A more important story than the headscarf debate
The current European headlines are dominated by France and Belgium’s impending face-veil legislation, but there is another, more important, story that isn’t getting as much attention—that of a quiet revolution throughout Europe of Muslim women emerging onto the political scene.
One of the most prominent examples is that of Salma Yaqoob in the UK. Yaqoob, a prospective parliament candidate, is the most prominent Muslim woman in British public life today. She herself wears a headscarf, a powerful symbol of a faith she has accommodated with her passionate leftwing politics. She represents UK’s Respect party and has a pretty good chance of making history as one of the first British Muslim women MPs. There are other Muslim women running for seats in Birmingham, Bethnal Green, Bolton South and other cities.
Sadly, however, by virtue of being both Muslim and women, Yaqoob and others face opposition from all sides who don’t believe …
Rabbinic Text Calling for Terror: What Can We Learn?
This introduces a kind of literary authoritative text in Judaism called a ‘P’sak’. A P’sak is quite similar to an Islamic Fatwa. Remember way back in the day, just a few years ago, when everyone in the West became obsessed with Fatwas that were supportive of harming civilians? What has emerged is a parallel development in the Israeli Jewish world. There are indications of some pretty terrible things emerging in the shadows of the radical Christian community that also parallel this. Protestants, for example, when they get nasty, don’t make legal decisions for a variety of theological reasons, but they do start ‘praying’, like praying for a president’s death. But that is not our subject right now.
A P’sak and a Fatwa have another thing in common, they are not as authoritative as they look from the outside because so many people claim this authority. On the other hand, it …
Sheikh Qaradawi and the Concept of Jihad
I am not a fan of Sheikh Qaradawi. I think his response to violence in the name of Islam was extremely disappointing in the first decade of the twenty-first century, and I have not seen him as helpful to a peaceful and just settlement of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict nor toward the development of a more tolerant form of Islam. He has consistently refused so far many overtures from a variety of Jewish rabbis to engage him. Put bluntly, he only seems to have rejected suicide terrorism as illegitimate when thousands of Muslims were dying at the hands of other Muslims. In other words, he found his moral compass on jihad when it was affecting his own group.
That having been said, the fact is there are many parallels in the Jewish world to rabbinic leaders who refuse to engage Christians and whose Halakhic interpretations are entirely intolerant. They too will …
‘Jews who sell to Arabs are enemies’
‘Jews who sell to Arabs are enemies’
By Matthew Wagner
A Jew who sells land to an Arab in Israel should not be allowed to lead prayers in synagogue, should not be given the right to make a blessing during the Torah reading, should not be counted among the quorum needed for public prayers and is considered an abettor to the enemies of Israel, according to a halachic decision issued on Monday night by a group of rabbis calling themselves “The New Sanhedrin.”
What astonishes are the last lines of this piece:
Eliyahu said that in his own city of Safed, a Jew who sold to an Arab was boycotted by the community. “He owned a grocery store and people boycotted it.”
Halacha forbids the sale of land in Israel owned by Jews to non-Jews. However, there is nothing in Jewish law that prevents someone who does so from
Saira Yamin on TO MAKE THE EARTH WHOLE
ICAR Ph.D. candidate Saira Yamin’s article in The News, a leading newspaper in Pakistan, reviewing my latest book, To Make the Earth Whole: The Art of Citizen Diplomacy in an Age of Religious Militancy:
People to People Contact
By Saira Yamin
The News, August 8, 2009
Excerpt from the Article:
“Positive change is more often pioneered by individuals of courage,” writes Marc Gopin, a rabbi, peacemaker, and scholar. His new book To Make the Earth Whole: The Art of Citizen Diplomacy in an Age of Religious Militancy offers invaluable insights for those who want to make the world a more peaceful place. The narrative evolves in the backdrop of the post 9/11 clash of civilizations, whereby fissures between the West and Islam appear to be growing. Gopin observes that relations between the United States and Syria in particular are mired in distrust and hostility. Former President of the United
Beyond the Walls of Hatred: Initiatives of Change Conference on Human Security
I met a fascinating group of people from around the world at Caux, Switzerland a few weeks ago. The man who wrote this article was part of a large contingent from India and Pakistan who had some very serious and exciting exchanges under the able guidance of Mr. Rajmohan Gandhi, former parliamentarian, veteran peacemaker and distinguished author.
Beyond the walls of hatred
By Jawad Naqvi
An excerpt from the article:
Mr Ahmadinejad would do well to get invited to Caux and to listen to Prof Marc Gopin’s views on the states’ culpability in arming militant groups on both sides of the equation. He would gain amazingly fresh insights from the intervention by Jakob Finci, the president of the Jewish community in Bosnia, about the efforts of a small community of Bosnian Jews, Christians and Muslims to build a life together.
Marc Gopin, a rabbi, is the James H. Laue
Obama’s Challenge to the Muslim World
Obama’s Challenge to the Muslim World
(excerpts below come from here)
The historic significance of President Obama’s speech to the Muslim world in Cairo cannot be overstated.
Never before has an American president spoken to the global Muslim community. His speech marked a major shift in American foreign policy. Obama directly enlisted a religion to build global peace and to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, end nuclear proliferation and stop terrorism.
In just a few sentences he demolished the phony theory of the “Clash of Civilizations,” which insists that Islam and the West must always be in conflict. Instead, he declared the United States is not at war with Islam and outlined a plan for how the conflict can be resolved.
Perhaps most important, he put religion at the core of the peacemaking process. For too long, Americans had come to fear Islam as an
LA TIMES REPORTS:Bible Texts Misused in Rumsfeld Reports, Religious Leaders Say
I spent almost an hour on the phone with this excellent reporter, Manya A. Brachear, who wrote the Los Angeles Times story. The more I studied the pictures the more horrified I became that this man was running the United States military, and that our country was actually engaged in a Christian crusade in the eyes of so many of its soldiers. I am so glad the reporter gathered the responses of the Christian community and I do hope that, as I said in the article, there is a bipartisan Christian effort to put this dark period behind us in the United States.
Here is an excerpt:
One passage plucked from the New Testament’s Epistle to the Ephesians instructs believers to “put on the full armor of God.”
An excerpt from the Old Testament’s Isaiah directs them to “open the gates that the righteous nation may enter.”
Popes Promoting Peace: Why Not? And What is the Big Fuss in Israel?
A curious animosity has arisen on several sides of the Pope’s visit to Israel. Israeli Members of Parliament as well as very prominent rabbis took every opportunity to snipe at every word the Pope did say, should have not said, or should have said. As I watched the media blitz unfold I was amazed at the acrimony. Roi Ben Yehuda, however, has a positive essay on the Pope’s visit and the potential role of peacemaking for religious leaders. Also, various rabbis of the United States and the world were far more generous in welcoming the Pope to Israel.
I understand policy differences with the Pope. Most of the world has one policy difference or another with this conservative Pope. I also understand that his conservative moves with regard to liturgy have angered Jews who see his reintroduction of a prayer hoping for the conversion of the Jews as detrimental …