Posts tagged with: muslims

Samuel Gregg, director of research at the Acton Institute, has a piece in today’s Detroit News titled, “Will Quran limit growth of Muslim nations?” The commentary addresses the economic outlook of Muslims, and Islamic nations, considering their religious position against the charging of interest. Gregg notes:

Given the Arab world’s increasing religiosity, however, one potential obstacle could significantly handicap these nations’ financial creativity and economic diversification policies: Islam’s prohibition of interest-charging.

Gregg also briefly examines how Christians settled the moral dilemma regarding interest:

Christianity once had a usury issue. Christianity began resolving this matter in the medieval period. Scholastic theologians established that, under certain conditions (such as free exchange economies), money was not simply a means of exchange, but also “capital”: that is, a productive good whose owners could legitimately charge others for its use. Not all interest-charging, the scholastics concluded, constituted usury.

New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers has a lengthy — and chilling — narrative on the terrorist attack on Beslan, Russia, that began on September 1, 2004. Chechen separatists took over School Number One, filled with children and parents on the first day of the academic year, and wired the place with bombs. A rescue attempt by Russian security forces three days later turned into a pitched battle and when it was over, 331 people were dead — including 186 children.

You can read an excerpt of the Chivers story here and view a video taken by terrorists during the siege. It is a terrible thing to see so many innocents gathered together in what was, for many of them, the last few hours of their lives.

Vladimir Bobrovnikov, an analyst with the Moscow Institute for Oriental Studies, said the Beslan case “demonstrates that, in Russia, radical nationalist groups use religious identification and adopt the Islamic principle of martyrdom to meet their political ends.” The Beslan attack, he explained, was carried out by al-Riyad al-Salihin group which appeals mostly to Caucasian Muslim populations such as Chechens, Ingushes, and Daghestanis. “By choosing their victims to be from among the Russian Orthodox Ossetians they effectively positioned themselves as ‘Muslims’ in contrast to the captured ‘infidel’ civilians and Russian troops,” Bobrovnikov wrote. “A survivor remembered that ‘…one of the gunmen was reading the Quran constantly.’”

The Itar-Tass News Agency reported today that a local court pronounced Nurpashi Kulayev — the only surviving terrorist from the Beslan attack — guilty of all charges.

This story in the UK’s Education Guardian is remarkable for its links to a number of issues.

In contrast to the American system, Britain’s permits “faith” schools that are part of the government system. Thus, this Scottish “Catholic” school is, in the American usage, a “public” school. Now that 75% of its students are Muslim, some Muslims are demanding that the school switch its faith allegiance.

One of the obvious issues is the Islamicization of Europe. Here is a Catholic school in the middle of Scotland’s countryside that is three-quarters Muslim—and another 13% Sikh. France, with its headscarves-at-school controversy, is not the only nation struggling with this new reality.

Another issue is the Catholic identity in educational institutions. (The problem applies more broadly to other kinds of Christian schools as well.) The school is evidently making efforts to preserve it (given the priest’s reference to Mass), but it seems to me that it is possible to reach a tipping point in terms of numbers of non-Catholic students and/or faculty, when Catholic identity becomes impossible to maintain adequately. Serving non-Catholic populations is generally laudable and can even be evangelizational, but Catholic educators need to be realistic about how fidelity to an institution’s original mission can be threatened by a lack of Catholic majorities among students and staff.

Finally, there is the issue of government interaction with religious schools. This Scottish Catholic school benefits financially from depending on the government. But it also thereby depends on the government for its existence. If the state determines that it’s better off Muslim—or anything else, including secular—Catholics (who have made it, apparently, the most attractive school in the area) must stand aside and see it transformed.

HT: Mirror of Justice