Follow Us

Follow on Twitter    Follow on Facebook    YouTube Channel    Vimeo Channel    Tumblr    SoundCloud Channel    iPhone App    iPhone App

Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup (December 19 – January 22)

[Mosque in Richmond, Virginia. Image by Thundercheese via Flikr] [Mosque in Richmond, Virginia. Image by Thundercheese via Flikr]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating about Islam and reflects a wide variety of opinions and approaches. It does not reflect the views of the Critical Currents in Islam page or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to by Saturday night of every week.]

December 19 - 25

Understanding an overlooked period of Islamic history: New research shows that the “the influence of the Middle East's Mongol moment” lasted much longer than previously thought.

Inventing the Muslim World: Race, Religion and Geopolitics: The Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore hosts Dr. Cemil Aydin discussing his new book The Idea of the Muslim World (HUP, 2017).

Muslim Anthropologist Reveals Radical Islam Tactics; Gets Death Threats: Dounia Bouzar, a French Muslim anthropologist, receives daily death threats for sharing tactics used by radical Islamists in her book Defusing Radical Islam. 

Islamic Manuscripts Digitization Project: University of Michigan has launched their Islamic Manuscripts Collection with over 1,000 manuscripts on file. 

Why Morocco’s Islamists Struggle to Manage Economy: In Morocco, the ruling Justice and Development Party is struggling to improve its economy. Tourism and agriculture have been down since 2015 which has increased unemployment and lowered the GDP.

Under Western Eyes: Islamophobia and the Security State after Trump: Aziz Rana and John Bowen reflect on Islamophobia in America and Europe and the “legal and political stakes of Trump’s election for Muslim citizens.”

Hundreds join protest ‘against rising tide of Islamophobia’ after Muslim woman dragged along pavement by hijab in Chingford: Hundreds joined protest in London after a Muslim woman was attacked and dragged by her hijab.

The Mosque Next Door: City Law vs. Houses of Faith: Mohammad Ali Chaudry, a retired financial officer, has been behind the fight in Basking Ridge to build a mosque. After nearly 40 public hearings in one year, the proposal was rejected. Now it has become a Supreme Court case.

Three injured in gun attack on Zurich mosque: Three people were injured after an attack on a Zurich mosque.

White supremacist gets 30 years prison for his plot to kill Muslims and Obama: A white supremacist was sentenced to 30 years for his plan to use a “death ray” to kill Muslims and President Obama. 

For Uighur exiles, Kashmir is heaven: Many Uighur exiles from China have found home in India administered Kashmir. Many came to Kashmir on the Silk Road and were not allowed back into Communist China, which has allowed the Uighur community to grow in Kashmir.

Is Turkey going to reinstate the Caliphate?: Pinar Tremblay discusses Turkey’s future and President Erdogan’s plan of national mobilization.

December 26 - January 1

The Muslim gender gap in educational attainment is shrinking: Pew Research Center has launched a new study on education attainment amongst world religions. This study suggests that the gender gap among Muslims is shrinking, with varying averages in different parts of the world.

‘The Fashion of Islam’ to Arrive at de Young in 2018: The de Young Museum in San Francisco will host a new show called the  “The Fashion of Islam” in Fall 2018.

Muslims in a Bible Belt town hold their breath: Muslims in Murfeesboro, TN buckle down and fight against active discrimination in light of present climate of Islamophobia this post-election season. Others search for ways to welcome Muslim neighbors, old and new.

Aid flotilla to help Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar: Coalition of aid groups have organized a flotilla to be sent from Malaysia to Myanmar to help the Rohingya Muslim, a minority in the Rakhine state.

President rejects Muslim PM candidate Sevil Shhaideh: Romania’s Social Democrat party has put forward Sevil Shhaideh, a Muslim woman of turkish origin, as their party’s nominee for Prime Minister. The proposal has been rejected by President Klaus Iohannis.

Terror attack on Chinese government building leaves 5 dead in restive Muslim province: Four attackers were shot dead as they drove a car into a local communist party house and detonated an explosive device.

What U.S. Muslims fear from Trump: Naureen Shah, director of security and human rights at Anmesty International, USA, discusses the potential consequences and fears of having Gen. John F. Kelly as homeland security secretary nominee. Kelly has a record of making negative statements about Islam and Muslims.

New York Police Department to allow Muslim and Sikh officers to wear longer beards, turbans: In an effort to “recruit more minorities”, NYPD will allow some religious exemptions to their dress code, include growing beards and wearing turbans.

Obama Puts an End to 9/11 Terrorist Program NSEERS: The Obama administration has abolished the National Security Entry-Exit Registration Systems (NSEERS) in an effort to impede the use of the system to make a Muslim registry under the Trump administration.

January 2 - 8

My Muslim Sons Will Never Learn to Hate People: Omar Saif Ghobash, the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Russia, writes an open letter to his son in a book titled Letters to a Young Muslim.

Muslim woman who voted for Trump asks Georgetown to intervene over professor’s ‘hateful, vulgar’ messages: Asra Q. Nomani, a former Georgetown professor and former Wall Street Journal reporter, requested help from Georgetown after being harassed online in response to her Washington Post article titled, “I’m a Muslim, a woman and an immigrant. I voted for Trump.”

Politically Speaking, Who Am I, and What Do I Want as an American Muslim? Sherman Jackson, professor at the University of Southern California, pens a confessional piece concerning the intersection of his Black American & Muslim political identity vis-a-vis the American constitution.

Faith on the Hill: According to a PEW Research poll, the 115th Congress is around 91% Christian, which is nearly the same as the 87th Congress which was around 95% Christian. This poll found that “some religious groups, including Protestants, Catholics and Jews, have greater representation in Congress than in the general population.”

Political Islamists brace for Trump era: Muslims who are politically minded have been greatly affected by the election of Trump. Many fear the start of “a witch hunt that threatens to undo the few gains they were able to secure post-Arab Spring.”

How the USSR’s effort to destroy Islam created a generation of radicals: Many Central Asian countries were predominantly Muslim, but the USSR’s official stance on religion was atheism, which pushed many Muslims to radicalization.

Why are Yazidis being uprooted again?: The Yazidi refugees who fled ISIS in Iraq are now being forced to vacate their camp in Turkey with no clear reason. Journalists are not allowed in the camp to speak with the refugees and AFAD officials refuse to speak to journalists to explain why this is happening.

The Erasure of Islam from the Poetry of Rumi: Jalaluddin Rumi, the thirteenth-century Persian poet, is often described as the “best-selling poet in the United States,” but is rarely described Muslim. The New Yorker examines why this aspect of Rumi’s identity is often left out.

The U.S. Army Just Made It Easier for Religious Troops to Wear Beards, Turbans and Hijabs: New revisions to the uniform regulations allows brigade-level commanders to approve religious accommodations, which will make it easier for troop members to wear beards, turbans, or hijabs.

An Everyday Resistance to Terror: Turkish novelist, Kaya Genç, writes about the persistence of the mundane and the continuation of everyday life in the aftermath of recent attacks in Turkey. 

What ISIS Really Is: Omer Aziz discusses Graeme Wood’s new book, “The Way of the Strangers” and asks how debates over “what Islam is” are central to concerns whether about whether “ISIS is Islamic or not.”

It’s harder than ever to teach Islamic art -- but never more important: Yale professor, Kishwar Rizvi, discusses the academic and moral difficulties of teaching about Islamic art in the aftermath of war and destruction of places like Damascus and Baghdad. 

January 9 - 15

European court: Swiss Muslim girls must swim with boys: The European Court of Human Rights voted to uphold a Swiss Court’s decision backing fines of around $300 dollars per student on Muslim parents who would not allow their daughters to take part in mixed swimming lessons on the basis of their religion.

Yuna on hijab style: 'I feel like the world is catching up': Malaysian Pop-Star Yunalis Mat Zara’ai, aka Yuna, discusses hijab fashion and her role as a model for Uniqlo’s first UK hijab fashion line.

Morocco ‘bans the sale and production of the burka’: According to local reports coming from Morocco, letters were sent out stating that the production and sale of burkas will be banned in the country.

Salon alaykum! Ladies-only beauty shop caters to Muslim modesty: Le’Jemalik Salon and Boutique opens in Bay Ridge catering to the cosmetic needs of Muslim women by offering them a safe, women’s only space.

What’s missing in the teaching of Islam: Kishwar Rizvi asks why school discussions about Islam condense thousands of years of history, art, and literature into a single chapter. She suggests that a look at the artistic and cultural developments within Islamic Civilization could contribute to a more robust conversation.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Two Books About Muslim Identity: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar discusses mar Saif Ghobash’s “Letters to a Young Muslim” and Ali A. Rizvi’s “The Atheist Muslim: A Journey From Religion to Reason.”

Saracens and Turks: The West’s troubled relationship with Islam: Soumaya Ghannoushi writes about the polemical, medieval theological content that often informs the modern concepts and discourses used to discuss Islam and Muslims in the media.

Austria’s far-right party wants to ‘ban’ Islam: Heinz Christian Strache, the head of Austria’s far-right party, called for a law banning Muslim symbols, like the Austrian law that bans Nazi symbols.

High Court to Hear Suit Over 2001 Muslim Detentions: The Supreme Court will determine hear an appeal from former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former FBI Director Robert Mueller and other former U.S. officials “that seeks to shut down the lawsuit that human rights lawyers have filed on behalf of Abbasi and others over their harsh treatment and prolonged detention.”

January 16 - 22

Muslim-Americans Remain Anxious About Trump Administration: Members of the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Northern Virginia discuss their fears about the Trump Administration.

Sanctuary congregations have doubled since Trump election, say faith leaders: More than 800 congregations have declared themselves sanctuaries are undocumented immigrants as inauguration day approaches.

U.S. Catholics, non-Catholics continue to view Pope Francis favorably: According to a PEW Research Center poll, Americans continue to view Pope Francis favorably since he first became Pope in 2013. In 2013, around 57 percent of Americans viewed him favorably, but now nearly 7 in 10 Americans view his favorably.

Beyond Convivencia and Conflict? Reflections on the History and Memory of Andalusian and Ottoman Religious Belonging: Jeremy F. Walton discusses the multiple forms of religious and ethnic difference that constitutes the heart of Europe’s historical identity through a discussion of Medieval Iberia and the Ottoman Empire.

How the Hatred of Islam is Corrupting the American Soul: Khaled Abou El Fadl discusses the Islamophobia industry’s attempt to influence policy which pretends to focus on terrorism and political groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, but actually betrays an irrational fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims.

A Pastor Who Said Islam Is ‘Evil’ Is Speaking At Trump’s Inauguration: Franklin Graham, who is the son of pastor Billy Graham, will be speaking at Trump’s inauguration. Graham has called Islam “evil and wicked” and has been outspoken Islamophobe throughout his career.

US ambassador visits pesantren to learn about Islam: US Ambassador Joseph R. Donovan visited a pesantren (or Islamic boarding school) in Indonesia in order to learn more about Islam and its practices in Indonesia.

Imam delivers message to Trump at inaugural service: Imam Mohamad Magid of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) read two verses from the Qur’an as a part of the National Prayer Service instead of reciting the call to prayer. Some have defended the Imam amidst criticism, saying that the selected verses emphasize the need to respect diversity.

Islam Gets Left Out of a Multi-Faith Show of Prayer on the Inaugural Stage: As a part of The Atlantic’s “Live Coverage of Donald Trump’s Inauguration,” Emma Green points out that no representative of the Muslim community was present on Friday’s inaugural stage amidst other faith leaders.

Trump and Muslims: How Far Can He Go?: Mohammad Fadel asks how far Trump can go in actualizing some of his Islamophobic and anti-Muslim promises he made during his campaign. Fadel looks at some historical cases, notably the Japanese-American internment camps, and the forms of legal precedent that could be drawn upon during Trump’s presidency.

Lindsay Lohan: America’s next jihadist?: In response to the recent claim that Lindsay Lohan converted to Islam, known Islamophobe Robert Spencer has argued that converts to Islam disproportionately end up as “jihad terrorists”. Belen Fernandez argues here that Spencer’s expertise is dubious at best.

Rohingya crisis: Muslim nations put pressure on Myanmar: Nations around the world with large Muslim populations are putting pressure on governments to do something about the persecution of Rohingya Muslims taking place in the Rakhine state of Myanmar.

100 years ago, Americans talked about Catholics the way they talk about Muslims today: A century along, many Protestant Americans feared Catholics “were planning to take over the country” and these fears often resulted in violence against Catholics like we see today against Muslims.

America's oldest Muslim families on the Trump presidency: 'This can't deter us': The Lipka Tatars, one of the oldest Muslim communities in America, discuss how Trump’s presidency will not defeat them.

Muslim NYPD Chaplain On Faith, Fear And Getting Stopped By Airport Security: Imam Khalid Latif, the first Muslim chaplain at New York University, shares his thoughts on being Muslim in America.

Aziz Ansari tackles Trump, Islamophobia and 'casual white supremacy' on SNL: Guest host of SNL, Aziz Ansari, spoke about Trump and Islamophobia during his open monologue.  

National co-chair of march: 'Unapologetically Muslim-American': Linda Sarsour, a national co-chair of the Women's March on Washington and Muslim American, greets marchers at the Women’s March on Washington.

In wake of Trump presidency, Orange County Muslim, Latino community leaders announce collaboration: Members of the Muslim and Latino community announced a Muslim-Latino Collaboration in which they will come together and learn more about each other. They hope the collaboration will eventually be bring together everyone in Orange County.

Muslim Comics in a Mordant Act of ‘Resistance': “The Big Brown Comedy Hour,” a show created in 2009 meant to feature comedians from the Middle East or South Asia, was particularly focused on Trump this past week due to his impending inauguration.

Muslims at Trump’s Inauguration: Dr. Mike Ghouse discusses how Muslim Americans must try to reach out to Trump and “work on creating a better America for all of us” rather than complaining about it.

If you prefer, email your comments to




Apply for an ASI Internship now!


Political Economy Project

Issues a

Call for Letters of Interest


Jadaliyya Launches its

Political Economy




F O R    T H E    C L A S S R O O M 

Roundtable: Harold Wolpe’s Intellectual Agenda and Writing on Palestine


The 1967 Defeat and the Conditions of the Now: A Roundtable


E N G A G E M E N T