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Indonesia: Radical Muslims’ parties lose support

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Bravo, Indonesia!

The world’s largest Muslim nation rejects radicals at the polls:

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Indonesia’s Voters Retreat From Radical Islam

Session of the Indonesian People's Representat...
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[H]ere in the world’s most populous Muslim nation […] Islamic parties [are] suffering a steep drop in popular support. […]

In parliamentary elections this month, voters punished Islamic parties that focused narrowly on religious issues, and even the parties’ best efforts to appeal to the country’s mainstream failed to sway the public.[…]

The party had projected that it would double its share of seats in Parliament even as it stuck to its founding goal of bringing Shariah, or Islamic law, to Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation, with 240 million people. […]

Altogether, the major Islamic parties suffered a drop in support from 38 percent in 2004 to less than 26 percent this year […]

[F]undamentalist measures seem to have alienated moderate Indonesians […]

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What’s to admire about Muslims?

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After I posted What Muslims Really Think, a reader left an important comment. You won’t find it pleasant, for it points to one of the more famous weaknesses of Americans: we don’t know much about the rest of the world. But it is important, and it is honestly asked, and so, where else can we begin? Here’s the comment (and I wince):

I cannot think of one think I admire about Muslims, or should I say Islam, since I have met individual Muslims that I do admire. I was wondering if you could list some of the things you admire about Islam that I might consider.

Honest Poet offered a collection of grand ideas at that same thread. And here’s my own first offering: excerpts from a post by Eboo Patel, founder and director of the Interfaith Youth Corps (found thru Clipmarks excellent clipper Arifsali, who found it in the Washington Post/Newsweek’s On Faith). Emphases are mine.

Iboo Patel

The Spell of Islamophobia

A few weeks ago, I was on Radio Times, the mid-morning talk show on Philadelphia Public Radio. […]

I spoke about how Muslim history and theology support religious pluralism. I talked about many of my Muslim heroes, scholars and activists like Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir who have articulated visions of a world where people from different backgrounds come together in positive ways. I described my book, Acts of Faith, which tells my story of how the discovery of my Muslim identity inspired me to start the Interfaith Youth Core. (Listen to the podcast) […]

The phones started ringing off the hooks. The callers basically had two questions: “Why don’t Muslims condemn terrorism?” And, “Where are the moderate Muslim voices?” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

March 14, 2008 at 11:52 pm

Posted in Islam, Religion

What a Billion Muslims Really Think

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“[N]o one in Washington had any idea what 1.3 billion Muslims were thinking, and yet we were working on intricate strategies that were going to change the world for all time.” (-Jim Clifton, Gallup Chairman and CEO.) But there’s good news:

Muslims prayingIn order to discover what Muslims truly think, Gallup spent 6 years interviewing nearly 50,000 Muslims from 35 countries representing the most comprehensive analysis of the wishes, desires, grievances, complaints, and opinions of nearly 1.3 billion Muslims.

The results were collected and analyzed by John L. Esposito, a leading American expert on Islam and University Professor at Georgetown, and Dalia Mogahed, a senior analyst and executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, in their new, groundbreaking work: “Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think.

Get it? For the first time, ever, we have a basis for saying “most Muslims are of the opinion … “ And the conclusions may shake things up.

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When Muslims are asked, “Do they admire anything about the West?” contrast that to Americans when asked, “What do you admire about Muslims?” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

March 6, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Iraqi Christians greet Muslims before Ramadan

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“We need signs of dialogue in Iraq, otherwise, all is lost”. This is what the Chaldean Archbishop of Kirkuk, Msgr. Louis Sako maintains …
[He] invites the Christian faithful of his diocese to unite themselves in prayer to their “Muslim brothers” in Iraq, during Ramadan, Islam’s holy month. …
The prelate – who yesterday issued a copy of his greetings in Arabic … has published a calendar of Ramadan rites and has distributed it to over 3 thousand families in the city…
During this period – Msgr. Sako has invited [Iraqi Christians] “to respect the feelings of Muslim citizens, not to eat and to drink publicly during this month, and not to ware [sic] indecent dress, and to join them in praying for … unity, stability, and [safety for] the lives and dignity of Iraqis”…
“Ramadan” – continues his message – “is a special time of prayer and progress in virtue, reconciliation and forgiveness, compassion and peace … to realize a society of love, harmony, truth and justice…

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Bravo to Msgr. Sako, and to Christians and Muslims around the world who have the courage, wisdom and greatness of heart to honor each other despite horrific loss. This is how peace comes.

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Written by Monte

September 12, 2007 at 11:55 am

Posted in Iraq, Islam, Religion, Terrorism

Muslims terrorize Europe!!! Well, um, . . . no.

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Fanonite quotes Kristoffer Larsson on Europol’s release of terrorism data for last year:

There were 498 incidents in eleven EU countries last year labelled as “terrorist attacks.” The Basque separatist group ETA did best (136 terrorist attacks) and was responsible for the only deadly attack, killing two in Madrid. The remaining 497 fortunately cost no human lives.

How about the Islamic terrorists then? Considering the perpetual warnings in our daily papers, the findings in the Europol report is, to say the least, surprising. The truth is that Islamists only carried out one out of the 498 terrorist attacks in the European Union in 2006. Don’t believe me? The entire report is available on Europol’s website. Had Islamic fundamentalists been behind a higher number of attacks-say 136-it would have been front page news at every big daily. One attack is simply too few–it won’t do if the image of an “Islamic threat” is to live on….

In plain English: Muslims are a group causing very little terrorism in Europe, while at the same time much more likely to be arrested on suspicion of it. …

One. Of four hundred ninety eight.

Remember that. Some want us to be frightened, to beef up the military, to drain the funds that care for the poor and heal the sick and feed the hungry in order to fight this supposed great clash of civilizations known as “The War On Terror.”

Let’s not.

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Written by Monte

April 22, 2007 at 5:13 pm