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Islamic scholarship gave rise to some of the world’s earliest educational institutions such as the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. Wikimedia Commons/CPT photo

The trouble with Islam: learning is the traditional and best remedy

There is nothing in Islam that makes it dangerous or threatening to a modern Western way of life. However, those looking to incite violence and hatred are always capable of finding textual references in…
With so much uncertainty in halal labelling it can be hard for Muslim consumers to know they’re getting what they’ve asked for. Todd Lappin

Explainer: what is halal, and how does certification work?

Halal food certification in Australia has become a contentious issue. Recently, a Western Australian cafe received hateful and anti-Islamic messages after its owners tried to explain halal on Facebook…
From where does opposition to depictions of Muhammad arise? Bazuki Muhammad/Reuters

Why there’s opposition to images of Muhammad

After the violent attacks on Charlie Hebdo – the French satirical weekly that routinely published caricatures of Muhammad – many are wondering: are depictions of Muhammad actually forbidden in Islamic…
In response to deeply unpopular drone strikes, a public rally in Karachi demands the blocking of NATO supplies from Pakistan to neighbouring Afghanistan. The banner reads, in Urdu ‘Rulers! Come out of the US war’. EPA/Rehan Khan

To defeat terrorists, we need a new game plan to unite all moderates

I learned a number of lessons about Islam in Peshawar, Pakistan. As a senior United Nations official, I arrived in the country within 24 hours of the massive earthquake that struck in October 2005. Pakistan…
The majority of Muslims have developed a humanitarian image of their prophet over a long period in their local cultures. Darulfatwa Australia/Author

Understanding Muhammad: we need a more informed approach

In any terrorist attack by Muslim extremists perpetrated in the name of Islam – such as the recent Charlie Hebdo atrocity – discussions about the Prophet Muhammad, his life and his teachings come to the…
There was no sense of recrimination at the Paris solidarity march in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. AAP/Francois Pauletto

A million march in Paris with not a dog-whistle between them

On Sunday, millions of people turned out to reaffirm the unity of France in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack. About 1.5 million people came to the march in Paris. For two hours before the march started…
Liberal senator Cory Bernardi has argued for Australia’s racial discrimination laws to be revisited in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France. AAP/Alan Porritt

Repealing 18C would leave Jews exposed as Muslims already are

Let’s be clear about one thing as the loony right once more revisits with slavering lips their thwarted desire to allow racial vilification to run untrammelled through Australian society. Nothing that…
Yemen faces an ongoing insurgency by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) – one of al-Qaeda’s most active and dangerous branches. EPA/Abdul-Rahman Hwais

Explainer: what is al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula?

As the dust settles on a series of terrorist attacks in France, people will now look to understand the broader players of this grim drama. From their own statements and from external sources, it appears…
This candlelit rally in Tunisia was one of the many condemnations from Muslim nations of the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo. EPA/Mohamed Messara

All of Islam isn’t intolerant, nor did the West always accept blasphemy

The tradition of freedom of expression on religious matters is not quite so venerable as many seem to imagine in the outcry at the killing of Charlie Hebdo journalists and cartoonists in Paris. While modern…
Any attack motivated by the pen upon that pen’s purveyor is an attack on free speech.

Charlie Hebdo: the pen must defy the sword, Islamic or not

The slaying of the Charlie Hebdo journalists and cartoonists because of their work is the grossest attack on the value of free speech, and of course the right to life. In the deadly attack on the magazine’s…
Division is what the Charlie Hebdo attackers want. Emma Foster/EPA

Charlie Hebdo attack: this is not a clash of civilisations

The attack on Charlie Hebdo was an abominable tragedy. It struck the heart of one of our capitals and symbols of our democracies as terrorists attacked our freedom of the press. It is now essential to…
Westerners are rallying in support of free speech and the right to question religion but only recently has political Islam encouraged violent intolerance of acts or words deemed blasphemous. EPA/Sebastien Nogier

Islam, blasphemy and free speech: a surprisingly modern conflict

From the fatwa on author Salman Rushdie to the attack on the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo, the phenomenon of anti-blasphemy actions continues to be prominent in the Muslim world. At first glance…
When violence erupts, we can be tempted to make judgements about collective responsibility based on our own allegiances, rather than consistent moral principles. EPA/Ian Langsdon

Charlie Hebdo attack: when should we hold a group responsible for a member’s evil?

When should we hold a group morally responsible for a member’s evil? In the wake of the Charlie Hedbo attacks, many will demand answers about Islam’s role in promoting violence. As we brace for the inevitable…
Supporters of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo have gathered following the fatal attack. Photo: Newzulu.com.

Charlie Hebdo offends – and we must defend its right to do so

The motive behind the tragic shootings at the headquarters of satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris has not yet been confirmed but it seems clear that there is a link between the publication’s…
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 extremist

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…

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