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.
My first piece for the Foreign Policy Association blog.
The recent attack against Ismaili Muslims in Karachi, Pakistan, will be read by most as part of a simple narrative of an ongoing Sunni-Shi’ah conflict. Unfortunately, as consistent fear-mongering has demonstrated with Sharia, bandying about non-English words conveys a facade of knowledge without any guarantee of any actual understanding. As is the case with most political violence, here is more to this attack than a simple retelling of a religious clash. There is a deeper history that is masked by using inappropriate vocabulary, and misusing it is allowing the most extreme voices to set the agenda.
Hussein Rashid, a professor of religion at Hofstra University, says that many qawwaliartists working in South Asia today have limited themselves. He believes this American group is bringing the music back to its roots.
"You know, I think there's been so much concern about what is Islam, and what isn't, politically speaking and artistically speaking," Rashid says, "that there's been a push in modern qawwali to actually sanitize it and make it very sterile — and almost rule-bound — rather than ecstatic and devotional. For me, I think what Riyaaz Qawwali is doing is trying to go back to that very exciting, innovative space that qawwali was."
And so to Rashid, it's totally logical that such a burst of inspiration would come from deep in the heart of Texas. "In fact," he says, "it seems natural that we would get a new flourishing of Muslim devotionals in a place like America, where we do have this freedom of religion."
"My initial thought is that the cover is a near perfect response to the tragedy," said Hussein Rashid, a professor of Islamic thought at Hofstra University in New York.
"They are not backing down from the depiction of Mohammed, exercising their free speech rights. At the same time, the message is conciliatory, humble, and will hopefully reduce the anger directed to the Muslim communities of France."
Rashid noted that the cover's central message -- forgiveness -- resonates not only throughout Islam but through other world religions as well, embracing all in a spirit of reconciliation.
"The cover is a call to our better angels," Rashid said, "and an acknowledgment that religion also offers good to the world."
Marble has a rich history of participating in interfaith activities and one of the highlights is our “Trialogue” under the leadership of Dr. Michael Brown. The focus of the service is a conversation among spiritual leaders of three faiths: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Ask a friend to join you for this unique and memorable worship experience.
Europe remains on edge in the wake of the deadly terrorist attack at the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo.
The attack has highlighted deep divisions between French nationals and Muslim immigrants—a community that Hussein Rashid, a professor of religion at Hofstra University, says has been under fire for years.
"French society has a very hard time integrating its minorities—whether they're Muslim, Jewish, or black," says Rashid. "Nicolas Sarkozy, the former prime minister, during his tenor as interior minister, once called the minorities of Francs scum."