Writing in an OpEd piece for the New York Times, Vali R. Nasr comments, “Russia’s problems with Muslim societies are bigger than the West’s. Some of its restless Muslim regions are turning to extremism; that is why Russia has always looked at the Arab Spring with suspicion, fearing that successful Arab rebellions would inspire Islamic risings in Russia.”
What do you think? Are more problems sure to arise in former Soviet states (especially in Central Asia) due to an escalating conflict between Orthodox Christianity and Islam?
“Google must take down a controversial anti-Muslim video on YouTube that sparked protests across the Muslim world because keeping it on the website violates the rights of an actress who sued after she was duped into appearing in the film,” reports Howard Mintz of the San Jose (California) Mercury News.
“In a 2-1 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Google’s arguments that being forced to take down the video, ‘Innocence of Muslims’, would be a prior restraint that would violate the company’s First Amendment protections.”
The article goes on to say, “The ruling already has sparked a debate on legal blogs and social media, with some free speech scholars expressing concern that the 9th Circuit extended copyright claims too far at the expense of the First Amendment.”
What do you think? If you’ve seen the video, please weigh in with comments. (If you haven’t, you can discuss the reactions of others who have or talk about the First Amendment.)
Religious Freedom, Secular Forum, penned by Kenan Malik and printed in The New York Times discusses a topic that has come up many times in non-Muslim-majority countries: “Should gender segregation be allowed in Muslim public meetings.”
Please note that we’re not talking about gender segregation in religious services, but at forums open to the public at educational institutions (this time, in the United Kingdom).
As Malik writes, “To challenge specifically Islamic practices is not necessarily to be ‘Islamophobic’.” The question is whether religious practice should be allowed to “escape” religous confines and be enforced in arenas where not all the participants are expected (or required) to be Muslim.
In Western nations, he writes, “Religious freedom requires that people of faith be allowed to speak or act in ways that might offend others; it does not require that others do not cause them offense.”
This writer is not aware of any such university directives in the United States or Canada.
What’s your take on the controversy?
“The fact [Richard] Dawkins presents – that so few Muslims have won Nobel Prizes — does raise legitimate questions that Dawkins himself addresses in a blog post about the controversy he stirred up by his tweet. He points out that in view of the grandiose claims advanced by some Muslims for the ‘science’ contained in the Quran, it’s rather depressing to note that not much by way of science has come out of the Muslim world in the past 500 years, and it behooves us, and certainly Muslims, to ask why.”
Read more here.
It’s a question that all of us need to ponder.
In the Middle Ages, Muslims were the best educated scientists and physicians in the West. How did that clear advantage dissipate?
Why are there few universities with science faculties of note in the Islamic world? Why is the emphasis on thought control rather than unfettered exploration? Why are Muslims worried about what women wear and not how women are educated? When did memorizing the Qu’ran take precedence over learning?
As Dawkins points out, “Muslim scholars did indeed grace a golden age, so it is all the more poignant to ask what went wrong and what should be done about it.”
Putting it bluntly, he writes, “Has something gone wrong with education in the Islamic world, and is it a problem that Muslims themselves might wish to consider?”