ABC Family Cancels Alice in Arabia Pilot • Saudi’s Lonely, Costly Bid for Sunni-Shiite Equality • Indonesia’s fatwa shows religious duty can be a route to sustainable behaviour • Arena’s Meditation Room Raises Its Own Existential Questions • H&M Pulls Offensive Star Of David Shirt Off The Shelves
Last week’s top news, from our perspective:
ABC Family is nixing a planned pilot titled Alice in Arabia after drawing complaints from Muslim advocacy groups that feared the show would reinforce negative Arab and Muslim stereotypes, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Mikhlif Al-Shammari has been jailed repeatedly, declared an infidel, ruined financially and shot four times — by his own son — all for this: He believes his fellow Sunni Muslims should treat Shiites as equals.
In a Middle East torn by deepening sectarian hatred, that is a very unusual conviction. He has made it a kind of crusade for eight years now, visiting and praying with prominent Shiites and defending them in print, at enormous personal cost. The government of this deeply conservative kingdom continues to file new accusations against him, under charges like “annoying other people” and “consorting with dissidents.”
In January, a holy voice rang out across Indonesia’s archipelago of lush, tropical forests and teeming mangroves. It came in the form of a fatwa, an Islamic edict, which instructed Muslims to stop the illegal trafficking of wildlife.
Believed to be the first fatwa broadly covering ecosystem conservation, it seeks to make people do what the law could not. As the head of the fatwa-issuing council said: “People can escape government regulation, but they cannot escape the word of God.” This notion is being recognised more and more by secular organisations such as the World Bank and the United Nations, which partner religious-based environmental sustainability programmes.
Construction has barely begun on the 2,250 promised affordable housing units. Just one of the 15 proposed towers has even started to take root. The leafy plazas remain mere sketches on paper.
Except for the glittering Barclays Center, which opened in 2012, the giant Atlantic Yards project has moved at a glacial pace, to the frustration of many in Brooklyn. But now, those impatient souls can search for solace in the project’s latest amenity: a locked, windowless, cinder-block room tucked near the arena’s first aid office and a sushi stand.
The humble space on the arena’s main concourse is called the meditation room, a place apparently intended for quiet reflection amid the din of Nets home games.
The mega clothing retailer H&M has made a fashion faux pas … again.
After facing backlash, the brand has decided to take an item of clothing off the market. This time, it’s a tank top with an image of a skull inside of the Star of David symbol, which is surrounded by a grungy, dirty-looking pattern. According to The Times Of Israel, the shirt is being criticized as sending an anti-Semitic message based on the way the images are presented on the piece of clothing.