In the wake of the United States’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Israel, I heard yet another Friday sermon on the centrality of Jerusalem and al-Masjid al-Aqsa to Muslims’ religious practice. In fact, every time Israel commits some atrocity towards the Palestinians and Lebanese, such as its 1982 and 2006 invasions of Lebanon, its using its Apartheid Wall to seize more land from Palestinians in the West Bank or its election-cycle timed massacres in Gaza, I hear some sermon like today’s. I’m sure the preacher thinks that he is exhorting Muslims to support the Palestinians, and I don’t criticize that motive. Continue reading
An acquaintance shared with me his umra visa application. On it, I noticed that the pilgrimage authorities ask for المذهب, which is translated as sect.
I wonder how the authorities would act if an applicant wrote:
ما ألفيت عليه آبائي
What I found my forefathers practicing
I’m so sick of sectarianism.
A friend forwarded me a September 2014 video telling me “you’re swimming upstream in your defense of Islam.” Not knowing I was defending Islam (I see my political stances as defenses of human rights of people, including Muslims.), I replied, “only out of respect for you did I waste 3 minutes listening to Bill Maher.” He then wrote, “Who better than you, to point out where he’s right and where he’s wrong? Please share your thoughts.” Of course, there are many better qualified than me (see after the blog post.) But, after some delay, here they are. Continue reading
During the Crusades, Saint Francis of Assisi risked his life by walking across enemy lines to meet the Sultan of Egypt, the Muslim ruler Al-Malik al-Kamil. This remarkable encounter, and the commitment to peace of the two men behind it, sucked the venom out of the Crusades and changed the relationship between Muslims and Christians for the better.
Featuring dramatic reenactments and renowned scholarship, this amazing story is brought to life. Scholars interviewed include Michael Cusato (St. Bonaventure University), Sr. Kathy Warren (Sisters of St. Francis), Suleiman Mourad (Smith College), Homayra Ziad, Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies, Paul Moses (The Saint and the Sultan), and others.
Join us for the Augusta Premiere to learn about the remarkable spiritual exchange between the Sultan and the Saint, and the great risks they took for peace.
Apologetics is the “reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.” As Muslims engage in public outreach efforts to reduce the impact of Islamophobia, one topic might be “racism” or “race-relations.” My fear is that such efforts might take the form of apologetics rather than a serious discussion to address the real impacts of racism among Muslims and non-Muslims, both in the United States and elsewhere. Continue reading
I heard a Friday sermon (خطبة جمعة) about the importance of the ritual prayer (الصلاة). The preacher used the story of the assassination of Umar, the Second Caliph (رضي الله عنه), to demonstrate how the first generation of Muslims valued the ritual prayer. This rhetoric was an example of our contemporary religious discourse’s reliance on entertaining stories without considering their social or moral implications. Continue reading
The United States has encouraged sectarian tensions in southwest Asia.
Here’s the full wikileaks document. Note it’s dated 2006. SARG stands for Syrian Arab Regime Government.
Wikileaks Document ID: 06DAMASCUS5399_a