GOD ONLINE: Exploring media spirituality

Web sites, TV, films, books and the search for meaning.

Islam: Finally, a calmer look

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So much coverage of Islam is either phobic or suck-up, damning or defending. Euro-Islam lends calmness and perspective to the discussion.

Euro-Islam is a joint project of French and American academics (a good sign in itself; how much cooMinaret, 72dipperation do you see between those countries anymore?). The 40+ scholars track matters like xenophobia, pop culture, gender issues, education and, of course, terrorism.

The collection of news articles — organized both by issues and nations, including Russia and the United States — is refreshingly balanced. One piece reports on men in Germany arrested for a plot against the U.S. But there’s also a story on a man in France who was denied a job as a policeman, apparently because he was Muslim. Both stories shun the shrill tone of partisan Web sites.

And not all the articles are on East versus West. One tells how the British government is teaching Search Engine Optimization to moderate Muslims, to help them counter radical voices on the Internet. Another reports on imams in Scotland who plan to work with police to keep their youths out of gangs.

Euro-Islam is more than news; it also provides basic rundowns on 12 nations, from Austria to the United Kingdom. You’ll find information on demographics, politics, the public image of Islam in each country, and what percentage of the Muslim population is religiously observant. You’ll learn interesting asides, like the fact that in Belgium, secular humanism is a recognized religion.

The site also examines deeper issues, like a think piece by research fellow Amel Boubekeur. She says that European Muslims typically get attention when they’re violent. Boubekeur suggests that young Muslims can be drawn away from radicalism if they feel they can take part in the political process.

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Written by Jim Davis

May 26, 2009 at 12:35 am

Posted in islam, Uncategorized

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