When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

TOPIC: koran

In The News

Auckland Shooting, Kissinger Meets Xi, Columbus Letter Returned

👋 नमस्कार*

Welcome to Thursday, where a shooting leaves two dead in Auckland as the soccer Women’s World Cup kicks off in New Zealand and Australia, Russia launches new attacks on Odessa and Mykolaiv and Italy’s got some 15th-century mail. Meanwhile, Persian-language media Kayhan-London reports on the murder of a 15-year-old girl by her parents, in the context of so-called “honor killings” in Iran.

[*Namaskār - Marathi, India]

Watch VideoShow less

Ukraine Gains On Bakhmut, France Riots Spread, Book Your Barbie’nB

👋 Halo!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Kyiv says it’s regaining territory in the Bakhmut region, more than 150 protesters are arrested near Paris as violent clashes spread after the police shooting death of teenager during a traffic stop, and you can now live out your life-size Barbie dream. Meanwhile, Jacques Henno in French daily Les Echos explores how global warming could change humans on a genetic level.

[*Bislama, Vanuatu]

Keep reading...Show less

Morocco Wages "Soft" War Against Islamic Extremism In Prisons

Launched in 2017 to combat radicalization, the Moussalaha program is finding success by helping those incarcerated for terrorism by providing counseling, reducing their prison sentences and following up after release.

RABAT — In Europe, deradicalization policies are often highly contested and their effectiveness is regularly questioned. But Morocco, a majority Muslim country, has become a pioneer in these sorts of programs. To face the terrorist threat on its territory, the North African kingdom is not content with preventing attacks and neutralizing actors. A security source contacted by Jeune Afrique spoke of a "multi-dimensional strategy that does not rely solely on the security approach.”

Keep reading...Show less

Islamic Antidote To Radicalism: A French One-Man Show On The Koran

In the southern city of Marseille, actor Selman Reda draws on his personal experiences to explore the ins and outs of being Muslim in secular France.

MARSEILLE — His slow, warm voice is that of a storyteller. The same is true of his hands, which accompany the poetic language with arabesque gestures. But Selman Reda isn't here to tell old wives' tales.

The script is his own creation, rather, a monologue called Ne laisse personne te voler les mots (Don't Let Anyone Steal The Words), which the actor from Marseille wrote and has performed more than 20 times since December in local theaters, middle schools and high schools.

Keep reading...Show less
eyes on the U.S.
Ayan Omar*

My Muslim Faith, Explained To Terrified Americans

Just before this week's attack by a Muslim student at Ohio State University, which authorities believe was inspired by ISIS, a young peace-loving Muslim-American described his faith in this essay.

SAINT CLOUD"Do you want to kill us?"

It's a question I get a lot. I'm a Muslim Somali-American living in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. My family of 10 emigrated here in November 1993, and I became American by the old-school system called assimilation. It's been a sprint with no discernible end. It's even more challenging in places like Saint Cloud, a Catholic town that's earned the nickname "White Cloud" because of its demographic make-up.

In recent years, though, the city's demographics have begun to shift. Between 2009 and 2014, our small African American population doubled. Our Latino population grew by about 50%. St. Cloud has been adjusting to this change, but it hasn't gone so well. I've watched as residents throw temper tantrums about people like me, about parents who want to make a better life for their children. Around my neighborhood, white people post signs that read, "This is America, and we have a right to offend everyone. Don't like it, too bad" and "Get prayers out of school." There are organized groups that call for a limit on the number of legal refugees allowed to live here. My Somali Muslim friends have confided in me about rental discrimination, customer service discrimination, public school discrimination and employee discrimination.

Once, during a panel discussion on Islamophobia, a couple approached me."Your people have crowded America," the wife told me. "You live for free, eat free, and all you do is take ... from people like my husband and I. You bring your culture and your religion and want to take over. No more. We're tired. We just want America back." Her docile husband nodded in agreement. Afraid to further her hurt, I listened and apologized. As they walked away, the husband left me with a last thought: "You're OK. You're an American. You speak English." Misconceptions like this spread like wildfire, leveled against university students who made a conscious decision to move away from home or newlyweds who want somewhere beautiful in which to settle down.

In this lack of enthusiasm for diversity, I saw an opportunity. I saw a platform for people like me to educate. So for the last six years, I've been traveling around the city, giving talks about my faith. I hope to humanize Islam, Somalia, refugees and others who are different to privileged, white Americans. I, a Muslim Somali American refugee educator, need acceptance in order for me and my people to flourish.

At one recent gathering I sat on a panel vulnerably facing more than 100 inquisitive residents. I was handed a handful of anonymous question. Aware of my inferiority in age, wisdom and religion, I managed to keep a steady smile as I choose my poison: "Who is Allah? How is Allah God?" "Do you feel oppressed?" "How do you pray?" "Why do you wear the veil in America?"

The questions seemed accusatory, but intrinsically, I felt comfortable. The bold arrogance of their inquiry electrified my being, awakening my soul. Surely, Islam did not start with me, nor their Muslim Somali refugee neighbors, or did it?

A particular question pulls me in: "Who is Allah?" I ruminate. Allah is God, Allah is Yaweh. Islam's holy text is the Koran. The Koran is written in classical Arabic. Like the Bible and Torah, it has been translated to fit the modern times. As a result, Allah, Yaweh and God are all the creator of mankind. I pray to God, Yaweh and Allah. Same difference.

I worry, though, that this explanation won't really address the fear baked into a lot of these assumptions. So I decide to go with a more controversial point: "Do you want to kill us?" It's a question I've heard a lot over this election season, a fear perpetuated by the way Donald Trump has been campaigning. Trump has scorned Obama for not using "radical Islamic terrorism" to describe the Islamic State. He believes Islam, a religion of over a billion followers, is ISIS. He's sold that message all over the country.

As I consider how to answer, I think about my language. Somali is tonal. It's taught me that in life, sometimes, it's not what you say but how you say it. I recall this lesson in my answer to the inquisitive audience. Reiterate the question: "Do I, a Muslim, want to kill you?" Respond: "Absolutely not. My faith states, "if any one killed a person, it would be as if he killed the whole mankind" (Koran 5:32). Ladies and gentleman, Islam teaches me discipline through prayer, fasting, and peace. Violence is never an option or thought for practicing Muslims."

A sigh of relief fills the room. Suddenly, I appear more human.

Unlike the previous couple, the individuals I encounter here want to learn. At the end of the panels, I get hugs and intimate questions. One elderly man timorously approached me once, asking: "I heard from a friend that all Muslim men can have four wives. Does your husband practice that?"

"No," I tell him.

"I can't imagine they can afford that. Wonderful. God bless you. I never realized we have so much in common." At the end of every panel, I always feel the room is less eerie. Facial expression change, a light of hope turns on, and people seem more social than the hours before. Some ask me for my email and phone number. I tell them I do this for free and I'd be happy to travel. I am sure my story helps some sleep better at night.

I never expected Trump to win. No way, I thought, would America choose him for a president. I assured myself the American presidency is the most noble and honorable position in the world. Now that he's been elected, though, I see an opportunity. While Trump has been occupied settling score on Twitter, I have engaged in dialogue to shatter the false assumptions about my faith, race and country of origin. I will display class, compassion, humility and grace in the face of a president who lacks these qualities. Others seem interested too. Since the election, I have received two requests to lead discussions promoting dialogue and diversity.

Wolfgang Mozart said: "Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius." I am confident America has many more unsung geniuses than we realize.

Watch VideoShow less
Benilde Araujo

Swipe, Pray, Fast: The 5 Top Apps For Ramadan 2016

Ramadan is a sacred month of prayer and fasting from dawn to dusk observed by Muslims around the world. But the holy month, which this year runs from June 6 to July 5, comes with different rules and schedules (and soap operas) that must be integrated into busy modern lives. And yes, there's an app for that! Indeed, the mobile application business has been quick to respond to this opportunity linked to a religion of some 1.7 billion adherents, with apps for daily prayer schedules, connecting with other Muslims or even recording days left to fast. Here are five that are making some buzz:

1. Ramadan Legacy, launched in 2015 by a Scottish company, offers the opportunity to create a personalized Ramadan journal to help fulfill worshipping duties, and even offers encouragements to achieve those goals thanks to daily inspirational reminders.

[rebelmouse-image 27090262 alt="""" original_size="506x900" expand=1]

Ramadan Legacy available for iOS and Android

Watch VideoShow less
Matthias Drobinski and Elisa Rheinheimer-Chabbi

Religion And Ecology, Not Always A Natural Marriage

Muslims are supposed to save water, Christians and Jews energy. In the past, we blamed those ideologies for ecological crises.

MUNICH — The Vatican document that Pope Francis published last summer made headlines around the world. Humans are exploiting the Earth's resources, he declared in his encyclical on the environment. Particularly in wealthy countries, we are altering the conditions of our planet with a lifestyle that is dangerous, and perhaps even suicidal.

The pontiff's words could not have been clearer: Climate change is man-made, and now it's our duty to save what's left of God's creation.

Watch VideoShow less
Julia Pascual

A Close-Up Look At French Converts To Islam

PARIS — Pépite is still in shock. "It's hard to deal with it," repeats this mother, whose youngest daughter converted to Islam. Pépite comes from a Catholic family, and never expected this to happen. She didn't worry when her daughter, Alexandra, became infatuated with a boy who had converted to Islam, or even when she started wearing long sleeves in summertime.

But about five years ago, the young woman began wearing a headscarf. Since then Alexandra has given birth to three children, to whom she gave Muslim names and who are learning Arabic. She gave up her studies and is now considering teaching in a Koranic school.

Watch VideoShow less
Nur Azizah

In Indonesia, Urbanization vs. Religious Harmony

BOGOR — The oldest Buddhist temple in Bogor, West Java, is a silent witness to religious tolerance in the area.

Five men gather inside the temple, whose doors are always open for people from different religions to come inside and pray. Sitting behind statues of a Buddhist goddess, the men engage in their weekly communal Koran study group. After the evening prayer, they move to the temple's kitchen to enjoy tonight's dinner.

Watch VideoShow less
Julia Giertz

Islamic Banking Lands In The Heart Of Europe

Germany's first Sharia-compliant bank wants to revolutionize the finance sector of the European economic juggernaut. Investment in businesses related to alcohol and gambling are prohibited, as is the practice of charging interest, and Muslim and non-

BERLIN — Despite a significant Muslim population, up to now Germany has been unchartered territory for Islamic banking, whose largest European hub is in London. But Muslims from Flensburg to Lake Constance will soon have a banking alternative that embraces their religious values.

Five years after opening a financial service institute in Mannheim, the Kuveyt Turk (KT) Bank has obtained a full banking license, making it the first Islamic bank in Germany. With headquarters in Frankfurt, and branches opening in Mannheim and Berlin in July, the bank's core audience are the nearly four million Muslims living in Germany.

Watch VideoShow less
Nermeen Khafagy

Oriental Hits To Female Koran Chants, Welcome To Egyptian Vintage Vinyl

CAIRO Antique dealers, second-hand markets, auction showrooms, music lovers and historians are the cornerstones of the wondrous world of vintage vinyl records in Egypt, just as they are in similar dusty corners around the world.

Egypt's phonographic history is particularly rich in oriental music, with record labels running from the end of the 19th century until the mid 1950s, through companies such as Gramophone, Odeon, Baidaphone, Meshian, and Polyphon. There were vernacular free verse, couplets, odes, Koran recitation, religious chanting and more. And when the competition between the companies came to an end, the floor was yielded to fierce competition between amateur record-collecting music aficionados, record dealers and Gulfie moneybags.

Watch VideoShow less
Ali Malek*

Hadith, Ancient Islamic Source Of The Evils Of Modern Jihad

Those killing in the name of the Muslim prophet are following derivative ancient texts, second-hand accounts, not the Koran.


The Islamic Prophet is the most unpopular among the founders of religions. Mention Confucius, Buddha or Jesus in a conversation, and people listen. But evoke Muhammad with a non-Muslim, and the listener is dubious — and rightly so.

Too often, our televisions are filled with horrific images of acts carried out in the prophet's name that keep away even those who would otherwise be tempted to know him better.

Watch VideoShow less