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IOS Minaret Vol-1, No.1 (March 2007)
Vol. 5    Issue 2   01-15 June 2010

Launched in May 2006, the IOS Minaret has completed four years. These four years have been momentous and highly gratifying for us on at least two counts. First, we have been able to constantly improve the quality of the website in respect of content, coverage of themes and subjects, style and readability, and visual effect. Second, our efforts have been greatly appreciated by our readers—whose numbers are steadily expanding—as well as scholars and research organizations from around the world. During the past four years, the website has been accessed by nearly a million visitors. In April 2010, the Minaret had more than 37,000 visitors.

The Minaret combines several distinctive features. The themes, subjects and issues covered by the website encompass contemporary changes and trends in the Islamic world as well as the historical legacy of Islamic civilization. Thus the website not only critically focuses on themes and issues in the present-day context but also highlights the highly important and enduring contributions of Islamic civilization to wide-ranging areas, including science and medicine, technology, architecture, philosophy and literature, and arts and crafts. More importantly, this is done in the light of recent and current researches as well as exhibitions, museums and art festivals.

The Minaret addresses themes and subjects pertaining to Islam and Muslims in a global, international and cross-cultural perspective. The website takes due cognizance of the enormous diversity that characterizes Muslim communities around the world. At the same time, it looks at this diversity through the prism of the fundamental unity in beliefs, moral values, rituals, institutional structures and cultural patterns that moulds the multiplicity of Muslim communities around the world into a trans-national, trans-ethnic, global ummah.

The Minaret eschews a partisan, sectarian, polemical or narrowly denominational view of issues and challenges faced by Muslims around the world. While it makes no secret of its commitment to the Islamic worldview, it believes that issues and problems need to be addressed with an open, critical mind, with a sense of balance and in a spirit of dialogue, conciliation and engagement.

The Minaret not only keeps abreast of issues and challenges faced by Muslims around the world but also promptly responds to them in a reasoned way. The Minaret was the first international website to carry a detailed analysis and critique of the Swiss ban on minarets approved by Swiss voters in a nation-wide referendum on 29 November 2009, soon after the controversial vote. Similarly, the Minaret published a detailed, analytical review on the Arab Human Development Report 2009 shortly after its release. Most of the articles and features published in the Minaret are listed on Google.

The Minaret has been listed under “Research Resources” in the website of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, Washington DC. Dr Ahmad Totonji of the IIIT has been greatly appreciative of the contribution of the Minaret and has circulated some of the articles published in the website among Muslim scholars and researchers.

Some of the articles published in the Minaret have been cited in the websites of universities and research organizations. Thus, the French website of Chaire de recherché en immigration, ethnicite et citoyennete (CRIEC), Faculte des sciences humaines at the University of Quebec in Montreal, Canada mentions Professor Ricard Zapata-Barrero’s original paper “Multiculturalism on Trial: The exclusion of Muslims and the construction of national identity in Spain,” published in the Minaret in December 2006. An article on the hijab controversy in France, written in Indonesian by Win Wan Nur and published online in Kompasiana (http://sosbud.kompasiana.com) in 2010 mentions as one of its sources an article “Unveiling France’s Islamophobia,” published in the Minaret in July 2009. The Minaret also finds a mention in a Persian website.

The Minaret is avidly read and greatly appreciated by the faculty at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University, Malaysia.

Some of the articles published in the Minaret have been translated into Urdu and Hindi.

To mark the Minaret’s entry into the 5th year, we are presenting the new issue of the website with a visual makeover, and with a renewed commitment to high academic standards that we set as the website’s goal since the beginning of this intellectual journey. We are extremely thankful to our readers and well-wishers for their valued support in carrying on with this labour of love. Kindly introduce the Minaret to your friends and acquaintances and help us in expanding the website’s readership. We also solicit the cooperation of writers and contributors.

The Minaret Team

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