President Obama in Cairo

In what has been widely billed as a major step in his promised effort to reach out to the Muslim community worldwide, President Barack Obama gave a speech entitled “New Beginnings” at Cairo University last week. The president did not, however, directly address conflicts between the West and the Muslim world. Instead, he tried to set a new tone in favor of global dialogue and to that end he was successful.

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“Meet the Taqwacores” on MSNBC

A couple of weeks ago, Inside Islam aired a radio show on “The Taqwacores” and we posted a series of blog entries on the punk movement in the US. You can listen to the broadcast and browse all of the posts about Taqwacores on Inside Islam by clicking here.

The following video from NBC Nightly News features our guests from that radio show — author of The Taqwacores Michael Muhammad Knight and drummer for the Kominas Imran Malik. The video highlights other individuals and bands who are also struggling to articulate this new Muslim punk genre of music and what it means to a mainstream audience.

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Altmuslimah and Prom

Photo by Jean Pieri of The Pioneer Press.

Photo by Jean Pieri / The Pioneer Press.

Altmuslimah is a branch of altmuslim, a blog we’ve written about before on Inside Islam that has critical, independent thought on Islam today. Altmuslimah, on the other hand, focuses on the gender divide within Islam and opens up discussion about important issues like the women’s movement for equality in Islam recently launched as The Musawah Movement. Here in this post on Inside Islam, we outlined the emerging debates and global significance of such a movement and invite readers to leave their own thoughts as well.

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Islam and the Media

What should Muslims do to improve the relationship between Islam and the media in America? In this short digital story, Kemal H. Karpat, a prominent historian, talks about informing the public about Islam and mass media in a post-9/11 world. Dr. Karpat is a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and is of Crimean Tatar descent. You can listen to today’s story on “Islam and the media” by clicking on the player below.

This digital story was produced by Fatima Sartbaeva and the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Fatima also produced Inside Islam’s first digital story entitled “The Sound and Feeling of the Koran.”

Asra Nomani: “A Bad Girl of Islam”

Upcoming Documentary A Mosque in Morgantown

Upcoming Documentary A Mosque in Morgantown

The Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog recently posted video of a two-part conversation with Asra Nomani, journalist, Muslim activist, and feminist. She is also part of the upcoming documentary The Mosque In Morgantown about a Muslim community in West Virginia.

“On Faith” hosts the blog of another prominent Muslim-American voice, the founder of the Interfaith Youth Core Eboo Patel who is a regular contributor to the site. His entries can be found on “The Faith Divide.”

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The Taqwacores Movement

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A Kominas Poster at SWSC by graphic designer Toufic El Rassi

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about punk Islam in response to the LA Times’Islam, the Koran, and Lots of Questions.” Michael Muhammad Knight’s book about Muslim youth and the American punk music scene, The Taqwacores, as well as a band called The Kominas were mentioned in the last post. Today, I return to these subjects because The Taqwacores will also be the focus of the next Inside Islam radio show, airing this Thursday.

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The Sound and Feeling of the Koran

Today, we introduce a new element of Inside Islam — digital stories. These short pieces will complement our radio series and blog to help exemplify and demonstrate the diversity of the Muslim World. This first digital story was produced by Fatima Sartbaeva and the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. You can listen to the story — “The Sound and Feeling of the Koran” — by clicking on the player following the introductory comments and acknowledgments.

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Hip-Hop Documentaries

An emerging trend is the appearance of films about Muslim hip-hop. Today on Inside Islam: Dialogues and Debates, we quickly outline three of them and include their trailers below. First, the upcoming Deen Tight is a film about how hip-hop has influenced the lives of Muslims around the world, starting in the United States. Second, Slingshot Hip-Hop follows Palestinian rappers as they examine their experiences of being discriminated in the region and their Arab roots. Rather than follow a group of musicians, the last documentary New Muslim Cool, focuses on the story of Puerto Rican American rapper Hamza Perez who stopped using drugs twelve years ago, converted to Islam, and now is part of the rap duo M-team.

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The Musawah Movement

A group of women from around the world met in Malaysia to launch the Musawah movement for gender equality and family law reform (photo via Musawah.org).

A group of women from around the world met in Malaysia to launch the Musawah movement for gender equality and family law reform (photo via Musawah.org).

Soon after religious authorities outlawed yoga earlier this year, Muslim women asked, “what next?” Irritated and outraged by their mistreatment and angered by the horrors of domestic violence, hundreds of Muslim women from around the world gathered last February in Malaysia. This global meeting marked the official launch of the Musawah movement for equal rights and family reform.

An organization of working professionals called Sisters in Islam led planning of the movement and the launch event. For an interview with Sisters in Islam program manager Norhayati Kaprawi, visit the page for our Inside Islam radio show “Women and Sharia.” Women involved in the Malaysian conference also included scholars, doctors, lawyers, and even bloggers who represented countries from across the globe.

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Digital Islam

In an earlier post here on Inside Islam, we discussed “Understanding Islam Through Virtual Worlds,” a documentary in the online world of Second Life. The term we used to describe the project — “digital Islam” — is actually a popular term. In fact, a research project under the same name follows similar developments more broadly. As the tagline for Digital Islam says, the site follows “research on the Middle East, Islam, and digital media.”

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