Friday Prayers for Egypt: Princes, Churches

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Princes, Churches

God, Help Egypt navigate her way in the world. Help her navigate her way at home. Ally Saudi Arabia has launched new efforts to curb Iranian influence in the region, while securing power and reform in the kingdom. There is war in Yemen and Syria. There are palpitations in Lebanon. There is ongoing regional instability. … Continue reading

The Game of Thrones Christians Should be Watching

The Game of Thrones Christians Should be Watching

This article was first published at Christianity Today on November 16, 2017. Before the crown prince of Saudi Arabia stunned the world with his sudden arrest of dozens of fellow princes and millionaires on corruption charges, he stunned many Christians with his stated desire to moderate its version of Islam, commonly dubbed Wahhabism. Saudi Arabia … Continue reading

Islamism: Contextualist or Essentialist? Or Both?

Islamism: Contextualist or Essentialist? Or Both?

My new article for Providence Magazine. In an excellent review of Shadi Hamid and Will McCants’ Rethinking Political Islam, Olivier Roy says there are generally two ways to think about Islamism. Writing in Foreign Affairs, he first briefly introduces three important shockwaves—the Arab Spring, the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and the emergence … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: World Youth

Friday Prayers for Egypt: World Youth

God, They came from around the world. They discussed much local and regional. If they paid attention, they watched leaders consult and sign million dollar contracts. And they lent presence to an effort to give a strong message: Egypt wants to listen to the youth. The world should do the same. So they should, God. … Continue reading

What’s in Your Lunchbox?

What’s in Your Lunchbox?

One morning before school, Alexander, our newest kindergartener, was fiddling with Egyptian coins and thinking through options at the school canteen. His eyes lit up when he realized he could buy a milk box … maybe chocolate, maybe strawberry, or maybe banana! He looked up and asked, as if he had a revelation. “Mom, how … Continue reading

Secondary Separation, in Islam

Secondary Separation, in Islam

In fundamentalist Christian circles there is an approach to the world known as ‘secondary separation’. While the Bible notes Christians are not of this world, there is tension when Jesus says they are also in this world, and should not expect to be removed. Fundamentalism is one expression of this tension, that leans in the … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Accountable

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Accountable

God, It was too big a disaster. After 16 security personnel were killed in an ambush in the Western desert, several top police and military brass took the fall. Among them, Sisi’s son’s father-in-law, the chief-of-staff. The message is powerful: All are accountable. It was too big an opportunity. After contentious debate about two islands … Continue reading

Distributing Aid to Iraqi Christians

Distributing Aid to Iraqi Christians

Five days ago Iraqi Christians were displaced from their city – again. As Fox News reported, they had only recently returned to Teleskof following its liberation from ISIS. Here are pictures from those trying to help. The recent Kurdish referendum effort led the Iraqi government to reclaim disputed land held by the Peshmerga forces. Christians … Continue reading

How Do Copts Endure their Martyrdoms?

How Do Copts Endure their Martyrdoms?

From my article published at Providence Magazine: “On a day like today,” Fr. Samaan Shehata was murdered in Cairo. The day was October 12, but he likely read those very words in mass just one day earlier, introducing the lives of the saints. Hunted down and stabbed repeatedly by a Muslim extremist, his name now … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Death and Dishonor

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Death and Dishonor

God, All life is precious, all that exists. Even in death you care for their life. But those that never existed? What then if they did? Last week sixteen policemen were killed in a shootout with terrorists. Foreign news agencies put the death toll much higher, relying on unnamed security sources. Egypt reacted angrily, and … Continue reading

Can Polygamy be Curbed in Islam?

Can Polygamy be Curbed in Islam?

Islam grants a man the right to take up to four wives, as long as he can provide for and treat them equitably. As it has been explained to me, the original allowance came early in Muslim history when the male population was greatly reduced by warfare. Some Muslims argue the original reason for revelation … Continue reading

A Christian Death in the Western Desert

A Christian Death in the Western Desert

Egypt suffered another terrorism setback this week, as a shootout with militants in the Western Desert resulted in the death of at least 16 policemen. That is the official, government tally. International media reported much higher figures, though the government dismissed their numbers and an alleged recording describing the chaos in the field, saying they were … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Starts and Fits

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Starts and Fits

God, It can be difficult to begin again. Promising signs give way to more trouble. Egypt is looking to rebuild after several hard years of revolution. Be with her. The president has launched a new administrative capital city to house government by the end of the decade. But will it end as previous efforts, Cairo … Continue reading

Islamists Elsewhere

Islamists Elsewhere

The Atlantic has an insightful piece on the history of American engagement with political Islam. It is written by authors previously recommended as scholars of the movement. The whole is worth reading, but here is an excerpt describing non-Arab Islamist success — outside of the political process. It is often assumed politics and governance is … Continue reading

The Public Spectacle of a Slain Coptic Priest

The Public Spectacle of a Slain Coptic Priest

This article was first published at World Watch Monitor. The images are horrific. Fr. Samaan Shehata, a 45-year-old Coptic Orthodox priest lay dead on the ground, stabbed and beaten by a young man wielding a meat cleaver. Blood dripped down his face into his long, black beard. Dirt discolored his flowing, black robe. His cross … Continue reading