Sunni and Shia

I came across an interesting Pew study¬†comparing perspectives of Shia and Sunni Muslims. This led me to reflect on the fact that I have had little experience in dialogue with Shia–a couple visited my World Religion class one year; last week, at the Old Souq in Kuwait City, I chatted with a Shia from Afghanistan…

The American Media and Islam

The American media cannot be trusted to report accurately on Islam or Middle Eastern issues. Americans always say, “Muslims never condemn terrorism. I’ve never heard it. So they don’t.” The problem is they watch MSNBC and CBS and CNN and FOX — and none of these media tell you the truth about the Middle East.…

Fear and Loathing in America

I was reflecting on the theme of fear and these literary, film, and musical examples popped into my mind almost simultaneously. 1. The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, “South Pacific,” includes this song,¬†“You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught”: You’ve got to be taught To hate and fear, You’ve got to be taught From year to year,…

Islamic Art

A few weeks ago I visited the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar. The thought that kept coming to me as I walked through the exhibits–this shows that Islam is indeed a religion of peace, because these ordinary objects that were crafted with such beauty and care give witness to a culture that values…

Dialogue with Muslims

I’ve been in Kuwait since the first of April, and will be here until the end of the year. I’ve had lots of opportunities for dialogues with Muslims. This isn’t the first time for me, of course. I had a Muslim roommate from Egypt in college. I’ve been involved in interfaith dialogue my entire ministry…

Violent Books with Dark Passages

Some say the Qur’an is a book encouraging violence. Philip Jenkins decided to compare the violent passages in the Qur’an with the violent passages in the Bible. He wrote a book, “Dark Passages,” analyzing them. Here’s a summary of his findings from the Boston Globe in 2009. Citing examples such as these, some Westerners argue…

Fear of Muslims

An anti-Muslim webpage reports (negatively) on a new mosque to be built a few miles from my home. They are welcome in our neighborhood, which is one of the most diverse in the nation. All y’all haters can stay away–we love the diversity and richness of this wonderful city which is more diverse than New…

Anti-Muslim Hysterics

Drudge has a headline in red: “Five Muslim Soldiers Arrested at Fort Jackson.” The link goes to a story on a CBN blog post (Pat Robertson’s network) that claims it has the scoop on the story, that five Muslim soldiers were arrested two months ago for allegedly trying to poison the food supply at Fort…

McCain and Islamic Terrorism

The ISNA wants John McCain to stop speaking of “Islamic Terrorism.” I suppose he will when Islamic Terrorists stop saying they are acting on behalf of Islam.

Muslim Converts to Christianity–And Vice Versa

Mark Shea links to Sherry Waddell’s summary of arguments given by Muslim converts to Christianity. Here are some first hand accounts. Of course, people go the other way, too. Here are some testimonies of Christian women who became Muslim. Some other accounts.

Magdi Allam as Mythic Hero

Rod Dreher sees Magdi Allam and thinks of Ronald Reagan, especially his approach to the Soviet Union. He cites “Spengler” in Asia Times. A self-described revolution in world affairs has begun in the heart of one man. He is the Italian journalist and author Magdi Cristiano Allam, whom Pope Benedict XVI baptized during the Easter…

“Why Shariah?”

Noah Feldman on Islamic law at the New York Times. Via Joel. He begins with this helpful context for the recent remarks by the Archbishop of Canterbury: Last month, Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, gave a nuanced, scholarly lecture in London about whether the British legal system should allow non-Christian courts to decide certain…

The Sources of the Qur’an

Christoph Luxenberg, The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran: A Contribution to the Decoding of the Language of the Koran (German original 2000; English translation 2007). Luxenberg (a pseudonym), a philologist, proposes an interesting theory, that much of the Qur’an comes from an early Christian work. If you understand the basis of the text to be…

Commotion in Canterbury

Many are calling for the resignation of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams after his statement that British law should provide a place for Islamic law, sharia, to be used to settle some disputes between Muslims. His webpage asks, What did the Archbishop actually say? The Archbishop made no proposals for sharia in either the lecture…

Freedom of Speech in Canada

Reports say Canadian journalist Mark Steyn has been denounced to a human rights commission for opinions expressed in Maclean’s in 2006. National Review editorial; John Robson op-ed in The Ottawa Citizen. Here’s an explanation, though, from the Muslims who complained: “All we want is a chance to respond” to Steyn’s article which they found to…

“Dialogue with Islam is impossible”

So declares head of Jesuit order in interview with John Allen. He says, “Some who are favorable to theological dialogue with Muslims forget that at a certain point, you have to choose.” Well, of course. That’s true of theological dialogue with anyone. I’ve had much fruitful theological dialogue with Muslims–and there are volumes upon volumes…

Is Dialogue Possible with Muslims?

Vatican official says no. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran is the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and has made lots of Muslims upset. It is unfortunate. He should have been in my World Religions Class Monday night. We had a great dialogue with three Muslims. I had invited a former student of mine; one…

Tancredo

I’m flabbergasted and dumbfounded by recent comments by Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO)–as is the U.S. State Department. The presidential candidate has stirred up a firestorm by unbelievably stupid comments he made a couple weeks ago, saying that an appropriate U.S. response to terrorism would be to bomb Mecca. Undeterred by the negative reaction, he reiterated…