Islamic Inquiry SQUARES+

This is an adapted activity of the Human Rights Squares to introduce participants to Islam and issues related to the concept of Political Islam. During this 20-min activity each participant would find a different person who can answer one question and put his/her name in the square. The task is to answer as many squares as possible during the allotted time, and find out which squares need to be elaborated more during the discussion (brief answers are provided to facilitators on a separate sheet). The goal of this activity is to help our community to support and reach-out to the oppressed not the oppressors within the local Muslim community.

What is the difference between Islam & Islamism; Muslim & Islamist?


Quran and Hadith (Mohamed’ sayings) are the final references to Muslims in their lives. How?


Do Muslims believe in Jesus and Moses?


What are the two major Islamic schools of thought similar to Catholicism and Protestantism in Christianity?


What are the Shari’a Laws?


Did you ever involve in a deep discussion with a Muslim about Islam?


What is the stance of Islam towards women’s rights?


What is the stance of Islam towards Slavery?


What is the stance of Islam towards GLBT community?


Do you know who finance, and control all the non-African American mosques in the US?


What is the difference between moderate Islam and Traditional one?


Why progressives are cautious and selective in their support to the Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation?


What is a Fatwa? Who is eligible to issue a Fatwa? Give an example of a Fatwa that terrorized the world recently


“Two women are worth of one man” is this an Islamic statement?


Why Muslim extremists (Bin Laden, etc) strongly believe that they act according to Islam?


Give some examples for Religious Apartheid in Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and Judaism.


Have you ever attended the Friday Sermon (Khottba) in the local mosque, especially before Sep 11 attacks?


What is Jihad? Mujahideen? And what is the word Ijtihad means?


Name a Muslim country where gays enjoy their rights?


Could a child born to Muslim parents choose his/her own religion?


Could a Muslim woman get married to a non-Muslim person? 


Were human rights far advanced during Prophet Mohammed

Than current countries ruled by Islamists?


Name a country ruled by Islamic laws while its citizens’ human rights are not violated.


Name a person who was executed for his Islamic renewal thought in the recent history (1985)?


1)       Islam is the religion of 1.2 billion Muslims around the world. Islamism is just another one bad ism where Islam is being abused by religious politicians, i.e. Islamists.

2)       It is true that the majority of Muslims consider the holy book Quran and the Hadith (Prophet Mohamed sayings and acts) are the sole reference in their daily life. A growing number of Muslim reformists are adding different other non-religious sources.

3)       Yes. The holy book Quran, and Prophet Mohamed teachings considered this a principal part of Islam.

4)       Sunni School, which adopted by the majority of Muslims. Shiite School is adopted by Iran and some minorities in Iraq and Arabian Gulf states.

5)       The Sahri’a law is a general Islamic legal system yet, it became infamously known and linked to the Hudoud penal code system reported by Quran, and which included: Stoning to death for adultery crime; flogging for drinking alcohol; limb amputation for theft; execution for homicide crimes; and Qassas (imposing equal harm) for body injury crimes.

6)       The objective of this question to inquire whether participants know about Islam, especially the controversial issues.

7)         Islam clearly states that women are not equal to men. Islamic Shari’a laws give more rights to men.

8)       Islam never prohibited slavery. However, it requires that slaves should be treated well.

9)       Gays and lesbians are condemned in Quran yet; there is no specific punishment. They are being harshly punished mostly by death in countries like Iran, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia.

10)    Extremely conservative Saudi organizations are the major financier of the mosques around the world.

11)    Moderate Islam was dominant all over the Muslim world before the rise of Traditional Islam during the Cold War era. The CIA helped a lot in the rise of most Islamic extremist organizations (e.g. Muslim Brothers) to combat leftist movements in the Middle East.

12)    Progressive organizations especially in the Middle East should not be thrilled that Islamic resistance movement are joining them to combat the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. The agenda of Islamic Hamas, Jihad, etc are against any democratic regime after getting rid of the Israeli occupation. The examples they are practicing in Sudan, Iran are “ideal” ones for their proposed Islamic regime.

13)    Fatwa in Islam means religious decree. It has been used when Muslims face a situation that is not covered by either Quran or Hadith. They ask one of the clergy people who has more religious knowledge. It is usually a ruling to be imposed on other people. In the late 1980’s, the spiritual Iranian leader Khomeini issued a Fatwa stating that the British Muslim writer Salman Rushdie had committed apostasy by writing his novel Satanic Verses. He condemned him to death, and asked any Muslim person to carry out the sentence. The Fatwa was lifted in the late 1990s when the Islamic reformists won the election.

14)    True. It is the rule in any Islamic court system. It affects women in two areas: Inheritance, and testimony.

15)    Because extremists are literally copying Prophet Mohamed in every thing he had said or done without considering the different circumstances and time.

16)    Religious racism is arrogantly expressed by fanatic Jews when they think they are the chosen and preferred by God allover other nations; fanatic Christians who believe they are the only saved people by Jesus; fanatic Muslims when they believe they are the best nation created by Allah; and fanatic Hindu when they consider 17% of India’s population are Untouchables.

17)     Before Sep 11 attacks, most of the Imams were openly preaching the ideology of Political Islam.

18)      The common use of the word Jihad is to describe a Holy War, which was the case of the first Muslim wars to conquer other lands and nations in the seventh century. However, there is another equal use in describing Jihad as the struggle and effort within oneself against evil forces temptation. Mujahideen means the warriors who carry out Jihad. Ijtihad means critical thinking and reading in Quran and Sunna (Mohamed’s teachings) when you are facing with a difficult situation not mentioned in Quran or Sunna.

19)    None.

20)    In both traditional and modern Islam, children have no rights to choose their religions. They have to adopt their fathers’ religions.

21)    Although there is no clear stance in Quran or Hadith yet; all Muslim countries ban Muslim women from getting married to non-Muslims.

22)    It is true that human rights were more advanced and protected 1500 years ago than today. Islam brought basic human rights to women and slaves at that time which they were never dreamed about. Talking the same standard on our recent time, we find how awkward Islam has gone.

23)     Countries that adopted Islamic laws are: Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Northern states of Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen. None of these countries respect basic human rights of its citizens.

24)    “Mahmoud Mohamed Taha” was executed at the age of 76 because of his renewal thinking and interpreting of the holy book Quran. He was hanged publicly on Jan 18th, 1985 in Khartoum, Sudan during the dictator Numeri regime. 

+  Adapted from David Shiman, Teaching Human Rights. (Denver: CTIR, 1999)