Filed under Religion

God in the Little Things, For Us

God in the Little Things, For Us

For the first time in my life, I locked the keys in the car. Worse, it was borrowed. All the movie tricks with wire hangers came into my mind, but none seemed like they’d work. I was stuck. Stuck an hour away from home. With two of my kids, picking them up from camp. One … Continue reading

A Primer on Salafism III

A Primer on Salafism III

Salafism is often wrongly criticized. But it can be rightly criticized also. The first post in this series emphasized how it is often a popular (meaning of the people) expression of Islam. The first essay here shows how this happens, though I think it errs in conclusion. The second doesn’t even err, because it doesn’t … Continue reading

A Primer on Salafism II

A Primer on Salafism II

  If you have been introduced to Salafism in the news or in often critical analysis, two figures are generally named. The first is Ibn Taymiyya, who you won’t likely know much about but may understand he is the source of all Muslim things violent. The second is Mohamed ibn Abdel Wahhab, and you may … Continue reading

A Primer on Salafism

A Primer on Salafism

Muftah recently published a special collection of essays on Salafism, under the premise that the popular, conservative, and terrorism-linked interpretation of Islam is often misunderstood and unfairly judged. I agree, though there are certainly aspects to judge thoroughly. Six essays were provided –  most helpful, some mixed, and one awful. I’ll provide excerpts to save … Continue reading

What the Azhar Believes

What the Azhar Believes

I recently attended a gathering at al-Azhar University, where the World Organization of Azhar Graduates presented with Egyptian Radio about the work and need to spread “Ashari, Wasati” Islam, and define the parameters of true religion. This is done, they said, to help combat terrorism and extremist interpretations of Islam. That is all well and … Continue reading

A Coptic Poem to ISIS

A Coptic Poem to ISIS

After the latest atrocity against the Copts perpetrated by the Islamic State – killing 30 in an ambush of a church outing to visit a monastery – the following poem was circulated on social media. It is entitled ‘A Message to ISIS’, written by Kiro al-Masry. The translation is mine and the Arabic original is … Continue reading

Islam and the Bigotry of Conviction

Islam and the Bigotry of Conviction

The Muslim World (TMW) is one of the leading academic journals covering Islam worldwide. Strange it would call its own history “bigoted”. It was founded in 1911 by Samuel Zwemer, a founding father of Protestant missions in engagement with the oft-rival monotheistic faith. Now published by Hartford Seminary, like much of the Protestant mainline its … Continue reading

Pope Francis, Islam, and Peace-Building

Pope Francis, Islam, and Peace-Building

This interview was first published at Informed Comment. Dr. Kamal Boraiqa is a lecturer at al-Azhar University and a member of al-Azhar Center for Dialogue, the al-Azhar Observer for Combating Extremism, and the Egyptian Family House. With a PhD from al-Azhar in Islamic Studies, he has served as an imam at the Santa Rosa Islamic … Continue reading

Is Sufism the Answer to Extremism in Egypt?

Is Sufism the Answer to Extremism in Egypt?

This article was first published at al-Monitor. If the Egyptian government wants to combat the spread of radical religious ideology, it would do well to return to its Muslim roots. At a conference held at the headquarters of the Azamiyah Order in Cairo on April 21, which Al-Monitor attended, presenters argued that Sufi Islam is the … Continue reading

What Jesus Can Teach Muslims Today

What Jesus Can Teach Muslims Today

The New York Times carried a very Christian op-ed recently, penned by a Turkish Muslim. Mustafa Akyol is one of Turkey’s leading journalists, and argues that the crisis in the Muslim world today can be solved by turning to Jesus as example. But first, a primer for those who don’t know the basics: While Muslims … Continue reading

Who Awaits the Messiah Most? Muslims

Who Awaits the Messiah Most? Muslims

This article was first published in the Jan-Feb print edition of Christianity Today. Jesus did not show up to defend ISIS—and the first to celebrate was a Muslim. “The [ISIS] myth of their great battle in Dabiq is finished,” Ahmed Osman, a Free Syrian Army officer, told Reuters in October after coalition forces drove more … Continue reading

Chris Wright and the Bible of Reformation

Chris Wright and the Bible of Reformation

This article was first published at the Anglican Diocese of Egypt.   Visiting Egypt for the 500th anniversary of the European Reformation, Chris Wright aptly taught on Biblical preaching. And in his public lecture to nearly 300 people on January 26, he focused on the centrality of the Bible for all reformation. “Ecclesia semper reformanda,” … Continue reading

Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and Sons

Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and Sons

A reflection from Julie: Today marks a strange day.  Just one week ago, a suicide bomber killed over 25 people, mostly women and children, as they worshipped in church here in Cairo.  And one week from today, people all around the world will celebrate the joyous birth of a Savior during Western Christmas.  On one … Continue reading