The site will continue to show the engagement of American Muslims in the national history of America. However, it is now an all volunteer organization and will begin a slow transformation over 2014. Please stay with us and check-in often.
Hussein Rashid, a professor at Hofstra University and an Islamic scholar, said these debates have been raging within the Muslim community, who are fragmented on what should be eaten. Other issues include whether stunning an animal before death is halal and the age-old debate on whether it’s okay to eat meat slaughtered by Jews and Christians.
Quoting Islam's holiest text to make that point was smart, said Hussein Rashid, a religion scholar at Hofstra University in New York. "ISIS violates every single tenet of this verse, so Barfi shows them to be ignorant," he said.
"By using the Quran as the basis for debate he also demonstrates that ISIS does not actually base themselves in Muslim traditions, but in the language of hatred and rage."
Likewise, Barfi's use of the phrase "debate with calm preachings" rings a particular note in Islam, Muslim scholars said.
It recalls earlier eras in Muslim history, when caliphs sometimes settled disagreements between Muslims, Christians and Jews through debates, not violence. That point is key, since ISIS presents itself as the true reincarnation of early caliphs.
"They fought wars, but warfare and slaughter were not the things to strive for," Rashid said. "Training swords was easy, but training minds was hard. You proved your quality through debate."
Following my previous post on putting the Aga Khan’s speech at Brown in a historical context, I want to spend some time on his discussion of technology and human interaction. Rather than speaking only to the Nizari Ismaili community, or to concerns that affect only Nizari Ismailis, he is addressing a larger human concern. If, as the Qur’an states, the Prophet Muhammad was sent as a mercy to all mankind, than it is only logical that his descendants and the inheritors of his spiritual authority should continue to speak and work for the betterment of humanity, not just the segment that agrees with them.
Recently, the Aga Khan gave a speech at Brown University. As the head of a community of Muslims spread throughout the world, a community to which I belong, the speech needs some reflection. As the Imam, or Divinely appointed head of the community, it would be a mistake to read his comments as a concern for the moment.
Defending a woman’s right to choose what she does or does not wear on her head is a noble, if misguided, fight. The freedom to choose how you appear in public is part of a constellation of basic human rights that cut across divisions of religion, culture, class and history. But it's not the most serious concern to women and girls around the world.