needy. While the intention behind the slaughter is noble, many animal rights activists are concerned that animals are being mistreated.  Interestingly, these activists use an Islamic framework to make their case. Activists like Amina Abaza, the founder of the Society for the Protection of Animal Rights in Egypt (SPARE), argue that the questioned practices violate Islamic rules regarding animal rights. Continue reading

Female Imam Leads Eid Prayer

“By segregating [men and women during prayer], you sexualize the area in ways that it wouldn’t be sexualized if the area was mixed.”

Those are the words of Pamela Taylor, a European-American female imam who embraced Islam twenty-five years ago. This past Tuesday, Taylor led a mixed congregation of 50 men, women, and children observing the Eid Al-Adha prayer. There was nothing particularly exceptional about the content of the annual prayer, or khootbah (sermon), that followed, but a female Imam leading men and women praying side-by-side is anything but typical.

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Pilgrims Stand on Mount Arafat, while Muslims around the World Fast

Today, at the Plain of Arafat and Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia, two to three million pilgrims congregated to perform the most important rite of the hajj, or the pilgrimage. This site is significant because it is on the Mount of Mercy that the Prophet Muhammad gave his final sermon. Many pilgrims climb the hill and try to touch the pillar that marks this place.

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The Power of an Image

Big  beards, burning flags, women donning niqabs on a dusty road. I think we’re all a bit underwhelmed by the pathetic variety of images that we’re bombarded with on television related to Muslims and Islam. The saturation of media in all of its forms, from youtube to twitter to 24-hour cable news, has doused us with an unimaginable amount of imagery and information. And yet, only a very slim percentage of that content related to Muslims and Islam is positive.

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Local High School Tries to Understand Islam

On November 8th, Middleton High School held a day long event for their Human Rights’ Day called “Understanding Islam.” The event focused on the topics of Islam in the news and women and Islam. Jean Feraca, the host of the Inside Islam Radio Series, moderated the panel on Islam in the news and I was part of the panel on women and Islam.

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Can Humor Ease the Fear

The last month has seen an array of humor to counter the wave of Islamophobia that has been growing in the United States and other western countries with significant Muslim populations. A week ago, Comedy Central hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear that drew an estimated 200,000 people, and featured many jokes poking fun at the ridiculousness of Islamophobia within the United States.

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Where Are the Violent Muslim Extremists?

A photo of a Christian, Muslim, and Hindu child holding signs representing their respective faiths

India’s secular democracy was tested with the latest ruling from a regional High Court dividing up the land of a religious site holy to both Muslims and Hindus. The disputed area lies in the center of Ayodhya, a sleepy north Indian town that normally sees more cows in the street than cars.  But it hasn’t always been sleepy.

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