Being Banned: An Inside Islam recap


The Islamic Center is Murfreesboro, TN. Photo: tennessean.com

The Islamic Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is in the news again. The last time Inside Islam covered the center, it had been delayed on a procedural technicality. Most recently, a federal judge overruled that decision, and the center is expected to open sometime this month, hopefully in time for Eid ul-Fitr at the end of Ramadan.

This development gives us an opportunity to reflect on similar stories that we have covered over the years. Rather than an isolated case of pushback against Islam, the Murfreesboro debate is just one example of attempts to ban or otherwise stifle expressions of faith. As I went through the Inside Islam archives, it really struck me what a monumental torrent of hate and Islamophobia Muslims are up against.

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Islam in France


Praying in the streets was banned in France in 2011. Photo: Bbc.co.uk

A recent article in National Geographic speculates that Marseilles may become the first city in Europe with a majority Muslim population. Official statistics are unavailable, but experts estimate that about 30 percent of the southeastern French city is Muslim.

Although the city is known for its tolerance, France as a whole is not, especially when it comes to its Muslim population. The country is home to about 6 million Muslims (the largest number in Western Europe), and is known for its bans on burqas, niqab, and for considering banning halal meat. Praying in the streets was also banned in 2011. At the end of 2011, the French Council of the Muslim Faith, an umbrella organization for various Muslim groups, released a study saying Islamophobia is on the rise in the country.

I spoke with John Bowen, Professor of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis about Islam in France. Bowen is the author of Can Islam be French? Pluralism and Pragmatism in a Secularist State. Continue reading

The Debate Over Music

Duff/Daff (Source: chandrakantha.com)

One of the controversial topics that Muslim scholars have debated throughout Islam’s history is whether music and singing are halal (permissible) or haraam (forbidden). As I mentioned in an earlier post on the singer and songwriter Maher Zain, Muslims vary in their opinions on music. Since this topic has been extensively discussed and most of the opinions either way can be very lengthy, in this post I will just summarize some of the key points on the contention over the issue of music and singing. Continue reading

Banning Halal Meat?

Muslims in the United Kingdom have a new challenge facing them. Following attempts by other European nations like France, some British politicians have called for a ban on any meat that comes from an animal which has not been stunned before slaughter. Thus, the ban affects halal (sometimes also called dhabiha or zabiha) and kosher meats.

According to supporters of the ban, the manner in which Muslims and Jews traditionally slaughter is more painful to the animal than stunning the animal first and then slaughtering it. As in the Jewish tradition, Muslims have a particular manner in which they must slaughter an animal. The animal’s throat is slit to induce quick bleeding to reduce suffering. In order to do this, Muslims are instructed to make sure that the knife is sharpened. Also, in order to be as humane as possible, the knife should not be sharpened in front of any animals and one animal should not be slaughtered in front of another. Continue reading

Muslims and Jews in America: The Most American of All?

Muslim and Jewish students at a recent co-existence dinner at the University of Wisconsin. Photo: Muslim Jewish Volunteer Initiative

On college campuses where significant numbers of Muslims and Jews study, it may not be surprising to find that they have negative perceptions of one another. To characterize the overall dynamic between these two groups as tense is generally not accurate–there have been a number of service-based/interfaith dialogue initiatives between them–but the reality is that many students from both groups have been raised in environments that instil deep distrust for one another, sometimes bordering on hatred. And this is despite the fact that Muslims and Jews have shared more common experiences with each other living in a Christian-dominant US than with any other group.  Continue reading

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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“Islam in China” Webzine

Muslim Cook in Yunan (via Islam in China)

Muslim Cook in Yunan (via Islam in China)

Earlier this month, Islam in China was introduced to the blogosphere as a way to learn about all things Muslim and Islamic in Chinese culture. Points of interest are the journal of an American Muslim in China, as well as the upcoming interviews with Chinese Americans. The site was born out of a popular blog, started in 2007, under the same name.

Are their similar sites that clear up misconceptions about Muslim communities in other countries? Will you point them out here on Inside Islam? Please leave a link in the comments section or send us an email about the site.