The first steps in a legal challenge to the French ban on face coverings have already been taken. Twelve Muslim women were arrested outside Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday, apparently for an unauthorised protest rather than for wearing the niqab - ten of the twelve were not wearing it.
Religion changes and mutates. Some of these religious mutations can be positively harmful in a changing Middle East. But other religious innovations can help religion accommodate itself to modernity, says Ahmad Sadri. It doesn’t matter whether a society has or does not have religion per se. What is important is what kind of religion or irreligion pervades in that society.
Religious state and non-state authorities have entered into a discussion about the legitimacy of political resistance, says Malika Zeghal. Al-Azhar, through the presence of some of its members in Tahrir Square, has shown its relevance to the recent political mobilization and has asserted its role in shaping a narrative of hope against tyranny.
Western stereotypes frequently cast Muslims as either "good" (quietist) or "bad" political, with Sufis wholly identified with the former camp, says Omid Safi. This dichotomy ignores a third group of Muslims: Those who, whether mystically inclined or not, want to neither destroy the world nor acquiesce to the wishes of the Empire, but rather seek to redeem the world by speaking truth to power.
AltMuslim, a very stimulating US/UK website that offers global perspectives on Muslim life, politics and culture, has been reflecting on some of the lessons of the largely unarmed revolution in Tunisia last month (January 2011).