Articles on Islam

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Sculpture of ninth-century Persian scholar Al-Khwarizmi in Khiva, Uzbekistan. Latin discovery of Al-Khwarizmi’s work introduced the numerals 0-9, one of many ways in which Islamic cultures have contributed to Western civilisation. LBM1948/Wikimedia Commons

Explainer: what Western civilisation owes to Islamic cultures

Western civilisation and Islam are sometimes seen as diametrically opposed. Yet Islamic cultures have contributed much to the West, in language, philosophy and literature.
This term ‘jihad’ can include various forms of nonviolent struggles: for instance, the struggle to become a better person. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

So, what really is jihad?

Violent radicals are often described as jihadists. A scholar explains what the word means and why those using the word to justify terrorism are often misrepresenting their sources.
Muslim women at a prayer service at a mosque in Redmond, Washington, to mark the end of Ramadan and the start of Eid-al-Fitr in 2016. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

What is Eid and how do Muslims celebrate it? 6 questions answered

Muslims throughout the world will celebrate the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, a celebration at the end of Ramadan. Here's an introduction to this important feast and its partner, Eid al-Adha.
A delegate in traditional Uighur dress listens to a speaker during a meeting with delegates from China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in Beijing, AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

The history of China’s Muslims and what’s behind their persecution

Muslims came to China in the 13th century and played an influential role. Tensions have escalated since 9/11, and the global community is largely silent.
The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, one of the landmarks in Brunei. Brunei recently announced punishing gay sex by stoning offenders to death. AP Photo/Vincent Thian

Harsh punishments under Sharia are modern interpretations of an ancient tradition

Some Islamic nations, including Brunei, have harsh punishments under Sharia. In pre-modern times, Sharia was rarely used as criminal law, and standard of proof for any prosecution was very high.
Muslim clerics and members of the Pakistani Christian minority light candles to commemorate the victims of this week’s bomb blasts in Sri Lanka. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Rahat Dar/AAP

Friday essay: how Western attitudes towards Islam have changed

For centuries, Westerners viewed Islam as an inherently violent religion. But the struggle today, for all religions, including Christianity, is between liberals and conservatives, fundamentalists and moderates, reason and revelation.
A district employee carries a ballot box a day before distributing to pollings center in Bogor, West Java. Indonesia will hold its general elections on 17 April, during which the president, vice president, and legislative members will be elected. Adi Weda/AAP

Indonesia’s elections: why do they matter and what’s at stake?

Here is what you need to know about Indonesia's elections and what's at stake.
Jokowi has maintained a double-digit lead in most recent polls, but some moderate supporters have indicated they may stay away from the polls. Bagus Indahono/EPA

Indonesia’s presidential election: Is Jokowi ‘religious enough’ for conservative voters?

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has been burnishing his religious credentials ahead of this week's election. Will it be enough to beat an old rival, the firebrand populist Prabowo Subianto?
Conservative lawmakers in dozens of U.S. states have raised fears that Islamic fundamentalists want to impose Sharia on Americans. Reuters/David Ryder

Don’t blame Sharia for Islamic extremism – blame colonialism

There is no inherent tension between Islam and democratic values. Like any use of religion in politics, the application of Sharia as law depends on who is using it – and why.

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