Rep. Ilhan Omar, others encourage US to rebuild refugee resettlement ahead of World Refugee Day

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(RNS) — U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota thanked Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service during an online event Thursday (June 17), in the name of “all the refugees you have settled and the millions around the world who have benefited from your work.” Omar knows, she said, because she is one of those refugees. “After … Read more

How Israel’s missing constitution deepens divisions between Jews and with Arabs

how-israel’s-missing-constitution-deepens-divisions-between-jews-and-with-arabs

(The Conversation) — Renewed fighting has erupted again between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, endangering a ceasefire instituted after an 11-day war in May. The conflict in Gaza is an early test of Israel’s new coalition government. Recently, parties across the political spectrum united to remove Israel’s scandal-plagued prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu from power, … Read more

Ebrahim Raisi poised to sweep into Iranian presidency despite weak religious credentials

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(RNS) — Ebrahim Raisi seems poised to emerge victorious in Iran’s presidential elections later this week, thanks to the support of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei more than Raisi’s strength as a candidate. “Raisi is the weakest in terms of the substance of the presidential candidates and is therefore favored by Iran’s ruling elite,” said Babak … Read more

Faith groups among those granted money from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

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(RNS) — A number of faith-based groups were among the nearly 300 recipients of $2.7 billion in grants announced Tuesday (June 15) by billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to organizations addressing a range of social issues. Scott, who was formerly married to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, wrote in a Medium post that she and her husband, … Read more

Outcry as Saudi Arabia executes young Shia man for ‘rebellion’

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Saudi Arabia has executed a young man who was convicted on charges stemming from his participation in an anti-government rebellion by minority Shia Muslims. A leading rights group said his trial was “deeply flawed”. It was unclear whether Mustafa bin Hashim bin Isa al-Darwish, 26, was executed for crimes committed as a minor, according to … Read more

Saudi Arabia bans foreigners from hajj over Covid concerns

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Saudi Arabia has announced that this year’s hajj pilgrimage will be limited to 60,000 vaccinated people from within the kingdom because of the coronavirus pandemic. The kingdom ran a reduced pilgrimage last year, but still allowed a small number of people to take part in the annual event. A statement on the state-run Saudi Press … Read more

Zahid Quraishi confirmed as first Muslim federal judge

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(RNS) —The U.S. Senate made history on Thursday (June 10) by confirming the first presidentially appointed Muslim American judge to a federal court. Zahid Quraishi was confirmed by a vote of 81-16 and awaits judicial confirmation before assuming his post with the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.  Born in New York … Read more

Riz Ahmed launches new effort seeking to increase Muslims in Hollywood

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(RNS) — Hollywood star Riz Ahmed has launched a new initiative meant to increase the representation of Muslims in Hollywood, both on and off the screen. While the Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated actor is spearheading the effort, he is joined by some of Hollywood’s leading Muslim professionals. The Blueprint for Muslim Inclusion and the Pillars Artists … Read more

Riz Ahmed calls for urgent change in ‘toxic portrayals’ of Muslims on screen

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Riz Ahmed has announced a new initiative to combat the “problem of Muslim misrepresentation” on screen, saying: “The Islamophobia industry is one that measures its cost in blood.” In a passionate speech addressed to the film industry, posted on social media and YouTube, the Sound of Metal star described his own difficult experiences, including aggressive … Read more

New e-prayer rug offers digital support to Muslim prayer

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(RNS) — A new smart prayer rug is being offered as an educational tool for use by Muslims concerned they may make errors in their daily prayers. The company behind the new rug says it has exceeded its funding goal by more than 200%. Thakaa Technologies, based in the Persian Gulf kingdom of Qatar, said … Read more