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Author: iqradotca

New Muslim Cool is Islam as you have never seen it

(June 3, 2009) – It is hip-hop as you have probably never heard it. This new film, which opens the 22nd season of P.O.V., PBS’s award-winning nonfiction film series, gives audiences an insider’s view of a little-known cultural fusion between Muslims and street beats that has been developing since the very beginnings of hip-hop culture. The result is a surprising challenge to stereotypes of both Muslims and urban youth in America that encourages viewers to look critically at the “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West.  Jennifer Maytorena Taylor’s New Muslim Cool has its national broadcast premiere on PBS (P.O.V.) on Tuesday, June 23, 2009, at 10 p.m. (Check local listings.) New Muslim Cool is more than another hybrid hip-hop story. It’s also the story of a man coming of age, facing his deepest questions about his faith, trying to keep his family safe and learning how to hold himself accountable. A decade ago, Hamza Pérez, born Jason, was a drug dealer on America’s mean streets. The child of Puerto Rican parents, he had two recurring, competing dreams at night: in one he was in prison by age 21, and in the other he was dead. New Muslim Cool is the story of how, as Hamza laughingly puts it, “both [dreams] came true,” albeit in unpredictable ways.  Indeed, when Hamza was 21, he was hanging out with friends...

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Tariq Ramadan addresses the issue of Islam and homosexuality

The Islamic position on homosexuality has become one of the most sensitive issues facing Muslims living in the West, particularly in Europe. It is being held up as the key to any eventual “integration” of Muslims into Western culture, as if European culture and values could be reduced to the simple fact of accepting homosexuality. The contours of this de facto European culture is in a state of constant flux, shifting according to the topic of the day. Just as some insist, as do the Pope and certain intellectuals—often dogmatic and exclusivist defenders of the Enlightenment—that Europe’s roots are Greek and Christian (thus excluding Muslims), so several homosexual spokesman and the politicians who support them are now declaring (with an identical rejection of Muslims) that the “integration of Muslims” depends on their acceptance of homosexuality. The contradiction is a serious one: does Christianity, which forms the root structure of European culture, and which purports to embody European values and identity, not condemn homosexuality? A curious marriage. Unless the contradiction is intended to stigmatize Islam and Muslims by presenting them as “the Other”… without fear of self-contradiction. We must reiterate, as does Isabelle Levy in “Soins et croyances” [1] that all the worlds’ major religions and spiritual traditions—from the majority view in Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism to Christianity and Islam—condemn and forbid homosexuality. The great majority of rabbis hold the...

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Obama’s Address to Muslims Highly Anticipated

(June 2, 2009) – President Barack Obama will be speaking about the relationship between the United States and Muslims at the University of Cairo in Egypt on Thursday, June 4. On his way to Cairo, the president will stop Wednesday in Saudi Arabia, where he’ll meet in Riyadh with Saudi King Abdullah The Cairo speech is being billed as an address to the Muslim world. White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, previewed the speech: “The speech will outline his personal commitment to engagement, based upon mutual interests and mutual respect. He will discuss how the United States and Muslim communities around the world can bridge some of the differences that have divided them. “He will review particular issues of concern, such as violent extremism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And he will discuss new areas for partnership going forward that serve the mutual interests of our people.” Madeleine K. Albright, the U.S. secretary of state from 1997 to 2001, writes in the Op-ed section of the New York Times (Obama’s Muslim Speech, June 2 2009) that the President speech should also be addressing Americans who need to learn more about Muslims: “Although the president will be speaking to a Muslim audience about American policy, it is equally important that he address the audience in the United States. Muslims abroad need to embrace a more accurate picture of America; but Americans...

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Egypt’s Mufti Rules Against WMD

(June 1, 2009) – The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheik Ali Gomaa, has issued a ruling stating that Muslims should not use weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as such weapons would violate Islamic teachings as Muslims as well as non-Muslims could be killed. MENA, the Egyptian state news agency, said that Gomaa issued the ruling (fatwa) as a clarification to reports that the use of such weapons was legitimate. He called that suggestion “a lie and a fraud”. The Grand Mufti further went on to say that Muslim countries could acquire such weapons as a deterrent. Ali Gomaa was appointed Grand Mufti in late September 2003 by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, replacing former Mufti, Sheikh Mohamed Ahmed El-Tayeb. As Grand Mufti, he oversees the premier institution in the Muslim world for religious legal direction, Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah. Since his appointment as Grand Mufti, he has become a leading advocate for moderation, and an outspoken critic of extremist...

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Only building of its kind in Canada

(May 31, 2009) Doors Open Toronto celebrated its 10th anniversary on May 23-24, 2009. One-hundred-and-seventy-five buildings of architectural, historic, cultural and/or social significance opened their doors to the public. Highlights this year included the ornately detailed BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu Temple. The temple, known as a Mandir, is Canada’s first traditionally hand carved stone and marble Mandir built according to the principles of ancient Indian Shilpshastras, in an extraordinary tradition that dates back many millennia. All the masonry of a Hindu Mandir is in itself load bearing, with no reinforcement from ferrous material such as steel, even in the foundations! Thousands of tonnes of fine marble and limestone have been hand-carved by 1,800 skilled craftsmen. There is no structural steel used in the construction and it is built to last more than 1,000 years. The temple cost $40 million to build. The funds were raised by Hindu communities worldwide. The Mandir shares its home with the Canadian Museum of Cultural Heritage of Indo-Canadians....

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