islam

A state-sponsored program to build mosques in countries from Kazakhstan to Cuba has emerged as a foreign policy instrument for Turkey, boosting the country’s claim to a place on the international stage as a leader of the Islamic world that looks after Muslims everywhere.

 

The fatal shooting of three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Tuesday afternoon has prompted uproar around the world, particularly from Muslims in the Middle East who say U.S. media coverage of stories involving Muslims is often biased.

The Houthi coup and other recent developments in Yemen have raised many questions about the country's religious fabric, especially the relationship between its large Zaidi community and Twelver Shia Islam, the main religion of Iran.

As the killings at a French satirical magazine stunned the world last week,Turkey’s government went on a mission: to defend its brand of political Islam. In a summary of comment by Turkish officials distributed by the prime minister’s Office of Public Diplomacy, the words “Islam,” “Islamophobia” and “Muslim” were mentioned 17 times. Columnists at pro-government newspapers suggested the attacks were planned by intelligence services to justify hostility to Muslims. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned that Europe was becoming more anti-Islamic.

The Charlie Hebdo murders have reinforced anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiment that even when invisible always simmers just beneath the surface of public opinion in much of the West.

The publication of a new cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday has drawn criticism from several Muslim countries and Islamic bodies, but support from the U.S. and Australia.

Even in this emotionally fraught time most Arab states continue to ignore public diplomacy, writes Philip Seib in the CPD Blog.

Saudi Arabia has a unique approach of vacillating between using hard and soft power. This approach is directly linked to Saudi Arabia being one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the home of the Islamic religion, and possessing vast oil reserves.

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