Islam Archive

You'll find articles about this subject in each of the items listed, even if the term does not necessarily occur within the headlines or descriptive text.

Islam is a diverse religion with sects ranging from liberal to ultra-conservative. The media often roughly divides Muslims in those who follow a so-called ‘moderate Islam’ from those who condone, promote and/or engage in acts of violence and terrorism on behalf of Islam.

Like other religions Islam also has cults — movements whose teachings violate one or more of the essential tenets of Islam.

The vast majority of Muslims are people who have been born into the religion. Leaving Islam — in favor of another religion or of atheism — is difficult, as those who do so usually are rejected by family, friends and the larger community. In Islam, apostasy is punishable by imprisonment or death.

Research resources on Islam

Belgium court charges six people in deadly exorcism of Muslim woman

A court in Brussels earlier this week opened the trial of six people charged in connection with the 2004 murder of a young Muslim woman in a deadly act of exorcism, a practice of evicting demons or other spiritual entities from a person believed to be possessed.

Al Arabiya says

The woman was reportedly deceived into believing that she could not have children because she was possessed and that she had to undergo a practice of exorcism.

But the woman apparently could not stand the severe punishment the exorcism allegedly entails to scourge the demon out of the body, and she lost her life.

The detainees in the case include two self-appointed exorcists, the victim’s husband and three female members of a radical Muslim group, will be standing trial for three weeks and facing charges of “torture leading to death.” If they are convicted, they face up to 30 years in prison. […]

Her husband later admitted to investigators that his wife was subjected month-long sessions of exorcism to evict from her body the demons that “prevented her from becoming pregnant.”

The practice was conducted in the couple’s apartment in Brussels by Abdelkrim Aznagui, a Moroccan self-proclaimed “Sheik” and his “disciple,” Xavier Meert, a Belgian native who converted to Islam. They were reportedly assisted by the woman’s husband and three Muslim “sisters” of the victim.

During this period, the young woman had swallowed dozens of liters of “holy” water, according to Belgian media reports. She was fed two spoons of yogurt every day and always had earphones playing verses from the Quran.

In order to evict the demons, the exorcists reportedly put their fingers down the woman’s throat, forced her into bathing in hot water and beat her with a stick.

Malaysian Newspaper Apologizes for Changing Anti-Scientology Speech Into Anti-Islam Speech

In November, 2009, Senator Nick Xenophon told the Australian Senate, “Scientology is not a religious organisation. It is a criminal organisation that hides behind its so-called religious beliefs.”

On Wednesday, an article in the Malaysia’s New Straits Times not only said Mr. Xenonophon was “critical of Islam,” but changed quotes from his speech by replacing the term ‘Scientology’ with ‘Islam.”

The Washington Post says

Nick Xenophon, an independent parliamentarian representing South Australia, was in Malaysia in late April– on the invitation of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim – as part of a fact-finding mission on the upcoming Malaysian elections. He was also an independent observer at Saturday’s Bersih rally. […]

A spokesperson from the department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra said the ministry was “concerned and disappointed by a misleading media report” that incorrectly quoted the Senator, and said they had raised those concerns with the editors of the New Straits Times.

On Thursday the New Straits Times issued an apology. Its editor wrote, “We accept that in his speech in the Australian Parliament, referred to in the article, Mr Xenophon did not use the word ‘Islam’ and neither did he assert that Islam is not a religious organisation nor a criminal organisation hiding behind its religious belief.”

But Radio Australia reported that Xenophon may sue the paper for defamation.

The West Australian quotes Xenophon as saying

“This newspaper happens to have close links with the ruling party in Malaysia, the ruling party is clearly upset with me because I was part of an international fact-finding mission that made some scathing criticisms of the Malaysian election system and the possibility of widespread electoral fraud.”

The paper also notes Mr. Xenophon said that — amid concerns for his safety — the paper’s apology was too little, too late.

He met with Muslim Cleric Imam Hamzah, in Adelaide on Friday, to discuss the matter.

“The concern is this is trying to incite hatred, not only against me, but against other Australians for no good reason,” he said.

“That’s something that will be sorted out in the courts in Malaysia, because I will be taking action on this.” […]

The Imam agrees that because of the incorrect statement, Senator Xenophon’s safety could be compromised when he travels overseas.

Read Senator Nick Xenophon’s speech on Scientology