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Religion & Ethics Newsweekly Video: Sufi Whirling Dervishes

Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam, emphasizes universal love, peace, acceptance of various spiritual paths and a mystical union with the divine. It is associated with the dancing of whirling dervishes, who originated in the 13th century as followers of the poet and Muslim mystic, Rumi. Their dance is a traditional form of Sufi worship, a continuous twirling with one hand pointed upward reaching for the divine and the other hand pointed toward the ground. Manjula Kumar, a program manager at the Smithsonian Institution, explains how the dancing of these whirling dervishes from Turkey serves as “a spiritual offering.” They were part of a Smithsonian symposium on the concept of Sufism and searching for the divine through the arts. Produced, edited, and interview by Lauren Talley.

RNS photo by Enid Bloch

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf: moving beyond the Ground Zero mosque

(RNS) Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf reflects on why America is a Shariah-compliant nation, why Islamophobia has increased in the 10 years since the 9/11 attacks, and why the turmoil over the so-called “Ground Zero mosque'' actually increased America's standing in the Muslim world. By Daniel Burke.