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Curated by Seth Dixon
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Gender Equality Activists in the Muslim World

In a time where interfaith and cultural and religious diversity are scrutinized and need support, Raheel Raza is a force to be reckoned with. Her outspoken and strong opinions on Muslim society and Islamic beliefs have been groundbreaking and inspiring; however others consider them to be a source of criticism and condemnation. Yet Raza remains undeterred in her fight against gender prejudices and her mission to improve the female position in Islamic society continues.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Islamophobia is a real problem today and I teach to reduce geographic ignorance and fears about an unknown ‘other.’ That has also created an environment where many--myself included--are hesitant to shine the light on issues of gender equity and other cultural problems in the Muslim world for fear of it entrenching students with bigoted viewpoints to cling to them all the more firmly.   Also, many are worried that critiques will also be perceived as Islamophobia.  Recently the Swedish foreign minister called out Saudi Arabia's legal restraints on women--some called this Islamophobic, Saudi Arabia removed its Swedish ambassador and stop issuing visas to relative silence from the global media and no support from the international community.

 

We cannot lay the blame on an entire society/religion based on the actions of a few, but it would be disingenuous to pretend there were no problems. As Raheel Raza says, “culture is no excuse for abuse.” The linked videos are one Muslim woman’s critique on some cultural aspects within some Muslim societies. This is not to say that these problems are only in the Muslim world, nor does it means that the all Muslims live in or want to create oppressive societies--far from it. There is great, rich diversity of thought, opinions, and interpretations among Muslims.

 

TagsgenderIslam, TED.

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Abbey Reddig's curator insight, March 29, 1:59 PM

Islamophobia is a real problem today and I teach to reduce geographic ignorance and fears about an unknown ‘other.’ That has also created an environment where many--myself included--are hesitant to shine the light on issues of gender equity and other cultural problems in the Muslim world for fear of it entrenching students with bigoted viewpoints to cling to them all the more firmly.   Also, many are worried that critiques will also be perceived as Islamophobia.  Recently the Swedish foreign minister called out Saudi Arabia's legal restraints on women--some called this Islamophobic, Saudi Arabia removed its Swedish ambassador and stop issuing visas to relative silence from the global media and no support from the international community.

 

We cannot lay the blame on an entire society/religion based on the actions of a few, but it would be disingenuous to pretend there were no problems. As Raheel Raza says, “culture is no excuse for abuse.” The linked videos are one Muslim woman’s critique on some cultural aspects within some Muslim societies. This is not to say that these problems are only in the Muslim world, nor does it means that the all Muslims live in or want to create oppressive societies--far from it. There is great, rich diversity of thought, opinions, and interpretations among Muslims.

 

TagsgenderIslam, TED.

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Xinjiang Seethes Under Chinese Crackdown

Xinjiang Seethes Under Chinese Crackdown | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The Chinese government has introduced unprecedented measures aimed at shaping the behavior and beliefs of China’s 10 million Uighurs." http://wp.me/p2Ij6x-60y

Seth Dixon's insight:

This NY Times article is a good update on the situation of Xianjiang.  I wish this was available when I wrote this article (with links for more teaching resources) for the National Geographic Education Blog on the always simmering tensions in the China's westernmost province.  

 

TagsCentral Asia, culturepoliticalconflictgovernance,ChinaEast AsiareligionIslamlandscape.

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The Myth of the Caliphate

The Myth of the Caliphate | Geography Education | Scoop.it

Myth Article #1: Western pundits and nostalgic Muslim thinkers alike have built up a narrative of the caliphate as an enduring institution, central to Islam and Islamic thought between the seventh and twentieth centuries. In fact, the caliphate is a political or religious idea whose relevance has waxed and waned according to circumstances.


Myth Article #2: ISIS may use terrorism as a tactic, but it is not a terrorist organization. Rather, it is a pseudo-state led by a conventional army. So the counterterrorism strategies that were useful against al Qaeda won’t work in the fight against ISIS.


Myth Video #1: This video points to the reasons that recruits are attracted to extremism (not just poverty and ignorance).


Tags: politicalgovernance, religion, Islam, historical, terrorism, geopolitics, ISIS.

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Luis Cesar Nunes's curator insight, November 26, 2015 5:12 AM

Myth

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, November 30, 2015 2:32 PM

The idea of the Caliphate seems to be more of what all the groups which called themselves Caliphates seem to be pursuing. It seems to me that the fact of the matter is less important than the idea, as what happened one hundred years ago is far less important than what is believed to have happened. That ISIS is a state can be argued, but the fact that they are fighting a conventional war is indisputable. Yes, the tactics we use must be shifted, but this means that support from aircraft or by indirect means are even more viable than they were during the Second Gulf War.

 

 

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How religion(s) spread across the world

How religion(s) spread across the world | Geography Education | Scoop.it
VIDEO: 5,000 years of religious history in two minutes.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Short, sweet and to the point--this video is a great way to show the historical geographies of major world religions.  What are the cultural barriers to the diffusion of one of these particular religions?  What geographic factors helped to facilitate the expansion of one of these world religions?   


Tags: religiondiffusion, culture, ChristianityIslamBuddhismHinduismJudaism,
unit 3 culture.


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Clayton Nelson's curator insight, March 16, 9:53 AM
This video is extremely easy to watch but at the same time gives a lot of information. Very helpful! CN
Clayton Nelson's comment, April 4, 10:09 AM
It is amazing to see how quickly some religions spread compared to others especially once the Islamic religion began. Also i believe its a great thing that during the age of discovery, religions were taken over to the new world with those who traveled there.
Alexis Michelle's curator insight, April 4, 10:11 AM

Short, sweet and to the point--this video is a great way to show the historical geographies of major world religions. Each of these religions have been "born" somewhere and have grown to different countries. Everyone has a religion well most of everyone and I believe it is very important to know the history of the religion that you are or fit into.


Tags: religion, diffusion, culture, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism,
unit 3 culture.


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World's largest hotel coming to Mecca

World's largest hotel coming to Mecca | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Abraj Kudai, a complex in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is set to become the world's largest hotel by room count when it opens in 2017.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Las Vegas currently has the four of the five largest hotels in the world; people flock to the Nevada desert in droves for the gambling and nightlife.  Mecca has a very distinct draw that pulls tourists in from all over the world.  As a sacred pilgrimage site, the tourism industry thrives and needs an immense infrastructure to handle the high volume of visitors that come for the Hajj.

   

Tagstourism, Islam, Saudi Arabiaculture, religion, Middle East.

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Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 22, 2015 7:37 AM

The location of the hotel makes a lot of sense. Mecca is an obvious tourist destination. Muslims from all over the world, make the sacred pilgrimage to the holy city. Those same people, are in need of accommodations once they arrive in the city. The economic potential of such a hotel is outstanding. It was also interesting to learn that Las Vegas currently has four of the five largest hotels in the world. Even with the building of this hotel, I do not see Las Vegas being displaced as the worlds premier tourist destination.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 7:14 PM

this is hardly surprising, with how many people go to Mecca in a year. Mecca is probably the largest single destination for religious tourism in the world, and it is the only city on earth where there are religious obligations to enter the city .

Patty B's curator insight, March 11, 12:47 PM
I found this article to be pretty eye-opening. It shows how Capitalism has spread virtually everywhere, regardless of how many people from all around the world denounce its evil way. Just as many countries in South America utilize their beautiful weather and beaches to generate revenue, Saudi Arabia is planning to utilize Islam's holiest location to do the same. Some would claim this hotel to not be in the best interest of the Muslim religion, while others can't deny that it would generate a significant amount of revenue for the surrounding area. To me, as someone raised Catholic, this seems no different than there being hotels in Rome surrounding the Vatican. I understand the financial purposes for promoting tourism in such locations, but I can also understand how some can't help but feel a sense of disrespect when such things happen. It promotes the commercialism of locations and symbols that are extremely sacred to a great number of people. But it also helps the people of Mecca and greater Saudi Arabia live more comfortable lives in some way, be it improvement to infrastructure or investing to generate long-term income. 
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Sunnis and Shiites

Sunnis and Shiites | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Clarissa Ward breaks down the history of differences between opposing sects of Islam
Seth Dixon's insight:

The geography of the Sunni-Shiite division is incredibly important for a good understanding of world regional geography as well as modern geopolitics. This 5 minute video (as well as this NPR podcast) examine the historical and religious aspects of this split to then analyze the political and cultural implications in the Middle East today.  Additionally this Pew Research article highlights the 5 countries where the the majority of Muslims are Shiite, with some good demographic data to add to the analysis.  Take this quiz to test your knowledge.  


Tags: MiddleEast, Islamreligionhistorical, culture.

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Caterin Victor's curator insight, April 14, 2015 10:51 AM

Since Obama turmoil with his absurd Arab Spring, Sunni Shite are killing one the other like crazy Islamist

Norka McAlister's curator insight, April 15, 2015 10:07 PM

There is a very complicated history between two major religions in the Middle East. History shows how this religion was divided by Mohamed’s death. It turned into a totally new religion and now rivals in the Middle East. I have to mention that one of my co-workers is from Syria and his definition about Sunnis and Shiites are not open minded. The history behind the Muslims religions demonstrate that the more power they have the more places they will dominate. Furthermore, human rights are violated regardless of religious denomination. For some people, Sunnis are considered as terrorist and compared to extremist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS. These people who do not want to implement any kind of technology in their countries are holding on to the past with their religion. However, the Shiites experience more freedom even though they still follow strict religious rules. Even the US is confused about these Middle Eastern religions as countries that used to be governed by Sunnis now are run by Shiites. The US needs to remain neutral regarding these religious changes.

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Teaching Cultural Empathy: Stereotypes, World Views and Cultural Difference

Teaching Cultural Empathy: Stereotypes, World Views and Cultural Difference | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"I am torn about how to teach these two ideas about cultures and societies all around the world:

  1. People and cultures are different all over the world.
  2. People and cultures are the same all over the world.

These points may seem like a contradiction, but when put into proper context they teach important truths about culture."

Seth Dixon's insight:

I've posted several resources here about some of the intriguing cultural interactions in the Middle East stemming from globalization.  I thought there was some excellent public dialog after the Charlie Hebdo shooting, but I was disheartened by some of prejudiced responses that I've heard since then--that inspired me to pull some of them together in this this article I wrote for National Geographic Education.


Tags: National Geographic, religion, culture, Islam, globalization, popular culture, unit 3 culture.

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Avery Liardon's curator insight, March 23, 2015 9:48 PM

Unit 3:

Shines insight on stereotypes that are commonly used throughout the world. Reading this article really made me think about stereotypes that are so commonly used they are considered acceptable. It's a ridiculous idea to think that all people under a culture act and behave the same way. 

Emily Coats's curator insight, March 24, 2015 12:06 PM

UNIT 3 CULTURE

This article is written to compare and contrast various ways to teach young school children about global cultures. On one hand, we can relate all cultures to each other, due to their common goals and views. For example, all families around the world aim to do what's best for each other, love and cherish one another, and try their hardest to succeed economically. On the other hand, cultures are extremely different around the world, with different music, clothing, and underlying views on life. We can continue to say that popular culture has diffused so greatly, with advanced technologies and means of transportation, so it has influenced and homogenized our landscape quite a bit. Folk culture is obviously still a powerful force, but popular culture does have some effects around the world. I believe that children need to understand the importance of maintaining diversity thy preserving folk culture but they also need to acknowledge the pros and cons of the global diffusion of popular culture and how it connects us at a global scale. 

Danielle Smith's curator insight, April 12, 2015 12:21 AM

I think Teaching Cultural Empathy: Stereotypes, World Views and Cultural Difference is a helpful article for teachers to read. This article considers ideas I constantly come back to, whilst collecting resources and ideas for teaching students about cultural diversity and identity. How do I teach students, that ‘people and cultures are different all over the world’ (Dixon, 2015, April 2), but also the same?

Dixon suggests that we need to teach that people and cultures worldwide are the SAME and DIFFERENT simultaneously.  In this way, students can appreciate the rich diversity of cultures and societies, whilst at the same time learning values of humanity and empathy, which unite us all.

 

I believe by recognising and appreciating the rich cultures of students in the classroom, we can explore and learn about cultural diversity in an honest, rich and non-stereotypical way and allow students to feel valued at the same time. In addition, as students know each other, this helps them relate to ‘people from other places, who speak other languages’ and follow different religions to their own (Dixon, 2015, April 2). Furthermore, this should help increase intercultural understanding in the classroom by developing a ‘socially cohesive’ environment that ‘respects, and appreciates cultural, social and religious diversity’ (MYCEETA, p. 7).

 

References

Dixon, S. (2015, April 2). Teaching cultural empathy: Stereotypes, world views and cultural difference. National Geographic. Retrieved April 7, 2015, http: http://blog.education.nationalgeographic.com/2015/02/04/teaching-cultural-empathy-stereotypes-world-views-and-cultural-difference/

 

Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training, and Youth Affairs. (2008, December). Melbourne declaration on educational goals for young Australians. Melbourne: Author. 

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Incredible images capture dazzling symmetry of Iran's mosques

Incredible images capture dazzling symmetry of Iran's mosques | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Self-taught Iranian photographer gains rare access to shoot religious buildings as they've never been seen.  It's a side of Iran the rest of the world doesn't normally get to see -- the kaleidoscopically brilliant interiors of the country's intricately designed mosques.With beautiful mosaics and stained glass framed by powerful architecture, the buildings are astounding."


Tagsreligion, culture, IslamIran, Middle East.

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Molly McComb's curator insight, March 21, 2015 4:25 PM

Showing the sacred spaces of Islam and how they are designed around the world. 

Lena Minassian's curator insight, March 22, 2015 3:47 PM

This was one of my favorite articles. We usually are very used to seeing negative sides to the Middle East and this gave it a different spin. This shows breathtaking pictures of the Mosques in Iran. This architecture isn't like anything I've seen with all of the symmetry and colors. These photos were taken by a student and were not easily taken. You have to have an eye to capture moments like this and pictures like this are not always appreciated. the detail that went into creating and designing these mosques are really special and I would love to actually see something like this in person. 

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, March 29, 2015 4:03 PM

Amazing photos of these mosques.  The detail and color in some of these mosques are extraordinary.  This kind of brilliance in color is something that is unexpected in this part of the world where everything seems to be so bland and alike in color or style.  Its surprising that the mosques don't let professional take pictures with certain equipment inside but let tourists take photos.  I would understand if the light from a camera could cause damage to the art, but these are the people who will be able to share these beautiful pictures with the rest of the world and show that there is more to Iran than what the outside may think.

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The Great Mosque of Djenné

The Great Mosque of Djenné, Mali, is a magnet for tourists, but it is increasingly difficult for locals to live a normal life around it.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This New York Times short video is an intriguing glimpse into some of the cultural pressures behind having the designation of being an official world heritage site.  The great mosque combined with the traditional mud-brick feel to the whole city draws in tourists and is a source of communal pride, but many homeowners want to modernize and feel locked into traditional architecture by outside organizations that want them to preserve an 'authentic' cultural legacy.


Tags: Islam, tourism, place, religion, culture, historical, community, Mali, Africa.

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Edgar Manasseh Jr.'s curator insight, January 22, 2015 6:41 PM

Intresting

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 5:50 PM

it is horrifying that a government could force people to live in abject poverty and that the only source of income in this area is a tourist trap that needs to be rebuilt every few years in its entirety.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 6:22 PM

This major tourist attraction site is very interesting, a mosque made of just mud. Everything is mud besides the mosque, business and individual homes. So unfortunately for the citizens, this is not a great place to live. Since this place is historic, outside sources such as the UN do not really want to help the people out because they want the city of Djenne to be preserved as a historic site and they want everything to be as if it was ages ago, they will not even allow interior redesign. It seems though as if the only money they will ever receive is pretty much tourist money,  They do want to modernize, but in a way that keeps the history visible. they have failed to modernize in other sectors, such as garbage disposal. their garage is destroying their water which is running through their streets and making the water quality bad, which in turn, makes the mud quality bad for building.

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What Westerners can learn from the Hajj

What Westerners can learn from the Hajj | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Though it may come as a surprise to outsiders, the journey to Mecca is a manifestation of globally moderate Islam."


The Mecca region of Saudi Arabia has recently been in the midst of Hajj season. The Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, is strongly encouraged of all Muslims who have the means to undertake it. Importantly, by bringing together 2 million to 3 million people from across the globe, the Hajj pilgrimage is a manifestation of the diversity and moderate nature of global Islam. This image of the Muslim world as cosmopolitan and reasonable stands in stark contrast to the militant Islamist fundamentalism we more regularly hear about in media coverage — with the Islamic State and Boko Haram being the most recent manifestation of this.


TagsIslam, Saudi Arabiaculture, religion, Middle East.

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Molly McComb's curator insight, March 21, 2015 4:22 PM

Shows the impact of the Hajj on the Muslim people as Muslims around the world travel if they are able to see this holy place. 

Molly McComb's curator insight, May 27, 2015 11:03 AM

Showing how Muslims are affected by the Hajj as they eperience the holy travel. This time of year, people from all around the world travel to see the city and take place in religious customs that have been around for centuries. 

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 2:00 PM

this is very important for people to understand, muslims are not the problem, they are not evil they are not extreme they are not terrorists. islamic groups are those things. but the fact of the matter is that the extrmeists are a problem and a ruining the perception for all muslims. the only way to fix this is for other muslims to be the ones to stop these groups, until they do so they will always be associated this way, no matter how many articles come out to the contrary and no matter how much they try to distance themselves from these groups

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Comparing the five major world religions

"It's perfectly human to grapple with questions, like 'Where do we come from?' and 'How do I live a life of meaning?' These existential questions are central to the five major world religions -- and that's not all that connects these faiths. John Bellaimey explains the intertwined histories and cultures of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This TED ED Lesson outlines the basics of five major world religions which in turn have profoundly reshaped the cultural geographies we see today.  While the narration in the video might be a bit dry, the visuals immerse the viewer into the cultural context from which these religions emerged.   


Tags: religion, culture, TEDChristianity, Islam, unit 3 culture.

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Lindley Amarantos's curator insight, September 5, 2014 9:13 AM

Great insight into our 5 major world religions.

Brett Laskowitz's curator insight, January 28, 2015 12:06 PM

This is also a good introductory video for the Religion unit.  It will at least give students a general overview of the major world religions as a baseline of information to reference when diving deeper into the unit content.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, June 1, 2015 10:10 AM

unit 3

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The tragedy of the Arabs

The tragedy of the Arabs | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"A THOUSAND years ago, the great cities of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo took turns to race ahead of the Western world. Islam and innovation were twins. The various Arab caliphates were dynamic superpowers—beacons of learning, tolerance and trade. Yet today the Arabs are in a wretched state. Even as Asia, Latin America and Africa advance, the Middle East is held back by despotism and convulsed by war.  

Pluralism, education, open markets: these were once Arab values and they could be so again. Today, as Sunnis and Shias tear out each others’ throats in Iraq and Syria and a former general settles onto his new throne in Egypt, they are tragically distant prospects. But for a people for whom so much has gone so wrong, such values still make up a vision of a better future."

Seth Dixon's insight:

While the title of the article is more inflammatory than I would prefer, the analysis in this article from the Economist does a good job linking the cultural, economic and political struggles in the Middle East.


Tags: political, culture, economic, Islam, MiddleEast.

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Edelin Espino's curator insight, December 5, 2014 10:46 AM

For Arabs to advance, need people to work together. However, unfortunately, there are a  lot of different ideals with religions, politics, and different points of views. They need to stop the war, but that is not simple. 

Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 19, 2015 1:47 PM

The introduction of the article does bring up an interesting historical concept, at one point in time the Arab world absolutely eclipsed the Western World.  While the west lingered after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Arab world had universities, great thinkers, was pioneering medicine, and had a tolerant culture.  What happened is the Middle East stagnated (in my opinion after the various Crusades the Westerners fought).  Today, the Middle East is one of the most dangerous places on the planet to live.  One may ask what happened?  The answer is plain, various military dictators, as referenced to in the article angered the people who began to hate them.  Sadly, many of the dictators were backed by the Western Powers, mainly the United States and its allies.  The Middle East will not be fixed over night, and the region may not be able to have democracy like we Americans have.  Not every region in the world practices American Federal Democracy, and for good reason, it cannot fit every country's need.  Eventually, the Middle East, I am hoping will rebound but hearts and minds need to be won.  Perhaps, one day the Middle East will rebound like Vietnam did after decades of war.  I am hopeful that one day the Middle East will begin competing with the west and have a system of freedom that works for the area.

Brian Wilk's curator insight, March 22, 2015 6:34 PM

This article about the Arabs is very knowledgeable and forthcoming. The author details what was once the greatness of the Arab world, how they have lost their way, and what they can do to get it back. When Arabs ruled the world through trade they were accommodating to all religions and women had freedoms they do not currently enjoy. Now Shia's and Sunni's have a genuine dislike for each other and this sectarian violence shows no signs of abating. Religious freedom is not only a thing of the past, but is usually met by penalties up to and including death if you don't practice the correct form. What company wants to come the region to build their business? A culture that keeps its women in a constant state of repression is indeed troubled.

So much has to happen for the Arabs to be prosperous; how about allowing religious freedom, how about treating women equally? Until these two things happen the Arabs will be forever tagged with the word potential....

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The Origins Of The Shiite-Sunni Split

The Origins Of The Shiite-Sunni Split | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The division between Islam's Shiite minority and the Sunni majority is deepening across the Middle East. The split occurred soon after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, nearly 1,400 years ago.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The ghosts of religious wars past are rattling in Iraq; The geography of the Sunni-Shiite division is incredibly important for a good understanding of world regional geography as well as modern geopolitics. This NPR podcast examines the  historical and religious aspects of this split to then analyze the political and cultural implications in the Middle East today.  Additionally this Pew Research article highlights the 5 countries where the the majority of Muslims are Shiite, with some good demographic data to add to the analysis. 


Tags: MiddleEast, Islamreligionhistorical, culturepodcast.

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Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 19, 2015 8:11 PM

The Islam-Sunni favors the father-in-law of Muhammad Abu Bakr and is strictly orthodox. The Islam-Shi'ite favors Muhammad's son-in-law Ali and it mostly practiced in Iran, southern Iraq and southern Lebanon. Sunni on the other hand is practiced throughout the northern part of Africa and throughout the whole middle east. In the middle east, 85% of the muslim population between Sunni and Shi'ite is Sunni and 15% practices Shia. Between Sunni and Shi'ite, Sunni appears to be the more popular and dominant Islamic religion.

David Lizotte's curator insight, March 31, 2015 5:04 PM

The middle east is a topic of discussion for people throughout America. I say the Middle East in a broad sense because there are a numerous amount of topics one could discuss in regards to the middle east. Politics, violence, terrorism, the faith of Islam in general, the list goes on. But it seems not many people go into the Sunni Shiite conflict in depth. In order to understand much of what goes on in the Middle East one needs to understand the two divisions between Islam, why they exist and what has been the history/significance of the relationship. I wonder sometimes if the people reporting the news realize what they are saying, whom the people/groups of people involved are, and what the significance of there being is. The video shown in class involving the two news reporters discussing/asking questions  about the Middle East with a scholar on the show definitely proved people are ignorant to the Middle East. They painted it with a "broad brush." If they can't even realize the vast size of Islam and the fact that they are generalizing when reporting terrorism thus linking the faith of Islam in general to it then I can only imagine what it would do to their heads to find out that there are two main divisions of Islam. It's bad when the people reporting the news don't understand the significance of what they are saying. It raises questions as to how the American people, whom are not well versed in the Middle East, interpret Islam and its people. Reading articles and listening to discussions would certainly help educate people and honestly this "scoop" was very clear in stating the origin, meaning, and significance of the two different divisions.  

I find the oil situation in the Middle East interesting to say the least. The Shiite's are the clear minority in Islam yet they control 80% of the Middle East's oil. It is crazy to think how the Safavid Dynasty set up shop in what is now Iran... In time Iran would prove to be rich in oil. Other parts of the middle east that are extremely rich in oil like southern Iraq, the eastern region of the Arabian Peninsula and Lebanon are also Shiite. So in this case the minority has access to and controls an extreme amount of wealth. I'm sure there are people whom discuss the Middle East and oil yet don't know the religious aspects of the territory. Just through taking five minutes to read an article such as this an individual may form a different perception of Islam or specifically, in regards to this paragraph, oil in the Middle East. 

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 1:57 PM

having been to this part of the world and encountered obviously countless muslims and talking to several. i learned and witnessed first hand the hate that these people have for eachother, they are on such opposite sides of this religion and it is perplexing because it is the same religion and the debate is over such minor details of it (but judeism christianity and islam are all pretty much the same with minor differences arnt they?)

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How Do Sunni and Shia Islam Differ?

How Do Sunni and Shia Islam Differ? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
With Saudi Arabia’s execution of a Shiite cleric inflaming tensions in the Middle East, here is a primer on the differences between the two branches of Islam.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Knowing the geography of the Sunni-Shiite division is incredibly important for a good understanding of world regional geography as well as modern geopolitics (see a detailed map of the spatial distribution here). This 5 minute video (as well as this NPR podcast) examine the historical and religious aspects of this split to then analyze the political and cultural implications in the Middle East today.  Additionally this Pew Research article highlights the 5 countries where the the majority of Muslims are Shiite, with some good demographic data to add to the analysis.  Take this quiz to test your knowledge on the differences between the two major branches of Islam.   

 

TagsMiddleEastIslamreligionhistorical, culture.

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Patty B's curator insight, March 11, 12:14 PM
In today's day and age, it is becoming increasingly more important to properly distinguish and better understand peoples of all different nationalities and religions. As is the case with Africans, Americans tend to lump all Muslims together. We have a tendency to judge Muslim people based on extremely broad and preconceived notions that are the cause (and/or the result?) of tension between Americans and Muslims living the Middle East. Just as we often consider Africa to be a country (when it's really an entire continent), we often regard all Muslims to universally hold the same beliefs, while in reality, that is very far from the truth. This article touches on the basic differences that exist within the Muslim community, mainly the distinction between Sunni and Shiite groups. I would consider the difference between Sunni and Shiite Muslims to Protestants and Catholics in the United States. A foreigner would not, upon first impressions, recognize any distinction between a Catholic and a Protestant. But in reality, Catholics and Protestants originally come from different areas of the world and hold many different beliefs in regards to ideology despite both being Christian religions. I think this article offers an opportunity for "Westerners" (it seems kind of hypocritical to use such a broad term) to understand that other religions, and in particular the Muslim religion, have aspects to them that are quite similar to aspects of our own culture and religions. 
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Saudi Arabia forms 34-nation Islamic alliance to fight terrorists

Saudi Arabia forms 34-nation Islamic alliance to fight terrorists | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The new counterterrorism coalition includes nations such as Pakistan, Turkey and Egypt as well as war-torn countries with embattled militaries such as Libya and Yemen.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is too new for me to speculate as to the effectiveness or support that this new alliance will have.  What are the national, regional, and global motives of each of these 34 states?  I think we will all keep an eye on this moving forward  (Articles from CS Monitor, CNN and Al Jazeera).  Not everyone is convinced that this is anything more than public relations.

 

Tags:  political, terrorismIslam, geopolitics.

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Treathyl Fox's curator insight, December 25, 2015 10:45 AM

Does Allah know we (non-Muslims) needs peacemaking friends in the Muslim world?  Just thinkin'.

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Hajj stampede: Saudis face growing criticism over deaths

Hajj stampede: Saudis face growing criticism over deaths | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Iran leads growing criticism of Saudi Arabia after the deaths of at least 717 people in a stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage.


Tagstourism, Islam, Saudi Arabiaculture, religion, Middle East.

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Greg Hill's curator insight, September 28, 2015 12:17 PM
Islam, Hajj, Mecca
Matthew Richmond's curator insight, October 26, 2015 12:52 PM

Re-scooped from Professor Dixon, this article shows how the rest of Islam is responding to the recent catastrophe in Mecca. The Saudi government has a responsibility to ensure that the Hajj is a safe venture in a Muslim's life. Since the Hajj is one of the most sacred pillars of Islam, I think someone should consider the idea of putting a multi-national police force in place at Mecca to ensure this kind of thing doesn't happen again.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 7:11 PM

with the massive crush of people who descend on Mecca every year its hard to imagine that this hasn't happened before. Mecca is THE pilgrimage site for Muslims, and holy law dictates that every Muslim should go there in their lifetime.

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Ramadan in Sweden with no dusk, no dawn

Ramadan in Sweden with no dusk, no dawn | Geography Education | Scoop.it
During summer, the sun never sets in Sweden's northernmost town, posing challenges for Muslims observing the holy month.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Like many early religious traditions, Ramadan is observed based on measurements from the moon and sun. The start of Ramadan is determined by the sighting of the new moon, which moves about 11 days back in the Gregorian calendar each year. During Ramadan the consumption of food and water is prohibited between dawn and dusk, how do Muslims observing the fast manage in the far north of Scandinavia, where the sun never sets in the summertime (in 2015, Ramadan is from June 17 to July 17)?  Some Muslims in the West (and north) argue that ancient customs from the Arabian desert need updating now that the religion has diffused beyond the Middle East.    


Tags: Islam, perspective, religiondiffusion, culture.

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Lindley Amarantos's curator insight, August 6, 2015 3:57 PM

Like many early religious traditions, Ramadan is observed based on measurements from the moon and sun. The start of Ramadan is determined by the sighting of the new moon, which moves about 11 days back in the Gregorian calendar each year. During Ramadan the consumption of food and water is prohibited between dawn and dusk, how do Muslims observing the fast manage in the far north of Scandinavia, where the sun never sets in the summertime (in 2015, Ramadan is from June 17 to July 17)?  Some Muslims in the West (and north) argue that ancient customs from the Arabian desert need updating now that the religion has diffused beyond the Middle East.    


Tags: Islam, perspective, religion, diffusion, culture.

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One Place, Two Names

One Place, Two Names | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The government of the People’s Republic of China calls the country’s westernmost region Xinjiang, but the people who have lived there for centuries refer to their home as Eastern Turkistan. Many times when two groups do not refer to a place by the same name, it points to a cultural or political conflict, as is the case here.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Multiple names on the map can hint at bigger cultural and political fault lines.  Is it Londonderry or just Derry?  The Sea of Japan or the East Sea?  This article I wrote for the National Geographic Education Blog is on the always simmering tensions in the China's westernmost province.  


TagsCentral Asia, toponyms, culture, political, conflictgovernance, China, East Asia, religionIslam, landscape.

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Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 12:51 PM

The region in North-west China where the indigenous people refer to home as Eastern Turkistan is being stripped by the Chinese government. They are banned from practicing their religion of Islam and cannot wear certain clothing that they are accustomed to. This is an example of History repeating itself, similarly to the United States government treating Native Americans and their way of life. Ultimately, it is important that the people of Eastern Turkistan has the right to practice in what they believed in, so that they do not lose their identity, culture and heritage.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 8:38 PM
Going by either the name Xinjiang or Eastern Turkistan, Sometimes when people cannot agree on the name of a single place there is conflict, but apparently not here. it became an economic hub after they extracted natural gas, oil, and coal. Because of its location, a lot of the people in the area are Turkish and are Muslim. The Chinese government does not really like this and they are doing what they can to get rid of the Muslim ways, for example, one thing they have done is denounce the hijab, or ban any religious displays. .
Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 3:45 PM

it seems that this a a recurring theme with china. disputed lands surround this country inside and out, they claim to own all of it as well. but when the people that live their claim to be independent and choose not to associate themselves with you than it creates and interesting dynamic.

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Quiz on the Differences Between Sunni and Shia Islam

Quiz on the Differences Between Sunni and Shia Islam | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Most of the world's major religions are made up of multiple sects or denominations, and Islam is no different. Islam's two major sects are the Sunnis and the Shiites, and the division and interplay between the two is a major factor in the geopolitics of the Middle East. How well do you understand Sunni and Shiite Islam? Take our quiz and find out!
Seth Dixon's insight:

The ghosts of religious wars past are rattling in Iraq; The geography of the Sunni-Shiite division is incredibly important for a good understanding of world regional geography as well as modern geopolitics. This NPR podcast examines the  historical and religious aspects of this split to then analyze the political and cultural implications in the Middle East today.  Additionally this Pew Research article highlights the 5 countries where the the majority of Muslims are Shiite, with some good demographic data to add to the analysis.  Take this quiz to test your knowledge.  


Tags: MiddleEast, Islamreligionhistorical, culture.

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Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, April 6, 2015 10:19 PM

After taking this class about Political Islam I thought I knew about Sunni and Shiite Islam.  Taking this quiz I definitely mixed up a lot of the information.  It seems like it would be simple to understand the differences and the similarities, but they are so parallel its easy to get the information mixed up.  

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 21, 2015 3:09 PM

"Muslim Extremists!" "Death to militant Islam!" "Muslims are terrorists!" These cries are often heard from conservative factions of the United States, who are a lot more eager to blindly hate than they are to learn about the lives of the same people they want dead. Islam encompasses some 1.3 billion believers, and there are significant deviations in both the faith and its application among such a wide population of believers. Before this exam, I knew about the Sunni majority and the Shia minority currently in conflict in the Middle East, but my understanding of the distinction between the two faiths was vague at best. I also did not recognize that each of the two main branches are then further split into different denominations, much in the same way that Christianity is today within our own country. As different and "other" we try and make the Middle East out to be, they are not that different in their religious practices (and their fanatics ruining the name of the religion for everyone else) than many conservatives would like them to be. I definitely enjoyed taking this exam, particularly within the context of everything I have been learning about with what is happening in Syria. I had no idea Assad was not just a regular Shia, but instead a member of a much smaller, stricter denomination. Learning about this region has definitely been an eye-opening experience for me, in the sense that I know a lot less about the world than I thought I knew.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 4, 2015 4:53 PM

I am not very educated on the religion but I do know from my notes in class that religion is what stops Iraq from unifying. That country is made up of three religions Muslims , Sunnis and Shiites.

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The colourful propaganda of Xinjiang

The colourful propaganda of Xinjiang | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"China is in the midst of a crackdown on what it describes as 'terrorism driven by religious extremism'. The campaign is focused on the western province of Xinjiang, home to China's Uighur ethnic minority who are predominantly Muslim."

Seth Dixon's insight:

China does not have a good track record of dealing with ethnic and religious minorities and the murals that can be seen in Xinjiang are a testament to that fact.  This has led to many Muslims in Western China being attracted to more radical ideas.  While I certainly don't condone radicalism nor China's heavy-handed tactics, I am fascinated by the cultural messages that are strategically being placed in the landscape to influence the politics and culture of the region.  


Tags: political, conflictgovernance, China, East Asia, religion, culture, Islam, landscape.

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Kendra King's curator insight, April 3, 2015 7:37 PM

This art seems like a logical extension of the government’s use of power although I personally don’t agree with their abuse of power. In China the government will uses its authority to monitor the personal activities of its citizens as demonstrated by the pictures dictating what people should and shouldn’t wear. When the citizens don’t follow through with China’s rule, violence typically happens. In fact, a fair deal of the paintings showed violence (i.e. the tank running people over). I actually find those depictions more offensive and disturbing than any of the other pictures because the end result is clearly that of dath rather than disapproval. Now, I understand that some places need to be ruled with an iron fist (i.e. Iraq), however I don’t really see how threatening people with more violence solves the issue of extremism. If anything, doesn’t this just give the extremist more of a reason to dislike the government? As such, is the government just creating more resentment that will lead to demonstrations in the future? I say this because eventually when a local population is subject to such horrible treatment, there isn't much else to lose and very little reason no to fight back. 

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, November 16, 2015 9:20 PM

This article has great insight on the way government influences popular belief. We have seen these many times in American society also when government was afraid of communism during the cold war for instance. Often we have prejudgements or beliefs and we are not sure where they even stem from. Pushed Propaganda can be very influential over the mass population, in instilling certain beliefs.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 8:45 PM
The point the Chinese are trying to make is that the Muslim people are bad, they do unacceptable things and it needs to be taken care of. They are making it hard for a couple to get married and if they do it is with special permission. They even banned anyone under the age of 18 to enter a mosque. Praying in Xinjiang is highly regulated and comes with strict rules and consequences. In all their propaganda you can see how they represent getting rid of the muslims because they are wearing black. If you ask me, it seems like the government is doing this because they are afraid of being taken over and losing the area, just like we used to use propaganda in the wars.
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Mistrust Threatens Delicate Balance at a Sacred Site in Jerusalem

Mistrust Threatens Delicate Balance at a Sacred Site in Jerusalem | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A site in the Old City of Jerusalem, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, has been a flash point since the advent of modern Zionism.
Seth Dixon's insight:

There has been turmoil and violence in Jerusalem this month; at it's core, much of the fighting has been around the political control of sacred spaces that are seen as critical to both groups' cultural and religious identity.  This particular sacred place is intertwined with both Judaism as well as Islam, and understanding the current round of violence demands that we understand some of the historical geography of religion in Jerusalem.  To explore more about sacred sites in general as a spatial concept, visit this link


Tagsreligion, culture, Islam, Israel, Palestine, territoriality, political, Middle East.

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Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 19, 2015 3:29 PM

Landmarks can have powerful meanings to different groups of people.  The Dome of the Rock is a sacred site to Muslims across the world.  The Mosque has stood on the location for centuries, and it is said to be built on the site where Mohamed ascended to Heaven.  To Jews, however, this site represents where Solomon's Temple was located.  It was destroyed two times, once by the Babylonians and another time, after being rebuilt by the Roman Empire.  Today, all that remains of this sacred site is the Western Wall.  The Wall is a sacred location to many Jews as it represents their heritage and their nation.  Yet, as the article notes, many Muslims are threatened by the new Jewish interests in the site and they fear that it will be taken by the Israeli government and the Temple will be rebuilt a third time on the Temple Mount.  This shows how much emotion can exist over a piece of land.  The Jewish need to rebuild their temple right on the very spot it once stood, it cannot be built elsewhere, meanwhile some Muslims deny that the Temple ever stood there and there are others who believe that the site should be renamed to "Al Aqsa Mosque or the Noble Sanctuary".  This is one of the great arguments that I believe will never be solved, should the Temple be rebuilt at the expense of the Dome of the Rock?  

 

Molly McComb's curator insight, March 21, 2015 4:03 PM

Sacred sites in Jerusalem are having difficulties due to the differences in culture from the surrounding countries. 

Raychel Johnson's curator insight, March 22, 2015 12:19 AM

Summary: This article is simply over the Israel-Palestine conflict, and how it has evolved since its beginning. This mostly talks about how Palestine believes that if Israel gains control of Jerusalem, they will get rid of Dome of the Rock, an important place of worship for the Islams. 

 

Insight: I think this article accurately represents concepts of political power and territoriality well due to the fact that these two territories are having a very long dispute about this one piece of land. I think there is definitely a solution that should be relatively simple, but with the amount of meaning this location has to both places, and with the continues terrorism occurring, I don't know if a simple solution would work. 

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Kuwaiti cartoonist battles opponents on how to portray Islam to the world

Kuwaiti cartoonist battles opponents on how to portray Islam to the world | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Naif al-Mutawa, creator of comic book series THE 99, spoke with Al-Monitor about the recent death threat by the Islamic State and how US President Barack Obama's enemies became his."


Seven years after the Kuwaiti psychologist and entrepreneur first launched his comic book series based on the 99 attributes of Allah, he's facing a sudden onslaught of death threats, fatwas and lawsuits (his comic books were highlighted in this TED talk on cultural change in the Islamic World). His US distributor, meanwhile, continues to sit on a TV deal, in part because of pressure from conservative bloggers who object to any positive description of Islam.

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Jared Medeiros's curator insight, March 29, 2015 4:23 PM

This could have been a great way for Muslim customs to be taught to a whole new demographic of people all over the world.  People are very uneducated all across the globe when it comes to religions outside of their own.  Anytime you can show a side of your culture to a large audience to change a negative perception it should be taken advantage of.

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 21, 2015 2:55 PM

I love this. In a world where there are so many negative stereotypes being portrayed in the media, it's refreshing to see someone leading the fight of presenting the truth in a way that's easily consumable for mass media. I find it disgusting that conservative groups have actively fought against the production of these comics because they do not want their young children "exposed to militant Islam." Seriously? You feel threatened by a religion indoctrinating your children because they are so young, because you don't want it replacing the religion you're indoctrinating your children with at such a young age? I find it sickening that people actively want to perpetuate incorrect stereotypes to fit their own agenda, as they are actively aware of their ignorance and EMBRACING it! It's unbelievable. I can only imagine how frustrated Naif must feel- to Westerners, he's a religious extremist, and to the Middle East he's presented as a Zionist. He's attempting to keep the middle ground in one of the most polarizing issues of the 21st century, and I wish him all the luck in the world. What he's doing is necessary for reconciliation and eventual progress, but he is certainly being punished for it in the short-term. I'll have to give his comic a look, and hopefully his show is still on Netflix as well.

Patty B's curator insight, March 11, 1:04 PM
I was surprised to learn that al-Mutawa began receiving death threats only after President Obama made remarks regarding "The 99." To me, the comic makes Islam easier to relate to. It takes some of the mystery surrounding Islam away, mystery that is often exaggerated and perpetuated by Western media outlets. The threats exemplify the fact that so many people in the Western world fail to understand basic differences regarding the Muslim religion, as well as the Middle East region altogether. People have so many preconceived notions of Islam that they denounce anything that has to do with it before even comprehending the actual matter at hand. 
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Media and Culture--Perspective and Bias

"Religious scholar Reza Aslan took some serious issue on CNN Monday night with Bill Maher‘s commentary about Islamic violence and oppression. Maher ended his show last Friday by going after liberals for being silent about the violence and oppression that goes on in Muslim nations. Aslan said on CNN that Maher’s arguments are just very unsophisticated.  He said these 'facile arguments' might sound good, but not all Muslim nations are the same. Aslan explained that female mutilation is an African problem, not a Muslim one, and there are Muslim-majority nations where women are treated better and there are even female leaders."

Seth Dixon's insight:

There are far too many oversimplifications when people throw around the terms "Muslim-majority countries" and this video shows that a more nuanced understanding is needed.  That being said, it would be naive to pretend as though Islam today were without some structural problems.  As stated in the linked article, "In 2013, of the top 10 groups that perpetrated terrorist attacks, seven were Muslim. Of the top 10 countries where terrorist attacks took place, seven were Muslim-majority.  Of the 24 most restrictive countries (according to Pew Research), 19 are Muslim-majority. Of the 21 countries that have laws against apostasy, all have Muslim majorities."


Question to Ponder: How does the media play a role in shaping the conversations we have in society about different cultures and places?  How can 'painting with a broad brush' lead to stereotypes and inaccurate conclusions?  


Tagsplaceregions, culture religion, Middle East, media.

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Tanya Townsend's curator insight, October 22, 2015 1:21 PM

Last semester i took a anthropology class on the middle east. The class was one of the biggest eye openers for me, When we started the class the professor asked all the students to right down the words that came to mind when they thought of the middle east. Their words were hurtful and mean, and our professor born and raised and turkey was not surprised. The media in America portrays the "Middle East" as this evil desert full of terrorist, disease, poverty, and oppressed women. It is painted with a very broad brush, and gullible America eats it up. It is also a huge injustice because the Middle East covers many countries and they are very diverse. There is many languages, religions, lifestyles, they range greatly. Not every country is " Bad" in fact none of them are, they are just under bad times. I also feel very sorry for the natives of these lands, the peaceful people that are just trying to survive and live. They are beautiful people and i loved studying about them and i always felt a little guilty for associating them with the groups performing heinous acts against their people. What i realized is that often the most vulnerable people, the ones who need us the most are the ones who get forgotten about and the media is part to blame for that.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 23, 2015 5:58 AM

The media plays a substantial role in enhancing stereotypes about Muslims. In order to simplify an issue, the media often lumps groups of people together and identifies them as sharing one set of beliefs. In a constant twenty four hour news environment ,nuance is often sacrificed for a quick ratings driven story. The media is often appealing to the lowest common denominator. The media should make a better effort to explain the differences between each Muslim nation. The Middle East is a complex area, and it deserves complex coverage.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 7:33 PM

yes, some Muslim countries have been lead by women. how many woman governors have there been. Texas is the size of Iraq. scale matters, and if all Muslim countries were merged they would never elect a woman as their leader, if one even ran and survived. the us has at least let them run.

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Gendered Cultural Narratives

Gendered Cultural Narratives | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"As a Muslim woman who chooses to wear hijab,I'd like to apologize for this poster, to my non-hijab wearing cohorts. http://pic.twitter.com/IoLfDPEGx7

Seth Dixon's insight:

The hijab is an incredibly complex cultural artifact full of social meanings all over the political spectrum.  This poster shows some of the social pressures exerted on women in Iran to wear the hijab.  This poster comes from Iran where the government is using this platform to encourage traditional values and gendered norms using a chocolate bar/candy analogy.  This poster struck a nerve on social media throughout the Middle East in part because blends some modern cultural diffusion elements with some older folk traditions.  Many hijab-wearing women don't want other women to be shamed into conforming, and many women wear it the hijab in public, but privately subvert the cultural norms on social media.  What stereotypes and perspectives are embodied in this poster?  Why do you think this poster was seen as inflammatory or culturally insensitive by many?  This image would be a great discussion starter for cultural  patterns and process as well as the geography of the Middle East. 


TagsIran, gender, MiddleEast, Islamreligion, culture, social media.

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Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 19, 2015 8:03 PM

This idea that women do not have human rights takes place in Saudi Arabia. What this poster is saying is that women are sweet creatures metaphorically just like candy. As you can see on the right, the candy is wrapped and covered just like the woman covered in a hijab and on the left, the candy is unwrapped and it shows the exposure of the woman and her features. Saudi Arabia has a strict rule about women being covered up and not exposing themselves to the outside world just like the image on the right.

David Lizotte's curator insight, March 25, 2015 8:19 PM

This poster/advertisement raises many questions. Having discussed it in detail during class it left me with a few questions and comments. One is whom created this poster? Two, where was this poster advertised? Three, its an extremely original piece of propaganda which passes judgement on woman and the way they are to live. Four, as discussed in class, the color green is a dominant "true" Islamic color. But what's also interesting is that the preferred character of women is on the east side of the poster while the scandalous-less preferred- woman is on the west side. Western influence in a middle eastern Islamic region is not quite received with open arms... Its almost saying Arab women should stay true to Islam and cover themselves. Women whom are influenced by western culture have lost there way and are damaged goods that no true man of Islam would want to pursue. 

This piece of propaganda has many layers to it. Although I personally am not too keen on the message it is an interesting and creative "piece" to say the least. Its too bad it is used to label and even dehumanize women.  

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, March 29, 2015 4:37 PM

Im sure this poster was highly offensive to many people in the middle east, both male and female.  There is a lot of meaning in each picture, but the basic point seems to be that the image on the right is the way that a lady is supposed to dress, the way that is more appropriate.  Conservative with the candy wrapped, it shows that a woman should dress and act a certain way, while the other image has a girl, who appears to be naked with her hair blowing around, who looks like she has no values, or respect for her religion.

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Malaysia's 'Allah' controversy

Malaysia's 'Allah' controversy | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Is limiting the use of the Arabic word for God a sign of growing intolerance towards minorities?
Seth Dixon's insight:

In Arabic, the word Allah means God.  Christian Arabs refer to God as Allah and Arabic versions of the Bible reference Allah.  As Arabic and Islam have diffused in interwoven patterns, the linguistic root and the theological meanings have became intertwined to some.  BBC World and Al-Jazeera have reported on this issue as the Malaysian government has attempted to ban the use of the word Allah to any non-Muslim religious group.  Language and religion just got very political.  


Tags: languagereligion, political, Malaysia, SouthEastAsia, culture, Islam.

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Caterin Victor's curator insight, June 25, 2014 4:25 PM

 Yes !!  The religion of love and peace, is not a religion, and sure that  not a pacific love,  just a bunch of hatred and criminals wich endanger  the  world, in the name  of a pedophile crazy, Muhamad, and  and  inexisting  allah, a  Devil, not a  God !!  The  Obama`s   "Holly  Curan ", a  dirty   instruction book  for killing !! 

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, November 27, 2015 8:28 AM

Religion and politics are often effect each other in ways people can never imagine. Even in Western nations, were religion is separated from the state, religion still plays a major role in many political debates. This law banning the use of the word Allah by non- Muslim people in Malaysia is an extension of the political movement within Islam. Politics has been the major reason for the rise of the radical sect of Islam. It developed as reaction to the perceived westernizing of Muslim nations that was occurring in the 20th century. The Iranian revolution was a response to the westernizing polices of the Shah. It replaced a secular government with a theocratic one. ISIS main goal is to establish a caliphate i.e. a ruling empire. Throughout history, religion has been used as an excuse to build dynasties and gain more power. Politics in the true motivation behind much of this radicalization.