Religion News

Top Egyptian Cleric Tackles Extremism

Jun 19, 2013
Grand Mufti Mohammed Ali Goma’a has warned that the rising tide of sectarianism threatens to tear Egyptian society apart. Egypt’s highest authority on Islamic law has argued that religious leaders have a responsibility to challenge extremist narratives. He discussed challenges to Christian-Muslim relations with Bishop Mouneer Hanna Anis, the Anglican bishop of Egypt and North Africa, at a June 14 event hosted by the United States of Peace.

U.S. Report on Religious Freedom in Middle East

May 20, 2013
Blasphemy and apostasy laws were applied in a discriminatory manner in several Middle Eastern and North African countries in 2012, according to a new report by the U.S. State Department. “These laws are frequently used to repress dissent, to harass political opponents, and to settle personal vendettas,” Secretary of State Kerry said on May 20.

Pew: Egyptians Favor Major Role for Islam in Politics

May 16, 2013
At least 60 percent of Egyptians prefer democracy to any other kind of government, according to new poll by the Pew Research Global Attitudes Project. Results suggest that Egyptians want Islam to play a major role in their democracy. About 58 percent of Egyptians say laws should strictly follow Koranic teachings while 28 percent contend that laws should reflect Islamic values and principles ― but not strictly follow the Koran. Only 11 percent do not think the Quran should influence national laws.

Lebanon’s Sheikhs Take on Assad and Hezbollah

May 10, 2013
Salafis are shaking up the fragile political balance among Muslims in Lebanon. The ultraconservative Sunnis—whose religious and social models come from the 7th century—are now stealing the limelight from Sunni and Shiite movements that have dominated politics since Lebanon gained independence in 1943.

Pew: U.S. Attitudes on Islam Post-Boston

May 07, 2013
The Boston Marathon bombings do not appear to have changed the public’s view of Islam. In a notable poll, about 42 percent of Americans say Islam is more likely to encourage violence than other religions, while 46 percent say Islam does not. Opinions reflected in the new survey are similar to those found in others from the past decade. But in March 2002 ― just six months after the 9/11 attacks ― only a quarter of respondents said Islam was more likely to encourage violence.

East European Studies Short-term Research Scholarships

May 02, 2013
The Wilson Center's European Studies Program is now accepting applications for the EES Short-term Grant competition, which is open to academic experts and practitioners, including advanced graduate students, engaged in specialized research requiring access to Washington, DC and its research institutions. Grants are for one month and include residence at the Wilson Center. Candidates must be U.S. citizens, in order to be considered eligible for this grant opportunity. The deadline for this grant cycle is: June 1, 2013.

Islam’s Powerful Role in the New Egypt

May 01, 2013
Islam is now playing a more powerful role in Egyptian public life more than a year after Islamist parties dominated parliamentary elections. But Egypt is not following Iran’s path toward theocracy, according to a new paper by Nathan Brown, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Women Challenge the Muslim Brotherhood

Apr 19, 2013
Responding to the Muslim Brotherhood, leading female activists are charging that Islam actually guarantees women wide-ranging rights–and that the largest Islamist movement in the Arab world merely wants to maintain male dominance. In March, the Brotherhood had warned that U.N. passage of a draft declaration on violence would lead to society’s “complete disintegration.” It said that the declaration contradicted Islamic principles by allowing women to have full sexual freedom and marry outside their faith while cancelling the need for a husband’s consent to “travel, work, or use of contraception.”

Muslim Speaks at Boston Marathon Memorial

Apr 18, 2013
Nasser Weddady, the Muslim representative at the Boston Marathon memorial service, quoted from the Koran to condemn the violence. “Whoever kills a soul, it is as if he killed mankind entirely. And whoever saves a life, it is as if he has saved all of mankind,” he told attendants, who included President Obama and other government officials. He called the attacks “an assault on our fundamental values” of liberty and freedom.

Violence Unsettles Tunisia’s Democratic Transition

Apr 12, 2013
Tunisia’s transition to democracy is seriously threatened by violence following the assassination of a prominent leftist politician in February, according to a new paper by David Ottaway. The killing of Chokri Belaid triggered a showdown between the moderate and fundamentalist wings of the Islamist Ennahda Party, which rules in coalition with two secular parties.

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