Stories: Islam

  • After Ahok: Indonesia Grapples with the Rise of Political Islam

    JAKARTA – Five months after its closure, the doors of the Al-Hidayah mosque were sealed with wooden planks and crisscrossed with yellow police tape, as if it some kind of grisly crime had taken place within. Barred from entering their house of worship by official order, four young men held their midday prayer in the heat outside, their bodies bent...

  • In Pakistan, These Schools are Putting Morality Back into the Curriculum

    In an upscale neighborhood in Karachi, Pakistan, the gates of a preschool open up to a front lawn with slides and pet cages. Each object in the garden has a piece of white paper affixed to it with its name in bold, large type, presumably so kids can expand their vocabulary at playtimes. But the cards aren't in English...

  • In Pakistan, women are driving the demand for Islamic content in relatable, meme-sized bites

    In bookshops across Pakistan, there is no shortage of religious literature – translations and interpretations of the Quran, books of Hadiths (oral traditions of Prophet Mohammed) and stories of the prophets abound. Book stores stock long, elaborate texts, replete with quotes from scripture and anecdotes from the earliest days of Islam. But over the past few years, a couple of...

  • Pakistan City’s Affluent Women Bring Islam Into Their Lives and Lifestyles

    KARACHI, Pakistan — It was a weekday afternoon in an upscale neighborhood of Karachi, but the hall was packed for the lecture on Islam and marriage. Laughter burst forth as the speaker asked how husbands change over the years. They’re terrible listeners, one woman said. Inattentive, offered another. Other women, apparently without husbands, offered more charitable attributes: They...

  • Rohingya Left Behind in Myanmar’s Power Transition

    Abdul Rashid, 47, watched helplessly as his wife Rukia's body stiffened and began to shake uncontrollably - her face contorted in pain as the convulsions raked her emaciated frame. His eldest daughter applied a wet compress to her mother's head, trying to hold her steady, while the younger siblings huddled together in a corner, whimpering silently. Minutes later, the...

  • Burmese Buddhist Monks Love Muslim-Hating Trump

    He has been called a “xenophobic fascist,” compared to Adolf Hitler, andaccused of stoking Islamophobia across America, but U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump is finding admirers in an unlikely corner of the world, among Myanmar’s extremist Buddhist monks. “As long as the Quran exists there will be terrorists, and like...

  • Don’t Call It a Jihadist Insurgency — Yet

    Malian troops patrol outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 21, 2015. Photo: Habibou Kouyate/AFP/Getty Images On Friday, November 20, two gunmen attacked the Radisson Blu hotel in the Malian capital of Bamako, taking 170 hostages and killing 19 before security forces stormed the building. Three years after Al Qaeda-linked fighters overran northern Mali, the country is ravaged...

  • Her Resort Is a Refuge From More Than Just Stress

    The Indonesian province of Aceh is known to many as the place devastated by a tsunami in 2004. But in Indonesia, it’s also known for its conservative religious beliefs. A peace accord signed with separatists 10 years ago allows the local government to implement Sharia law. Some local authorities have even banned women from straddling a motorcycle, or dancing....

  • The Struggle for Mali

    When fighters linked to al-Qaida swept into Timbuktu on 1 April 2012, Dr Ibrahim Maiga found himself living a nightmare. The new rulers of west Africa’s most famous centre of Islamic scholarship immediately set about destroying its history. Over the following months they set fire tothousands of ancient manuscripts, destroyed the mausoleums of local holy menand forced musicians...

  • A Transgender Woman in Aceh, Indonesia, Gathers Strength as New Anti-Gay Sex Laws Roll Out

    New regulations in Aceh now punish gay sex with fines, jail time, even canings. It’s the latest phase in a gradual rollout of Sharia laws that also prohibit unmarried men and women from riding on a moped together, or holding hands in public. Gambling is not allowed either, and all Muslim women must wear the traditional head covering...