Following months of fierce debate in France, President Jacques Chirac has called for a law to ban Islamic headscarves and other “conspicuous” religious symbols from schools run by public authorities. A French Protestant leader promptly declared that such a prohibition would not only be hard to enforce but could also strengthen the cause of Islamic extremists.
Moments before receiving an award at a Muslim dinner last month, Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore turned in his seat to watch, along with nearly 400 other people, some clips from his documentary Bowling for Columbine and from his provocative acceptance speech at the 2003 Academy Awards.
"I was searching for several years before I became a Muslim,” says Abdus Salaam, a marketing specialist from Birmingham, Alabama. “I was baptized during this time in the Church of Christ. But I had questions. What bothered me were the white pictures of Jesus and Mary. In Islam we have no pictures, not even of the Prophet Muhammad.
Will Amina Lawal Kurami be stoned to death for having a baby out of wedlock? Amina was sentenced to that punishment in northern Nigeria on August 20, 2002, in accordance with Islamic Shari‘a law, which prescribes death by stoning for the sin of adultery. Her eight-month-old baby is the visible sign of her crime.
How shall we speak about Islam in the aftermath of September 11? Three recent books by scholars with long track records in interpreting the Islamic world present us with three highly distinctive answers.
When John Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, I was sitting in Miss Wyatt’s seventh grade classroom at Tuscaloosa Junior High School. My wooden desk was next to a wall with high windows, and while the news came over the intercom I watched dust motes drifting in a beam of light as if they had been excused from the law of gravity.
The Holy Ghost is a pedophile. No, that opener does not mean that I have gone off half-cocked or whole-cocked. Blasphemy is not my game, now or ever. Keeping the sacred sacred is part of our mission on these pages, and I would not risk losing readers’ trust on this score. So why begin that way?
Conservative christian activists have often been unwise or shortsighted in pushing their moral and religious claims in the public square, but their efforts have reminded secular folk that religious belief is decisive for individuals, institutions and societies. They have persuasively made the case that the constitutional disestablishment of religion does not mean the establishment of irreligion.
Tucked away in an account of the Jewish resistance to Antiochus Epiphanes is the story of a hero’s sacrifice. The Book of 1 Maccabees describes the prebattle scene. Jewish forces are encamped at Bethzechariah with the enemy directly opposite them, fully armed and ready to fight.