Religious Diversity News

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‘Young Imam’ Is the Reality Show Creating All the Buzz In Malaysia

Author: James Hookway

Source: The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. has “American Idol.” Britain has “The X Factor.” Malaysia, one of the world’s more progressive Muslim nations, has something rather different—a televised search for the country’s most eligible young religious leader.

“Young Imam” might look familiar at first glance. Ten good-looking male contestants in sharp-looking suits are assigned to sing and complete a series of complex tasks. At the end of the show, the studio lights dim, the music drops to a whisper, and a clutch of young hopefuls step forward nervously, waiting hand-in-hand to find out who will be sent home that night.

Instead of a record contract or a million-dollar prize, though, the last imam standing wins a scholarship to the al-Madinah University in Saudi Arabia, a job leading prayers at a Kuala Lumpur mosque and an expense-paid trip to Mecca to perform the Haj pilgrimage.

Young Imam Serves as Islam’s Face to Community

Author: Barbara Bradley Hagerty

Source: NPR

All Things Considered, August 6, 2007 · The day is sunny and hot, the hamburgers are on the grill, the kids are jumping on the moon bounce and about 400 people are milling around the brand new Dar Al Noor mosque in Manassas, Va.

Neighbors and members of the congregation are here — even Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is coming. James Dade, a non-Muslim who lives nearby, is manning the grill. As he hands a burger to a Muslim friend, he turns and gives this assessment of his new neighbors.

“They’re very friendly, very helpful, very community-oriented,” he says, noting that his best friend attends Dar Al Noor. “If there were more Christians like my friend, we wouldn’t have any problems in this world.”

Young Indian Americans Organize “Bhangra Against Bush”

Source: The Independant Press Association

On August 25, 2004 The Independant Press Association reported, “D.J. Rekha, who will be organizing Bhangra Against Bush every third Thursday through September, says: ‘We are putting all our energies into getting Bush out of office and also opposing the war that’s going on. This is the way I articulate my policies by doing what I do. I think the most effective way people can make change is to make change from where they are standing.’ ‘Bye Bye Bush’ is the cheeky name for a dance benefit organized by Ashu Rai, co-founder of Sholay Productions, an entertainment company that caters largely to the gay and lesbian South Asian community in Tribeca, but also to straight progressive South Asians and non-desis. The event is around the time of the Republican National Convention in New York, and is one of the many protests that are planned.”

Young Jain Singles Gather to Mingle in California

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune

On June 21, 2002 The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on the Jain Forum for Friendship in California where “more than 150 eligible men and women – all
followers of Jainism, an Indian religion with strict interpretations of
pacifism, ecological awareness, and vegetarianism – came to mix and mingle in
Long Beach on a recent weekend at the first Jains singles conference… ‘This is for our generation, which is caught between cultures,’ said Komal
Shah, 28, co-chair of the Jain Forum for Friendship…

The meeting was designed to fuse the efficiencies of Indian arranged introductions with the free-spirited style of dating in the West.”

Young Men Face Hate Crimes Trial for Attempted Arson of New York Synagogue

Source: New York Daily News

On August 27, 2002 the New York Daily News reported that “Mohammed Alfaquih, 20, and Mazin Assi, 23, both of Yonkers, are charged with
attempting to set fire to the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale [New York]
on Oct. 8, 2000…  The incident took place just before the start of Yom Kippur, the holiest day
of the Jewish calendar. The men have been charged with committing a hate crime
and face up to 15 years in prison… Family and friends of the young Arab [men] accused in a synagogue arson attempt said
yesterday they fear the shadow of Sept. 11 could fall across the trial…  ‘All we want is a fair trial,’ said Manal Alfaquih, Mohammed Alfaquih’s
sister-in-law… The Yonkers men were the first to be charged under the state’s new hate
crimes law. The legislation, which carries stiffer penalties for bias crimes,
went into effect three hours before the incident.”

Young Muslim Activists Look At Politics Post-9/11

Author: Sophia Tareen

Source: The Washington Post

Wire Service: AP

Dana Jabri believes the only way for young Muslim Americans to move forward is by jumping into politics.

The 16-year-old child of Syrian immigrants has phone banked for political candidates, served as a primary election judge and encouraged other suburban Chicago high-schoolers to pay attention to state politics.

“We care just as much as anyone else about America’s problems,” said Jabri, who wears hijab, a Muslim woman’s head scarf. “I aspire to be the first hijabi senator.”

Jabri is part of a younger generation of Muslim activists in the U.S. whose role has shifted in the last decade from combating post 9/11 backlash and educating those with little exposure to Islam to becoming politically involved and delving into universal issues, like human rights and environmentalism.

Young Muslim Leaders Present Historic Declaration at the White House

MPAC today released a first-of-its-kind declaration written by the delegates of the 5th Annual Young Leaders Summit that affirms their shared commitment to their faith, communities and nation. The group drafted and presented their declaration in front of White House officials in late July.