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INDIA TODAY

Women Imams Around The World Challenge Male-Dominated Islam

From France to China, these female worship leaders not only provide spiritual guidance but also encourage diversity and dispel stereotypes, from both within and outside of their community.

PARIS — Like most modern religions, Islam is dominated by men. Virtually every mosque in the world today is led by a male imam. And yet a quiet trend of more women imams — a practice that dates back centuries — is not only providing a different kind of spiritual guidance but also encouraging diversity and dispelling stereotypes, from both within and outside of the global Muslim community.

Examples include Dr. Amina Wadud, the first American woman imam and an early figure in modern Islamic feminism, and Sherin Khankan, the first woman to lead Muslim services in Denmark. Women have also made inroads within France's Islamic communities, to the point that in 2020, "there is nothing exceptional about being a woman imam," write imams Eva Janadin and Anne-Sophie Monsinay in a recent opinion piece for the French daily Le Monde.

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Erdogan v. Macron: Power, Faith And The Opposite Of Diplomacy

Things are heating up between Erdogan and Macron, leading to the recall of the French ambassador in Ankara. France's efforts in training local imams may thwart Turkey's policy of influence through religion.

-Analysis-

ISTANBUL — Insulting French President Emmanuel Macron is definitely the new pet project for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who's been touring the country's central and eastern provinces to build his support. On Sunday, in a speech delivered in Malatya, in eastern Turkey, Erdogan for the second day in a row launched a vehement attack against his French counterpart, whom he accused of having a "problem" with Islam, and to whom he recommends receiving "undergoing medical examinations."

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Meet A Millennial Imam Training For A Troubled France

Moroccan-born Osama Khallouf is a 20-year-old student with plans to become a full-time imam. As French mosques struggle to tamp out radicals, the likes of Khallouf are being nurtured and given on-the-job training.

BONNEVILLE Osama Khallouf spends his week studying the Koran at a humanities institute here in eastern France, and come Friday preaches at the local mosque in Bonneville. A key to his message: true knowledge can't be found on the Internet.

Khallouf likes to use BlaBlaCar, a popular French car-sharing app, noting that "students are not very rich." Every Thursday at noon, Khallouf shares his car from his school to his parents' home in Macon 100 miles away, and back to Bonneville on Friday.

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Muslims In France: How The Paris Attacks Could Backfire For ISIS

There are signs that the reaction to Friday's massacre may unite the country, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, in a more lasting way than the Charlie Hebdo attacks did in January.

PARIS — When she had to leave home Saturday morning, Sabah Zouaghi hesitated for a moment. Would the 22-year-old Muslim woman adjust the veil she normally wears to make it look less religious, or would she face the looks from Parisians the day after the deadly terror as herself? Despite memories of "dark looks and even being spit on" after January's Charlie Hebdo attacks, Zouaghi ultimately chose to wear the veil as she always does.

And she didn't regret it. "First thing, the bus driver smiled at me and said in a lively tone, "Bonjour, mademoiselle." I normally don't get such a warm welcome," she says.

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Geopolitics
Nicolas Bourcier

Muslim And Happy In ... Brazil

The world's largest Catholic country has a long-established and steadily growing Muslim population. With some rare exceptions, Brazil is a model for integration of Islam into a mixed population.

SAO PAULO — There's a big crowd for midday prayers this Friday. More than 500 people — men, women and children — are gathered at the Brazil mosque in Sao Paulo, the oldest and largest Muslim prayer hall in Latin America. The white early 20th century building is surrounded by high walls and shady trees, and retains its peace and serenity despite the city highway built next to it.

A day after the Paris terrorist attacks last January, someone wrote "En sou Charlie" (Je suis Charlie) on the mosque's perimeter wall. The words were quickly cleaned off. Local media characterized it as an "isolated act." The habitual peace and quiet returned, or so it seemed.

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Turkey

School Reopens In Turkey Amid Protests - Is Education Reform Promoting Islam?

ISTANBUL - As children in Istanbul packed their bags this week to start a new school year, protests broke out against the controversial “4+4+4” education reform, recently implemented by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Large crowds gathered outside the Istanbul imam hatip religious schools on Fatih Street to protest the new education system that extends mandatory education to 12 years: four years of primary school, four years of middle school, followed by four years of either secondary school or vocational training.

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