Is secular feminism feasible in the Middle East and throughout the Muslim-majority nations of the world? Isobel Coleman, a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, argues that it cannot subsist on its own and that it must be allied with a form of Islamic feminism. In her most recent book, Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East, she argues that we are already witnessing the emergence of many progressive social movements within the Islamic world.Read the rest of Islamic feminism.
Jake Alter is an intern for projects on religion and the public sphere at the SSRC and a former contributor to here & there. He is currently a senior at Haverford College, where he is pursuing a major in religion, a minor in political science, and a concentration in Middle East studies, with a focus on the role that Islam plays in the political dynamics of Muslim-majority nations.
Posts by Jake Alter:
This past week, adding to the controversy surrounding the Cordoba Initiative, the Anti-Defemation League (ADL) voiced its opposition to the project, prompting critical reactions from a number of Jewish leaders.Read the rest of Jewish community responds to ADL statement on the Cordoba Initiative.
Should the ethical standards applied to the slaughter of animals be expanded to cover the standards of the human work environment in which kosher foods are produced? Rabbi Morris Allen believes so.Read the rest of The ethical dimensions of kashrut law.
“Theologians seldom write memoirs.” This, Stanley Hauerwas concedes in a follow up to his recent memoir: Hannah’s Child: A Theologian’s Memoir (2010). It is precisely this sentiment that makes the entire project intriguing. Stanley Hauerwas, named “America’s best theologian” by Time magazine shortly before the September 11 attacks in 2001, “has made himself a very fine career as an iconoclastic ethicist, condemning assimilationist Christianity, academic “respectability,” the military, ill treatment of the differently-abled, and any number of other contemporary issues where Christian mediocrity is laid bare.” With this description of the author taken to heart, Jack Downey, a doctoral candidate in Theology at Fordham University, reviews this memoir and looks to identify why and how he wrote it.Read the rest of “Theologians seldom write memoirs”.
John Calvert, Professor of History at Creighton University and a specialist in political Islam, in hisforthcoming biography of Sayyid Qutb, “rescues Qutb from misrepresentation, tracing the evolution of his thought within the context of his time.” InSayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism(2010), he does not look to absolve Qutb of his virulent rhetoric but pushes the reader to understand Qutb in his own setting and time and to delve deeper into the writing of the influential Islamist thinker. Qutb, who was executed in Egypt in 1966, has been studied extensively but Thomas Hegghammer from Harvard University states: “We are dealing with a rare book that is likely to become a classic in the field of political Islam.”Read the rest of Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism.
1,940 years after the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple, a building plan has been authorized in São Paulo, Brazil to build a 180 foot high replica of Solomon’s Temple. The replica will serve as an evangelical Christian church that will be able to seat 10,000 people. Modern technology will allow this edifice to be constructed in four years. It is thought that it took twenty-three years to build the Second Temple over 2,000 years ago.Read the rest of A third Jewish temple?.
A recent poll suggests that one in three Chinese consider themselves religious, “an astonishing figure for an officially atheist country, where religion was banned until three decades ago,” writes Louisa Lim. Lim, in a six part series, “New Believers: A Religious Revolution in China,” on NPR’s All Things Considered, is documenting the diversity religious practices in the communist state.Read the rest of A Chinese turn to religion?.
The health of Christopher Hitchens, an outspoken atheist and critic of religion, has become a major news story. Hitchens is in treatment for esophageal cancer and his debilitating health has caused many to ask: should one pray for an atheist? Courtney Bender, professor of religion at Columbia University, discusses the question and whether “atheists have joined a religiously plural grid as another ‘religious’ minority, taking up a place alongside the Muslims and Sikhs and Zoroastrians.”Read the rest of Should one pray for an atheist?.