Islam and the Reality of Women’s Power

Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser Al Missned speaking at the U.N. Photo: Maher Attar/HHOPL

The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (RISSC) in Amman, Jordan, recently released the third edition of The Muslim 500, an annual publication highlighting the movers and shakers of the Muslim world. From Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan to Sufi scholar Seyyed Hussein Nasr, the list compiles a wide range of personalities from all corners of the globe. Unsurprisingly, Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud topped the list, with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an placing third and Iranian Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei taking fifth.

As usually happens when anyone tries to quantify popularity or prestige, there was disagreement on the blogosphere over the rankings, compounded by the fact that  Muslim 500 does not clearly define its exact criteria. But my primary concern with the list is that only 13% of those featured are women, with a mere three making the top 50 most influential.

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World Interfaith Harmony Week


Sufi meditation in Lodz, Poland, dialogue workshops in Jerusalem, and a conference in Abuja, Nigeria, to create a national inter-religious policy–these are just three of the hundreds of interfaith events that will take place over the next seven days across six continents as part of the second annual World Interfaith Harmony Week. The UN now recognizes every first week of February as World Interfaith Harmony Week, an initiative introduced by King Abdullah II of Jordan at the UN General Assembly in September 2010 and unanimously adopted by that body in under a month. Both King Abdullah II and his wife, Queen Rania, have been among the most outspoken leaders on interfaith dialogue and peace; their hometown of Amman, Jordan, will host a number of interfaith events in the coming days.

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