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Man Haron Monis, the perpetrator of the Sydney hostage siege, appeared to be unaware of basic Islamic theology. AAP/Dean Lewins

Sydney siege shows the rise of a new form of extremism

Man Haron Monis, the sole perpetrator of the Sydney hostage siege, is but one example of the recent development of a new form of Islamic extremist radicalisation. In recent years, Islamic extremism has…
Islamic dietary law requires that certain methods be used when preparing meat, such as that a Muslim be the one butchering the animal. Reuters

Regulating the sacred: why the US halal food industry needs better oversight

For many Muslims, adherence to Islamic dietary laws, known as halal, is an intrinsic part of their everyday lives. Even those who are relatively lax with other rituals of the faith tend to adhere to halal…
The bodies of Aryeh Kopinsky ©, Calman Levine (L) and Avraham Shmuel Goldberg lie in vehicles during their funeral. Baz Ratner/Reuters

Jerusalem attacks are no isolated incident: the third intifada is here

The attack on a Jerusalem synagogue in which four Jewish worshippers were killed and eight were injured has sparked new fears that fighting between Israel and Palestinian could flare up once more. The…
One size doesn’t fit all. Matthew Black

Why there is no such thing as the Muslim ‘community’

Cases of extremist violence and sexual exploitation have caused significant anxiety in the UK in recent years and politicians are continually looking for ways to identify how these things happen and how…
Square away your personal philosophy now; proof of life beyond earth is coming. Stargazing image via www.shutterstock.com

Is your religion ready to meet ET?

How will humankind react after astronomers hand over rock-solid scientific evidence for the existence of life beyond the Earth? No more speculating. No more wondering. The moment scientists announce this…
Why must Muslim women prove they aren’t terrorists with a scarf? Johnny Green/PA Archive

The poppy hijab is just Islamophobia with a floral motif

For some time, my research has shown that Muslim women who wear the hijab or other types of Muslim attire are the most likely to become victims of street-level Islamophobia. The explanation is simple…
To see off challenges to its dominance, Malaysia’s government exploits Muslim sentiment at every turn. This has been a factor in sodomy charges against opposition figurehead Anwar Ibrahim. EPA/Azhar Rahim

Malaysia reaches a critical crossroad over state Islamisation

Fuelled by the rise of Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, debate about Islam and violence has flared again in Australia. In a predictable cycle of provocation and reaction, governments launch a wide-ranging…
Many Muslim nations fare poorly for gender equity, but there are steps they can take and examples they can follow to make sure girls are properly educated. Flickr/Nevil Zaveri

Gender equity in schools in Muslim countries: it can be done

Muslim countries worldwide have problems with gender equality. They dominate the bottom ten countries in the Global Gender Gap Report and none of the ten most successful countries offering equal opportunities…
Religious leaders have come together to promote community harmony, but some political and media agendas have encouraged Islamophobia. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Politicians and media let us down in fight to curb rising Islamophobia

Many incidents of violence and harassment directed at Australian Muslims have been reported recently. These are visible confirmation of fears expressed by their community, that support for the government’s…
Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Wassim Doureihi addresses a protest rally about counter-terrorism raids in Sydney last month. AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

Why Australia shouldn’t ban Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott calls it “a thoroughly objectionable organisation”, “un-Australian” and “un-Islamic”. But would it be a good idea to ban the Islamic organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir? Hizb…
An Iraqi man prays at the Al-Noori Al-Kabeer mosque – now draped with the Islamic State flag – in Mosul, northern Iraq. EPA/STR

The truth about whether Islam is a religion of violence or peace

Islam has a history of violence. Muslims can be violent. Denying this is not at all different to denying that Islam is peaceful and that all Muslims are pacifists. The dichotomy is simply false. The Qur’an…
A US Marine covers a statue of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein with the US flag in Baghdad’s al-Fardous square in April 2003, before the statue was toppled. EPA PHOTO AFPI/RAMZI HAIDAR

Is it fair to blame the West for trouble in the Middle East?

For at least a decade, attempts to understand why some young Muslims living in Western countries turn to violence in the name of religion have raised questions about Western foreign policy in the Middle…
Visitors of Afghan nationality wearing hijabs outside Parliament House yesterday. Lukas Coch/AAP

Burqa and Niqab: they cover the face, not the mind

A call to ban the burqa has permeated Australian political discussions since police raided the homes of suspected Islamist extremists in Sydney and Brisbane on September 18. Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi…
The public image presented of Muslims as a religious minority is no more typical of the modern reality than are the minority of Australians who regularly attend church. AAP/Jane Dempster

Cultural Muslims, like cultural Christians, are a silent majority

The “cultural Muslim” refers to members of the Muslim community who are non-practising but retain an attachment to elements of Islamic culture. The history of the Muslim world entails the story of numerous…
When a mosque is spray-painted with the word ‘Evil’ following last week’s raids, it’s a sign the community is getting the wrong message from the anti-terrorism campaign. AAP/Matt Jacob

Responsible rhetoric is a crucial part of the anti-terror armoury

While Australia has rightly joined the international fight to bring down Islamic State (IS) terrorists, at home its anti-terror campaign is fuelling more problems. For example, following high-profile anti-terror…
Salafi mosques are among the few to reach out to local converts in Europe. EPA/Julian Stratenschulte

European governments play their part in driving young Muslims to extremism

Governments in Europe have been horrified to see their young nationals turning to extremist groups and committing terrible acts in their name, but few have stopped to think about how their own policies…
Australian women of different faiths gathered at Sydney’s Lakemba Mosque last month in a show of community solidarity. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Terrorists can be defeated by fighting fear with co-operation

From anarchists in the 1920s and radical leftists in the 1960s, to fringe, extreme-right Christian bombers or gunmen in the United States in recent decades, or radical Islamists such as Islamic State today…
There are now around half a million Muslim Australians, who are sometimes blamed for the actions of a tiny minority. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Mosques, Muslims and myths: overcoming fear in our suburbs

Since Australians woke to the news of yesterday morning’s counter-terrorism raids in Sydney, Brisbane and Logan, talkback radio and the TV news have filled with talk of “home-grown terrorism” and “enemies…

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