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Influencing Public Discussions of Islam

“It is not possible to build bridges between people while forgetting God. But the converse is also true: It is not possible to establish true links with God while ignoring other people. Hence, it is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam.”         -Pope Francis Welcoming…

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Zubaidah bint Ja’far

By all accounts a woman of strong intellect and deep compassion, Zubaidah bint Ja’far (766- 831) used the enormous wealth and power derived from her position as the wife of the fifth Abbasid Caliph, Harun al-Rashid (786-809), to serve others as well as to promote Islam. The Abbasid Caliphate was the third Islamic caliphate, and…

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French Muslims on the Frontlines of Islamophobia

A woman protests in Paris, with a sign that says, “The veil covering your eyes is much more dangerous than the veil covering my hair.” Insults and physical aggression; a climate of fear ignored by, if not created with the full complicity of, law enforcement; Islamophobia: that is the reality in many non-Muslim countries. While…

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Ramadan in the Holy Land

Well — I can tell you one thing, it will be hot. Hot and long. The long summer days aside, the cities and villages of Palestine are busy preparing for the daytime fasting of Ramadan. Dates — in far greater quantity than usual — now line the alleyways of markets, ensuring that the faithful will…

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Syrian internally displaced people walk in the Atme camp, along the Turkish border in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, on March 19, 2013. The conflict in Syria between rebel forces and pro-government troops has killed at least 70,000 people, and forced more than one million Syrians to seek refuge abroad. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC

Syria: Escalation and the Ballooning Refugee Crisis

More than 100,000 dead in 2 years. This astonishing figure is the ghastly reality for Syrians today, who now live in a country where no corner has been left untouched by the fighting between the government and a diversely composed band of rebels whose divergent motivations are unified only by the goal of ousting the…

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Myanmar’s Rohingya and the Case of the Missing Muslim Solidarity

With roots in the British colonial period, the ongoing violence and oppression faced by Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim population is a catastrophe centuries in the making — one that is only now beginning to reach English language headlines. While the origins and layers of the continuously escalating situation are a bit too complicated to cover here, the…

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Why Every Muslim Should be Thinking About Al-Aqsa: A Primer

Walking along Jerusalem’s millennia old cobblestone steps, my pathway was suddenly blocked. “Muslims on—” “I am Muslim.” Heavily armed and sporting the Israeli Police insignia on his shoulder, the paramilitary police officer seemed startled by my reply. “Do you have your passport?” My U.S. passport in hand, he began suspiciously pawing through its worn, stamp-filled…