Bill Maher’s Use of Opinion Polls of Muslims is Ahistorical and May Justify Violations of Their Human Rights

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

Augusta Docudrama Premiere of “The Sultan & The Saint” Apr 30, 3 pm

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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.

Eventbrite - Sultan & Saint Augusta Film Premiere - April 30

Can Religion, Islam Specifically, Be Anti-Racist?

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

Over-reliance on Apologetics is Bad

I’m reviewing articles from a print journal from 1998 for possible inclusion in an online, open access website. One article advances the idea that “there is no evidence that ritual clitoridectomy, unlike male circumcision, is or has ever been a required practice in Islam.” This article is a great example of why apologetics are dangerous.

Continue reading

Preaching Heedlessly – وعظ بلا وعي

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