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Articles - 2016

Renewing Islam

In Europe we often think that within Islam there is no debate on the Holy Scriptures. However, the debate does exists, and often features strong tones leading also to controversy, as in this article from al-Safir, a leftist newspaper, whose tone is definitely very hard and accusatory. How to interpret the Qur’an in light of the context in which Muslims live today?

28/12/2016 | Habib Fayad* | Islamic Thinkers

The Invisible Christians of Qatar

In Doha, a vast community of immigrants profess their faith without displaying religious symbols, but the freedom of worship is a controversial question

28/12/2016 | Laura Cappon | Christians in the Muslim world

Egypt, Christians no Longer Feel Protected by Sisi

The Cairo church bombing undermines the credibility of the Egyptian President, accused by the Copts of not doing enough for their safety

28/12/2016 | Chiara Pellegrino | Christians in the Muslim world

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

"Your dwelling place, my Son, is the greatest of all, and yet, you wanted me as your dwelling place"

23/12/2016 | Editorial Staff

When the Bible Was Printed in Mosul

The history of Dominican printing which brought the sacred texts back to Chaldean Christians in the nineteenth century

15/11/2016 | Jean-Maurice Fiey | Christians in the Muslim world

Iraqi Christians Fear for Their Future

An Iraqi priest denounces: the government in Baghdad will not make room for minorities

15/11/2016 | Francesca Miglio | Christians in the Muslim world

Mosul: the Fortress that Charmed Travelers

The golden age of a city beyond compare in the narrative of an Arab writer of the twelfth century

15/11/2016 | Ibn Jubayr | Arabo-Islamic Classics
Celebration of the feast of Muharram in Iran

What Iran Wants in Iraq

The rivalry among holy cities, Khomeini’s doctrine opposed to ayatollah al-Sistani’s quietism: how the cracks in the Shi’ite front affect the fight against ISIS

11/11/2016 | Riccardo Redaelli | The Peoples of Islam

Which Forces are Fighting Against ISIS in Mosul

The fragile coalition that is waging war on the “Caliph” is made up of Iraqi special forces, Shiite, Kurdish, Yazidi and Christian militias, and has international support

11/11/2016 | Giovanni Parigi | Jihadism and violence
Coptic cross

What the New Law on the Construction of Churches in Egypt Says

While the Coptic Church expressed satisfaction, within the Coptic community itself there are those who believe that the text brought no improvement

24/10/2016 | Nathalie Bernard-Maugiron | Christians in the Muslim world

Algeria, Sufi Mysticism Against Extremism

After the excesses of Salafi and Jihadist Islam, an ancient Muslim spiritual movement, rooted in tradition, regains space in Algerian society

24/10/2016 | Henri Teissier | The Peoples of Islam

The Rais: Arab Leaders in Egyptian Literature

From Naguib Mahfouz to Muhammad al-Bisati, the narrative of power, oppressions, revolutions and counter-revolutions goes through the pages of great novels

24/10/2016 | Luisa Orelli | The Peoples of Islam

Egypt, Copts and Government reach agreement on Church Building Law

For months the Coptic Christians in Egypt have asked for non-discriminatory regulation of the construction of places of worship

02/09/2016 | Tewfik Aclimandos | Religions and the public sphere
Pope Tawadros and General al-Sisi

Egyptian Copts and the Liberty to Build Churches

"It is as if prayer and worship by Christians were crimes," Pope Tawadros says

02/09/2016 | Pope Tawadros II | Religions and the public sphere

What is the Solution for France?

The national “values” that a certain consensus claims are impervious to terrorism now sound empty, and nobody knows what secularism means anymore

01/08/2016 | Jean Duchesne | Religions and the public sphere

Having the Courage to Take a Stand after Nice

The time of gray is over. Only black and white remain, for and against violence

01/08/2016 | Martino Diez | Jihadism and violence

Reading the Qur’an in the Twenty-first Century

The modern era has witnessed the re-emergence of a strongly literalist approach to Scripture that emphasises certain understanding handed down by the tradition to the detriment of other, equally valid readings. Those who adopt the textualist method seem to believe that it provides the highest degree of certainty as to the text’s “meaning.” Others maintain that it is necessary to consider the context in which Muslims are living.

29/07/2016 | Denis Gril | The Peoples of Islam

Sharia, a Divine Path Constructed by Men

The Muslims’ Holy Book is a “mirror-book:” the meanings promoted by the exegetes lie not in the text but, rather, in an interaction between the text and the exegetes’ own experience. Even when the legal rules do find a foundation in its verses, they are not obtained by way of a simple reading. The prohibition against wine demonstrates this quite clearly: the exegetes reorganize the text of the Qur’an after reworking it and then, relying on external data, they propose an interpretation.

29/07/2016 | Mohammed Hocine Benkheira | Islamic Thinkers

The Imams Who Make the Book Speak

It is a fundamental principle of Shi‘ite exegesis that the imam is the only person who may legitimately interpret the sacred Text, having been chosen and inspired by God for this purpose. Indeed, according to a saying attributed to ‘Alī, the Qur’an “does not speak in a language; it needs its own interpreter.” The latter can only be an infallible imam, just as the Prophet was. At the purely literal level, without the imam’s hermeneutics, the Book does not mean anything; it is a “mute Qur’an.” It is the imam who renders it intelligible and it is for this reason that he is called the “speaking Qur’an.

29/07/2016 | Mathieu Terrier | The Peoples of Islam

The Mysticism That Lies Beyond the Letter

The first glimmerings of an interpretation of the Qur’an that goes beyond the text’s immediate meaning can already be glimpsed in the works of the first exegetes and the imams in the Prophet’s family. Yet it was primarily the birth of a specific way of knowledge, Sufism, that started a long tradition of spiritual and esoteric interpretation: an inexhaustible well-spring, fed just as much by the text as by the Sufi tradition, which has always sought the source of its inspiration in the Revelation.

29/07/2016 | Denis Gril | The Peoples of Islam
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